Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday night rebuffed calls from House Democrats to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office, saying he refused to "play political games."
The vice president also argued that the 25th Amendment should only be invoked if the nation's leader is incapacitated, and urged lawmakers to focus on "ensuring an orderly transition" to president-elect Joe Biden's administration.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had urged Pence and the Cabinet to remove the president from office after thousands of pro-Trump supporters stormed the Capitol complex on Jan. 6.
"I do not believe such a course of action is in the best interest of our Nation or consistent with the Constitution," Pence wrote in a letter. "Last week, I did not yield to pressure to exert beyond my constitutional authority to determine the outcome of the election, and I will not now yield to efforts in the House of Representatives to play political games at a time so serious in the life of our nation."
"I urge you and every member of Congress to avoid actions that would further divide and inflame passions of the moment. Work with us to lower the temperature and unite our country as we prepare to inaugurate President-elect Joe Biden as the next President of the United States," Pence added.
On Monday -- five days after the insurrection at the Capitol that left five people dead -- Trump and Pence met to discuss plans and "reflected" on the administration's accomplishments, two administration officials with knowledge of the meeting told CNN.
"They reiterated that those who broke the law and stormed the Capitol last week do not represent the America First movement backed by 75 million Americans, and pledged to continue the work on behalf of the country for the remainder of their term," one source said.
The House is expected to vote on impeachment legislation on Wednesday. Many Democrats believe they would get enough votes to charge Trump with high crimes. At least three GOP lawmakers have said they will vote to impeach Trump.