Pelosi pushes new bill to determine whether Trump is capable of serving as President

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, alarmed by President Donald Trump's erratic behavior in recent days, is putting her weight behind a bill to give Congress a role in determining whether the President of the United States must be forced out of office because he's incapable of doing his job.

(CNN) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, alarmed by President Donald Trump's erratic behavior in recent days, is putting her weight behind a bill to give Congress a role in determining whether the President of the United States must be forced out of office because he's incapable of doing his job.

The move, in response to Trump's conduct in the days after testing positive for the coronavirus, would establish a process to effectively give Congress a say in removing a president from office under the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which allows for a president to be removed from office if a majority of Cabinet members and the vice president consider him unable to carry out his duties. Section four of the 25th Amendment also says that if a majority of a body established by law, along with the vice president, declare in writing that if the president is disabled and unable to do his job, the vice president immediately becomes the acting president.

The bill, Democrats say, will create that body to help determine the fitness of the president. The proposal, which will be introduced Friday by Pelosi and Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, will create a body designed to "help ensure effective and uninterrupted leadership in the highest office in the Executive Branch of government," according to Pelosi's office.

The measure stands virtually no chance of becoming law. But it is designed to heighten the attention on Trump's condition after his doctors have provided limited information about his recovery from coronavirus.

Pelosi teased the plan at a news conference Thursday, saying she would speak about the 25h Amendment issue on Friday. And in a series of recent comments, Pelosi questioned whether Trump can do his job given his drug regimen, including the use of a steroid.

On Thursday, she said that Trump appears to be "in an altered state right now" and told Bloomberg TV that "there may be some impairment of judgment."

Asked if she has questions about the President's capability to serve in the office right now, Pelosi said, "What I said about the President was that we don't know if somebody who -- I've not said this, I've quoted others to say there are those who say that when you're on steroids and/or if you have Covid-19 or both that there may be some impairment of judgment, but again that's for the doctors and the scientists to determine."

The comments prompted an angry retort from Trump, who retweeted several messages suggesting that Pelosi is trying to mount a coup. Trump ultimately responded to Pelosi: "Crazy Nancy is the one who should be under observation. They don't call her Crazy for nothing!"

The new bill appears to be based on what Raskin -- a constitutional law scholar -- has proposed in the past. A previous bill of his looked to establish a bipartisan commission that would -- at the direction of Congress -- carry out a medical examination of the President to determine whether he is "mentally or physically unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office."

Under that plan, the 11-member commission would be appointed by leaders of the House and Senate in both parties. The commission in his past bill would be required to report its findings to Congress.

Trump's health has been shrouded in mystery as several of his actions have drawn criticism for flouting precautions to prevent additional West Wing infections, and it remains publicly unknown when Trump last tested negative test before testing positive.

Calling into Fox Business on Thursday from the White House residence, where he continues taking a steroid as part of his Covid treatment, Trump's voice sounded husky over the phone. White House communications director Alyssa Farah on Thursday again refused to tell reporters the date of the President's last negative test before a positive for coronavirus occurred, citing Trump's "private medical history."

After he tested positive for the virus twice last Thursday and announced his positive status early Friday morning, Trump's condition appeared serious. Later Friday, Trump's doctor said that he had a high fever and received supplementary oxygen as well as the antibody cocktail from the biotechnology company Regeneron, ultimately being transported to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for three days for monitoring.

But he did not always comply with the social distancing and mask wearing guidelines that experts say is essential to minimizing the disease's spread. Trump left the hospital on Sunday to ride in an SUV with his security detail past supporters cheering him on outside Walter Reed. And in a dramatic return to the White House on Monday, Trump peeled off his mask to pose in salute as his helicopter departed before walking inside.

"Don't be afraid of Covid. Don't let it dominate your life," Trump wrote several hours before walking carefully out of the hospital's gold front doors, even as his doctors warned he wasn't yet "out of the woods."

CNN's Clare Foran, Haley Byrd, Kevin Liptak, Jason Hoffman and Maeve Reston contributed to this report.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.