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Pence denies discussions on invoking 25th Amendment, removing Trump from office

On Sunday talk shows, members of President Trump's administration also said the writer of a New York Times piece attempted to sow discord and should resign.

Vice President Mike Pence announces the Trump administration's

Vice President Mike Pence announces the Trump administration's plan to create the U.S. Space Force by 2020 during a speech at the Pentagon in Arlington, Va., on Aug. 9. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Chip Somodevilla

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday denied taking part in discussions to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office.

Pence and White House Senior Counsel Kellyanne Conway, making the political talk show rounds, dismissed allegations that senior administration officials at one point discussed using the constitutional maneuver to push Trump out of office as alleged in an anonymously written op-ed piece published by The New York Times last week.

"No. Never. And why ... would we be?" Pence told CBS "Face the Nation" host Margaret Brennan when asked if he ever participated in such discussions.

The 25th Amendment empowers the vice president along with a majority of the president's Cabinet to remove the president from office if they deem "that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office." The vice president would then assume the role of president according to the amendment.

Pence, on "Fox News Sunday," said he would agree to take a lie-detector test "in a heartbeat" to rule out his involvement in penning the anonymous piece, which the Times has said was written by a "senior official" in the Trump administration who said they are a part of a "resistance" movement trying to thwart Trump's "worst inclinations."

Dozens of Trump administration officials — from Cabinet members to ambassadors in far-flung posts — have since come out publicly to deny being the author of the piece.

Conway, appearing on NBC's "Meet the Press," described the notion that senior administration officials were plotting to remove the president from office via the 25th Amendment as "such nonsense." 

Pence and Conway blasted the anonymous author of the op-ed as a "coward" and said the person's aim was to create chaos in Trump's administration.

"I think the motivation is to sow discord and create chaos," Conway said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Pence, on "Fox News Sunday," said the individual who wrote the op-ed should resign and called it "un-American."

Trump on Friday called for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to start an investigation to find the source, citing "national security."

"Jeff should be investigating who the author of that piece was because I really believe it's national security," Trump said. If the person has a high-level security clearance, he said, "I don't want him in those meetings."

Pence, on "Fox News Sunday," said he supported Trump's call for an investigation, saying the president was concerned "that this individual may have responsibilities in the area of national security.”

On NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Conway said the publication of the op-ed has drawn the president’s West Wing team closer in recent days.

“We are tighter this week because we are so joined in our outrage,” Conway said.

Conway said she believed the author was “motivated by conceit and deceit” and would eventually be identified because “cowards, like criminals, always tell the wrong person” about their actions.

Democratic lawmakers said the op-ed piece, coupled with a soon-to-be released book by veteran Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Bob Woodward that portrays a White House gripped by infighting and chaos, point to a pattern of mismanagement in the West Wing that should not be ignored.

"We should not be dismissing it," said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) during an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press." "We are talking about consistent reporting over and over and over again about unpredictable, unstable behavior by this president."

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia), vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, said he wished the anonymous author would reveal himself but saw no reason for the Justice Department to investigate.

"I see absolutely no national security issues," Warner told CBS' "Face the Nation, adding that "this is a White House in chaos and president who’s become more and more untethered."  

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