Members of the US Congress are holding “private conversations” about whether Donald Trump should be removed from office, reports suggest.
After a difficult first 100 days that have seen the US President mired in a string of scandals and mishaps, senators and congressmen are said to be considering whether he will last a full term.
The New Yorker this week published a lengthy analysis of the two ways the Republican could be removed from office: either through impeachment by Congress or via the 25th Amendment to the US Constitution, which allows for a president to be removed if he is considered to be mentally unfit.
Evan Osnos, the author of the article, said he had been told that members of Congress were already holding conversations on the issue.
“This is a conversation that people are having around the dinner table, it’s one people have at the office, members of Congress are talking about it in private and the question is very simple: is this a president who is able to do the job and is able to go the distance?” he told MSNBC’s The Last Word.
“This is a president who is beset by doubts of a completely different order of any president we’ve seen as long as we’ve been looking at this question.
“The truth is that there are people having an active conversation about whether or not he’ll last.”
Mr Osnos also claimed Mr Trump could cause a “constitutional crisis” if he chooses not to co-operate with congressional investigations into his alleged links with Russia – something he said some members of Congress expect to happen.
William Kristol, who worked as chief of staff to Vice President Dan Quayle under the presidency of George H W Bush, told the magazine there was a reasonable change of Mr Trump being removed.
“It’s somewhere in the big middle ground between a 1 per cent [chance] and 50”, he said. “It’s some per cent. It’s not nothing.”
The 25th Amendment, added in 1967, allows a president to be removed if they are deemed to be “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office”. That judgement can be made either by the vice president and a majority of the Cabinet, or by a separate body, such as a panel of medical experts, appointed by Congress.
If the president objects, a two-thirds majority in both chambers of Congress is needed to remove him or her.
“I believe that invoking Section 4 of the 25th Amendment is no fantasy but an entirely plausible tool – not immediately, but well before 2020,” Laurence Tribe, a prominent US law professor who works at Harvard University, told The New Yorker.