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A look at some of the big takeaways from the release of the redacted Mueller report. Also, on our Friday rundown: Iowa recovers from devastating floods and prepares for more. And, scallopers urged to minimize the threat to seagrass.

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Iowa Professor Explains Presidential Removal Procedures

The 25th Amendment provides guidance for what to do should a U.S. president become incapacitated. (Karen Neoh/Flickr)
The 25th Amendment provides guidance for what to do should a U.S. president become incapacitated.
(Karen Neoh/Flickr)
February 20, 2017

DES MOINES, Iowa – While Presidents Day protest rallies Monday may focus on impeaching President Donald Trump, at least one Iowa expert says it would be a long shot.

Some opponents of the president have suggested invoking the 25th Amendment, which outlines the procedures to be followed when a sitting president is no longer capable of performing the duties of the office.

David Andersen, an assistant professor of political science at Iowa State University, explains under Section 4, Vice President Mike Pence and the majority of Trump's cabinet members would have to declare the president "unfit to serve," a long process that is extremely unlikely.

"The Republican Party would have to know that removing a sitting elected president from power would be terribly unpopular, and they would face a backlash probably from their own party,” Andersen points out. “And they're never going to win over the opposition party, so there's little political gain from it."

Last week, Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon called for a review of the 25th Amendment, and Sen. Al Franken, a Democrat from Minnesota, said on Sunday that he's heard from Republican colleagues who are concerned about the president's mental health. Others cite ethics concerns.

The latest Gallup polling shows the president's approval rating is 40 percent overall, with 8 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Republicans in favor of his performance.

The 25th Amendment was developed after John F. Kennedy's assassination.

Andersen says there are a number of times in U.S. history when presidents have become incapacitated, and there was no clear guidance for what to do.

"The 25th Amendment is unlikely to ever be necessary,” he admits. “But if it is, it is absolutely vital that we know how to transition peacefully from a president who can no longer perform the duties of the office to other people in power – namely the vice president."

Section 4 of the amendment has never been invoked, but Section 3 was used by Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush during medical procedures.

Iowa was the 35th state to ratify the 25th Amendment, which was adopted 50 years ago.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IA