Law firm seeks support in call for President Trump’s ouster

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Fencing is placed around the exterior of the Capitol grounds, Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021 in Washington. The House and Senate certified the Democrat’s electoral college win early Thursday after a violent throng of pro-Trump rioters spent hours Wednesday running rampant through the Capitol. A woman was fatally shot, windows were bashed and the mob forced shaken lawmakers and aides to flee the building, shielded by Capitol Police. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

NEW YORK (AP) — A large Washington, D.C.-based law firm is asking other lawyers to join in a call for President Donald Trump’s cabinet to oust him after rioting supporters of the president attacked and occupied the U.S. Capitol.

The 12-member management board of Crowell & Moring LLP on Thursday contacted the nation’s top 200 law firms and asked them to join in sending a letter to Vice President Mike Pence seeking Trump’s ouster.

Under Section 4 of the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, a president can be removed from power by his own cabinet, with the vice president taking command. Senior Trump administration officials have raised the possibility of declaring Trump unable to perform the duties of his office.

Crowell & Moring Chairman Philip Inglima said in an interview that the firm has received a “nice number” of responses from law firms, but wouldn’t give a number. Many applauded the firm’s stance but said they would have to confer with management committees before joining, Inglima said. In addition, more than a dozen smaller law firms have committed to the effort, he said.

The firms would sign on to a letter that Inglima plans to write to Pence urging him to take the action, Inglima said. That letter likely would be sent on Friday, he said.

At a rally before the violent siege, Trump encouraged thousands of supporters to “fight like hell” and to go to the Capitol, where lawmakers had gathered for an Electoral College certification vote of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over Trump in the 2020 election.

Trump has proved himself unfit for office and is a threat to the Constitution, Inglima said.

“Here as lawyers we feel like such a bright line has been crossed in terms of the completely unacceptable and reckless disregard of the president’s oath and his duties to uphold the Constitution,” Inglima said.

Inglima said he doesn’t know if the stance will cost his firm business. “We don’t think it should. We have heard many responses from clients thanking us for taking a leadership position and expressing similar sentiment,” he said.

Many other law firms on Thursday issued statements condemning the violence and urging a peaceful transition of power, but didn’t go as far as calling for Trump’s removal.

“We cannot take our democracy for granted and need to recognize that, when you fan the flames of violence, it can cause that fire to get out of control,” Kim Koopersmith, chairperson at the Akin Gump law firm, said in a statement. “We all need to do what we can to make sure we find a way to engage with each other, and when we disagree, we do so without sacrificing our democracy.”

The New York firm of Jenner & Block blamed Trump for the attack and called for a peaceful orderly transition. “These scenes of violence are the result of leadership that puts personal advantage above the democratic process,” the firm said in a statement.

In corporate America, companies also stopped short of seeking 25th Amendment action. The National Association of Manufacturers was among the only business groups asking the cabinet to consider invoking the amendment.

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Krisher reported from Detroit.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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