08 Jan 2021

Crowell & Moring calls on US Vice President to invoke 25th Amendment following Capitol siege

Washington-based firm says Trump is unfit for office and calls on other law firm leaders to join call to protect democracy

Police detain a person as supporters of US President Donald Trump protest outside the US Capitol on January 6

Alex Gakos: Shutterstock

Washington DC-headquartered Crowell & Moring has called on Vice President Mike Pence and Cabinet members to remove Trump from office by using the 25th Amendment in the wake of the storming of the Capitol on Wednesday by Trump supporters.

The top 100 US firm, which is known for its regulatory and policy expertise and employs more than 100 former government officials, followed several other top firms in condemning the violence, but went further by calling for Trump's removal and urging other law firm leaders to join it.

In a statement, the firm’s management board said: “The President has proven himself unfit for office, and a reckless and wanton threat to the Constitution that he pledged to preserve, protect and defend. We call upon the Vice President and the Cabinet officers to invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution and to declare to the leaders of Congress that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

The management board, which includes chair Philip Inglima and 11 other senior partners, said when it comes to defending the US Constitution and the country’s system of laws, lawyers have a special duty to speak out in support of those principles.

The firm said: “We further call upon all law firm leaders and all lawyers in government to join in this call, and to stand up for the democratic institutions and traditions of our republic and the Constitution that gives them life and protection.”

The past year has witnessed a notable, collective move by business law firms to speak out more forthrightly on public policy and rule of law issues, initially sparked by the Black Lives Matter protests following the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Meanwhile, some firms have faced criticism for their roles advising President Trump. They include Jones Day, which in the immediate aftermath of the presidential elections issued a statement clarifying that it was not representing Trump in contesting the results of the elections.

Crowell said the mob’s ‘raid and occupation of the Capitol’ had interrupted one of the US’s ‘most sacred traditions’ where ballots cast by states to the Electoral College are received and certified.

It added: “It was a scene framed by forcible illegal entry, assault on law enforcement officers and senseless death. It was the direct and predictable result of a rally summoned by the President, at which he reinforced false claims of a rigged election that have been rejected or outright disproven by every public and judicial review of our November 2020 presidential election. It was a riot incited by the President’s own words addressing that rally and then excused by his words after it.”

At least four people died following what President-elect Joe Biden called an insurrection that bordered on sedition – one woman was shot inside the Capitol building by police, while another three protesters died from medical emergencies.

The American Bar Association’s president Patricia Lee Refo on Wednesday condemned the ‘criminal’ attempt to subvert the certification of Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. Law firm leaders including Dentons US CEO Mike McNamara, Perkins Coie firmwide managing partner Bill Malley and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison chairman Brad Karp also spoke out against the scenes in the Capitol building.