President Donald Trump has less than two weeks left in the White House and will give way to President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.
Unless, for some reason, he departs earlier amid the outrage over the storming of the US Capitol by his supporters.
Here are some of the possible scenarios for the coming days:
- 25th Amendment -
The top two Democrats in Congress, Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House of Representatives, and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer have called for Trump's immediate removal for inciting the mob that attacked the halls of Congress.
They have urged Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, under which the vice president and a majority of the cabinet can remove a president deemed unable to discharge his duties.
Pence has given no indication, however, that he plans to invoke the 25th Amendment and has reportedly refused to accept phone calls from Pelosi.
Adopted in 1967, the 25th Amendment lays out the provisions for a transfer of power from a president who dies, resigns, is removed from office or for other reasons is unable to fulfill his or her duties.
It has been invoked on several occasions, notably by Richard Nixon when he resigned in 1974 and by presidents undergoing a surgical procedure to shift power temporarily to the vice president.
Under Section 4, the vice president and a majority of the members of the cabinet inform the leaders of the Senate and House that the president is incapable of discharging his duties and the vice president becomes acting president.
If a president contests the determination that he or she is unable to fulfill their duties, it is up to Congress to make the decision.
A two-thirds majority in both the House and the Senate is needed to declare the president unfit to remain in office.
- Impeachment -
Democrats in the House of Representatives have drawn up articles of impeachment against Trump that could be introduced next week.
Trump was already impeached once by the Democratic-controlled House -- in December 2019 for pressuring the leader of Ukraine to dig up political dirt on Biden.
He was acquitted by the Republican-majority Senate.
Though time is running short, Democrats likely have the votes in the House to impeach Trump again and could even draw some Republican support for the move.
But they are unlikely to muster the two-thirds majority needed to convict Trump in the 100-member Senate and remove him from office.
That would require 18 Republican senators voting for conviction and only a single Republican, Utah Senator Mitt Romney of Utah, crossed party lines last time and voted to convict Trump.
- Resignation -
Trump could always choose to resign and hand over to Pence before January 20 but he has given no indications that he plans to do so.
In the wake of the storming of the Capitol, the right-leaning editorial board of The Wall Street Journal called on the president "to take personal responsibility and resign."
"It is best for everyone, himself included, if he goes away quietly," said the newspaper, which is owned by conservative media tycoon Rupert Murdoch.
- Vacation -
Trump could go away quietly -- on vacation.
One scenario raised by some commentators has him just leaving Washington, perhaps to go play golf at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida and count down the days until the end of his presidency.
- Remain in office -
And then Trump could, of course, just remain in office until January 20.
According to The New York Times, Trump would like to visit the US-Mexico border next week to highlight his immigration policies.
He would also like to conduct an exit interview with the media, the newspaper said, citing a person briefed on the planning.
One thing Trump will not be doing? Attending Biden's swearing in ceremony.
"To all of those who have asked, I will not be going to the Inauguration on January 20th," he tweeted on Friday.
© 2021 AFP