The U.S. economy could suffer if President Donald Trump serves his last two weeks in office, according to one of the hundreds of political science professors who signed an open letter to Vice President Mike Pence, Congress, and the Presidentâ€™s Cabinet seeking his removal.
â€œIt’s not just the immediate next 13 days we need to be worried about in terms of political instability affecting markets,â€ Edmund Malesky, Duke University professor of political economy, told Yahoo Finance Live on Thursday.
The professor pointed out that Trump had repeated the false claim that he won the election prior to Wednesdayâ€™s attack on the Capitol that left four dead and dozens of Trump supporters arrested. Claims of voter fraud by the Trump campaign, mounted in courts across the country in the weeks following the November election, failed to win endorsement from dozens of judges.
â€œAs long as the incumbent president continues to proffer that lie, it will continue to burden the next administration, and will lead to future problems with political stability that will help make long-term investors feel quite uncertain,â€ Malesky said.
Economic stability is among three reasons why Vice President Mike Pence and Trumpâ€™s remaining Cabinet members should invoke the 25th Amendment, which allows the president to be removed under certain circumstances.
The notion of invoking the 25th Amendment has been gaining momentum among senior lawmakers. Alternatively, the professors said, lawmakers should vote for impeachment.
Malesky said he also believes Trump should be removed based on concerns that before the end of his term he could use his power to stoke activity similar to the assault by Trump supporters on the nationâ€™s capital Wednesday, and that additional physical escalations could take away from efforts to combat the coronavirus and other global concerns.
â€œWe are dealing with tremendous threats, international relations threats, the hacking, issues with Iran,â€ Malesky said. â€œAnd also in terms of the pandemic, in terms of our ability to address Covid, to roll out the vaccines, and to deal with the new variants. And we have a president right now that is extremely distracted from those important efforts and is not interested in managing the government to deal with these critical threats.â€
The practical realities of the 25th Amendment
Despite increasing calls for the commander-in-chief to be removed from office prematurely, practical realities of using the 25th Amendment and voting for impeachment at such a late stage of the lame duck session could frustrate the efforts by deeming them moot, or by risking additional rioting.
Utilizing the 25th Amendment requires a declaration by the vice president and a majority of the president’s Cabinet stating that Trump is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.
Although such a declaration would remove Trump immediately, the presidentâ€™s own declaration in response, affirming he can in fact carry out his powers and duties, restores his position until two-thirds of Congress votes for his removal.
Impeachment proceedings require an even more protracted timeframe, and would likely extend beyond the weeks remaining in the presidentâ€™s term.
Asked whether proceedings to remove Trump could provoke more upheaval, Malesky said bipartisan support would help temper additional friction.
â€œIf you don’t have bipartisan support for this you are not going to have the 25th Amendment, and then this is all an academic exercise,â€ he said. â€œSo the threat of increased crisis really depends on, or would be, I think, in some way allayed by the fact that Republicans absolutely have to be a part of this process.â€
Alexis Keenan is a legal reporter for Yahoo Finance and former litigation attorney.
Follow Alexis Keenan on TwitterÂ @alexiskweed.