Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin held informal conversations within their own agencies about the contours of the 25th Amendment, the invocation of which would begin a process to remove Trump from office, according to three sources familiar with the matter.
The arguments against pursuing action, according to the sources, were manifold. First, the legal process itself was estimated to take more than a week, negating any immediate effect it would have. Inauguration Day was only two weeks away.
Second, it was unclear whether the three secretaries serving in “acting” roles without Senate confirmation would be able to cast a vote. Third, they had concerns that forcing Trump from office could further stoke tensions among his base and make him a hero of the far right, doing more bad in the long term than good in the short term.