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AP Explains: The 25th Amendment to the Constitution

Last Updated Sep 21, 2018 at 10:20 pm EDT

WASHINGTON – Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein raised the idea of using the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office, The New York Times reported Friday. Rosenstein has denied making the suggestion.

Removing a president between elections is meant to be tough. Here’s how the 25th Amendment to the Constitution works:

It came into effect in 1967 as a way to clarify the Constitution’s lines of succession after a crisis like President John F. Kennedy’s 1963 assassination. It wasn’t intended to replace unpopular or incompetent presidents but to set a clear process of continuity if a president is disabled, temporarily or permanently, or otherwise unable to fulfil duties.

Its use has been noncontroversial, guiding Gerald Ford from the vice presidency to the presidency when Richard Nixon stepped down and Ford’s successor as vice-president, for example.

It enabled a vice-president and a majority of the Cabinet to sideline a president temporarily. For that to stick and a vice-president to finish out a president’s term, it would require a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers of Congress.

A massive loss of confidence in the president from Trump’s aides and fellow Republicans in Congress would be required.