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Calls for President Trump’s removal grow among Maryland congressional delegation following riot at Capitol

Much of Maryland’s Congressional delegation began pushing for the removal of President Donald Trump from office Thursday, issuing calls for his impeachment or the use of the 25th Amendment in the wake of a violent occupation of the U.S. Capitol that left four people dead.

U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, a Democrat representing Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, led the charge locally for impeachment, retweeting a message Thursday from Rhode Island Rep. David Cicilline, announcing they were circulating articles of impeachment along with California Rep. Ted Lieu.

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Raskin’s spokesperson could not be reached for comment.

Thursday night, Democratic Rep. Kweisi Mfume announced he, too, was co-sponsoring legislation to begin the impeachment process, although he had questioned the feasibility of impeachment earlier in the day. Mfume, who represents the 7th Congressional District, said the legislation would also bar Trump from holding office in the future.

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“This president is guilty of treason, sedition, and inciting a riot,” Mfume said in a statement. “His actions yesterday, and over the course of four years, have been egregious, despicable and most of all, deliberate. For too long, he’s benefited from his cloak of immunity. That stops now.”

More than half of the state’s 10-member delegation joined officials across the county in calling for the president’s ouster by Thursday evening, a day after a previously unthinkable confrontation at the Capitol. Trump supporters stormed the building after the president encouraged a crowd rallying on the National Mall to oppose Congress’ certification of Electoral College votes. The crowd clashed with limited security on the building’s stairs and people forced their way inside, sending lawmakers into hiding and delaying the certification process by several hours.

Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger was among the Maryland lawmakers who called for the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to be invoked to remove Trump from office. In a statement from the Democrat representing Maryland’s 2nd Congressional District, he accused the Republican president of inciting an “attempted coup” using “dangerous rhetoric and false claims of a rigged election.”

Ruppersberger said Trump’s actions were impeachable, but said the 25th Amendment would be a more “expedient and appropriate” way to remove the president, who has less than a month left in office. Trump was defeated in the November election by Democrat Joe Biden, a decision Trump disputed for more than two months despite having no factual basis for his claims.

“President Trump should be removed from office now,” Ruppersberger said. “He is a threat to our national security and a menace to democracy.”

Raskin represents parts of Carroll, Frederick and Montgomery counties. Ruppersberger represents a district covering areas of Baltimore City and of the counties of Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Harford and Howard. Mfume represents parts of Baltimore City, as well as portions of Baltimore and Howard counties.

Also calling for the exercise of the 25th Amendment was Democratic Rep. David Trone, who represents Western Maryland and part of Montgomery County. He tweeted Thursday in support of the amendment’s use and called for an investigation into the security breach at the Capitol.

“Heads need to roll,” he said, blaming Trump, as well as Republican senators Josh Hawley of Missouri and Ted Cruz of Texas, for putting others in “grave danger.” Hawley and Cruz led the effort to challenge the Electoral College outcome with baseless claims of fraud.

The 25th Amendment, which became law following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, outlines procedures for replacing a president or vice president in the event of death, removal, resignation or incapacitation.

The vice president and a majority of Cabinet officials can issue a written declaration stating the president is unable to discharge the duties of his office. The vice president then assumes the office. That plan, however, requires presidential approval, a near impossible scenario.

Should the vice president and cabinet declare Trump to be incapacitated, he could reclaim his powers by writing to legislative leaders. If the vice president and cabinet members persist, the matter then falls to Congress, which has 21 days to act.

Mfume said Thursday during an interview with WYPR-FM that he was doubtful that cabinet members, which he called “as pro-Trump as you can ever find,” would have an interest in invoking the 25th Amendment. He also told the station that impeachment didn’t look like a feasible option. The process would need to move quickly, opening the door for due process violations, the congressman told WYPR.

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Several members of the Maryland delegation called for Trump’s immediate removal from office but did not specify how that should be accomplished.

Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen said Thursday that every day Trump remains in office is a “grave danger to the public.” Senior Democratic Sen. Ben Cardin said the country can ill afford to wait until Trump’s term has expired.

“The president has repeatedly violated his most sacred responsibility to protect the American people. And yesterday he incited more violence — resulting in the loss of life and putting the lives of countless other Americans and the future of our democracy at risk,” Van Hollen said in a statement. “While there are only 13 days left of his presidency, each day Trump remains a ticking time bomb aimed at the heart of our democracy.”

“Donald Trump has forfeited his right to serve,” Cardin said. “We cannot wait 13 days. He must resign or be removed from office quickly — either through the 25th amendment or by impeachment — before he does even more damage to our nation.”

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, who represents Maryland’s 5th Congressional District, said he supports the president’s removal from office. The fastest method would be the 25th Amendment, Hoyer, a Democrat, said in a statement Friday, but Congress should also consider impeachment.

“I agree with Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi and Leader [Chuck] Schumer that President Trump remaining in office presents a clear and present danger to the security and stability of our country, and it warrants his removal,” Hoyer said.

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Rep. John Sarbanes also favored Trump’s removal. The Democrat representing Maryland’s 3rd Congressional District said the president has “long demonstrated that he is unfit to hold the office.”

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“His recent statements culminating in yesterday’s thinly cloaked invitation to rioters to descend upon the U.S. Capitol punctuated just how dangerous the situation has become,” Sarbanes said in a statement Thursday. “It is now tragically clear that his continuation in office, even for the short time between now and Jan. 20, poses a threat to the safety and security of the United States.”

Rep. Anthony Brown, a Democrat representing portions of Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties in Maryland’s 4th Congressional District, also called for Trump’s removal.

“President Trump is a rogue commander in chief who represents a credible threat to our national security, our democratic institutions and the people of this country,” Brown said in a statement.

“President Trump has once again betrayed his oath of office and demonstrated his extreme unfitness to lead. We cannot have a man actively orchestrating sedition leading our nation’s government for another 14 days, let alone giving orders to our men and women in uniform,” Brown, who is a member of the U.S. Army Reserve and a veteran of the war in Iraq, said in a statement Wednesday.

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