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Nancy Pelosi floats 25th Amendment discussion

Pelosi raised the prospect of the 25th Amendment — which allows the president's Cabinet members to remove him from office — as a topic for discussion Friday.

WASHINGTON — House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she plans to discuss the 25th Amendment, which outlines transferring power from the president, on Friday. 

During her weekly press conference on Thursday, Pelosi was discussing the status of a coronavirus aid package when she encouraged reporters to come back to Capitol Hill on Friday. 

"Tomorrow, by the way, tomorrow, come here tomorrow," Pelosi said. "We're going to be talking about the 25th Amendment."

If the president is unable to serve, through illness or death, the 25th Amendment makes clear the powers of the presidency transfer to the vice president until the president regains the ability to perform his duties. It also lays out the procedures for what happens if the president becomes unable to discharge his duties but doesn’t transfer power. In that case, the vice president and majority of the Cabinet can declare the president unfit. They’d then send a letter to the Speaker and President Pro Tempore saying so. The vice president then becomes acting president. 

When pressed later in her press conference over whether she thought it was time to invoke the 25th Amendment, Pelosi declined to answer and again said it would be discussed on Friday. She then hinted that the discussion could involve the White House's lack of transparency surrounding when the president contracted COVID-19. 

“I’m not talking about it today except to tell you, if you want to talk about that, we’ll see you tomorrow,” she said. “But you take me back to my point, Mr. President, when was the last time you had a negative test before you tested positive? Why is the White House not telling the country that important fact about how this made a hotspot of the White House?” 

Credit: AP
Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., left, listens as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., speaks with reporters at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020.

In an interview later on Bloomberg TV, Pelosi was asked whether she believed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had the authority to negotiate a coronavirus aid package on Trump's behalf. “The president is shall we say in an altered state right now,” Pelosi responded. “I don’t know how to answer for that behavior.”

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President Trump returned to the White House Monday night after spending three days at a military hospital for COVID-19 treatment. Trump said Thursday that he is ready to hold campaign rallies again and he credited an experimental drug treatment with helping his recovery from COVID-19, although there is no way for the president or his doctors to know whether the drug had any effect. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.