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Stabenow Is Among Senators Calling For Trump's Removal From Office


Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan is one of the lawmakers who's calling for President Trump's removal. She's on the line with me now. Good morning, Senator.

DEBBIE STABENOW: Good morning. Good to be with you.

KING: Good to have you. You have said, as I understand it, do whatever it takes to get him out of office, whether that is impeachment, whether that is invoking the 25th Amendment, whatever it takes. What specifically do you hold the president responsible for in this case?

STABENOW: Well, there are numerous things. And certainly, the mobs, you know, the riots - really, domestic terrorism that we saw and experienced at the Capitol a couple of days ago didn't just happen. I mean, this has been something building for a long time and which is extremely concerning to me, as well, as we go forward and try to bring people back together and try to heal this country when we have so many people now that are believing these conspiracy theories and QAnon theories and, you know, all of this.

And so right now, we have a situation where this president incited riots, incited people to basically attack our United States Capitol. We have at least one police officer who lost his life. We've had four others who lost their lives as well. And this is very serious. If other people were doing this, they would be held accountable. So I'm not naive, Noel. I know that this would take the vice president to initiate the 25th Amendment. It would take bipartisan support to be able to move forward on impeachment. But I will support whatever we can get support for that holds him accountable, including what happens when he leaves office.

KING: A question that will be on many people's minds - the president has 12 days left in office. So both of the things that you're proposing, as you've noted, impeachment and 25th Amendment, these are largely symbolic. Why pursue it with 12 days left? Why not just get through the next 12 days?

STABENOW: I think the seriousness of this, the loss of life, the destruction of the United States Capitol - I mean, what we saw, what we experienced in the U.S. Senate is not acceptable. It's not tolerable. And so to say, well, we'll just move on - there's only 12 days or 11 days - you know, we have to certainly at least speak out and take a stand. We know that there's only limited time left, thank goodness. But we also know that he can do a lot of damage in one day.

KING: Let's talk about the damage. Twelve days left in office, you seem to be suggesting you think it's unsafe for President Trump to stay in office. What specifically are you concerned about?

STABENOW: At this point, we don't know. You know, this is someone who makes national security decisions. This is someone who, you know, is extremely erratic, as we know, and making decisions that are based on emotion and what he views as vindicating himself, you know, for all his - the grievances against him. And so we don't know. We don't know. And so - and I do believe that we don't need all the cabinet leaving right now. What we need are people that are going to stay and provide some guardrails around him because I don't think he has any personal limits on what he might do. So there have to be people around him that provide that.

KING: And you're pointing out that two members of his cabinet have resigned or said they will resign. I wonder, Senator, what, if any, conversations you were having with your Republican colleagues in the Senate and whether there has been any change in the past few days in terms of how they view President Trump's time in office.

STABENOW: Well, they're counting the days, hoping it goes very quickly.

KING: They are?

STABENOW: I mean, I don't know anyone that thinks that this is a good idea for him to remain. But I also think it's difficult for us to assume that people will step forward at this point and join us. But certainly, behind the scenes, when we were spending the hours and hours on Wednesday together, you know, waiting to go back in the Senate chambers after the terrorism, I don't think there was anybody - not very many people there thought it was a good idea for him to remain president.

KING: But then shouldn't your Republican colleagues step forward and join you? I mean, as you pointed out, you were all under attack this week. That's a big deal.

STABENOW: Sure. But I also believe that they should've joined us to remove him a year ago during the impeachment process. So they have to be accountable and answer the questions on their own, you know, behavior - but certainly would welcome them joining us.

KING: Fair enough. Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Thanks so much for your time this morning.

STABENOW: My pleasure. Take care. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.