Steve Mnuchin and Mike Pompeo discussed a plan to remove Trump from office after the Jan. 6 insurrection, according to Jonathan Karl’s new book Betrayal, which chronicles the final days of the former president’s time in office.
Then-Treasury Secretary Mnuchin reportedly called then-Secretary of State Pompeo on the evening of Jan. 6 to suggest using the 25th Amendment, which outlines the protocols for how to replace the president or vice president in the event of their death, removal from office, resignation, or incapacitation. “I learned that Mnuchin had several conversations about the 25th Amendment and, further, that Mike Pompeo actually asked for a legal analysis of the 25th Amendment and how it would work,” Karl said during an appearance on MSNBC Monday morning.
According to Karl, the idea was “quickly jettisoned” the next day as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao resigned, leaving Mnuchin to realize that using the Constitution to push Trump out of office would take too much time and would almost certainly face legal challenges. Mnuchin, however, did not resign.
“It would not be quick enough and it would be subject to legal challenges,” Karl said, explaining why the plan was abandoned. “But in the hours after the riot, there were high-level conversations about this.”
Karl said that his sourcing on the story is “rock solid,” although Pompeo issued a statement through a spokesperson denying he was involved in any 25th Amendment conversations. Karl added that although he made multiple attempts to reach out to Pompeo and Mnuchin to confirm the story, neither would agree to speak with him. In fact, it wasn’t until a couple hours after Karl’s final interview with former President Trump for the book, during which Karl mentioned the 25th Amendment discussion between Mnuchin and Pompeo, that a spokesperson for Pompeo sent a statement denying the former secretary of state engaged in any conversations about it.
“Pompeo through a spokesman denied there have ever been conversations around invoking the 25th Amendment,” the statement read.
Mnuchin will surely draw MAGAland’s ire for trying to preserve American democracy at a time when Trump was pretty much over it, but if he did anything wrong, it’s that he didn’t go far enough. It appears little came of the 25th amendment discussions, and they came years after it was clear that Trump’s avarice and incompetence were a lethal threat.