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Amid Trump’s Tailspin, Lawmakers Briefed on Nominee Withdrawal Scenario

What would happen if the real estate mogul is removed from the ticket?

Donald Trump speaking to the media at a hangar at Mesa Gateway Airport in Mesa, Arizona, on December 16, 2015. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) issued a conspicuously timed report last week, informing lawmakers on what would happen if a major presidential nominee left the ticket ahead of the November election.

CRS briefings are often requested by Members of Congress and their staff. That suggests that Trump’s electoral implosion in recent days has some lawmakers curious about what would happen if the real estate mogul is removed from the ticket or steps down before November 8.

“Although it might be assumed that the vice presidential candidate would succeed in the event of a vacancy in the presidential nomination,” CRS noted, “in fact, both major parties provide for replacement by their respective national committees.”

The research services goes on to detail the Democratic and Republican parties’ procedures for replacing a presidential nominee. In both cases, the parties’ respective national committees would be in charge of voting in a new candidate.

CRS noted that in 1972, Democratic nominee Sen. George McGovern’s running mate, Sen. Thomas Eagleton (D-Mo.), had to step down due to questions about his mental health. A replacement Vice Presidential nominee was selected by McGovern, and approved by the DNC.

Reports prepared by CRS are not usually released to the public. Investigative journalist Steve Aftergood, with the Federation of American Scientists, published the document, as he does with numerous CRS reports, on his Secrecy News blog.

Since audio leaked last week of Trump boasting on a hot mic in 2005 that he has used his celebrity to sexually assault women, calls for the GOP nominee to step down have grown deafening.

“Donald Trump should withdraw and Mike Pence should be our nominee effective immediately,” Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) tweeted on Saturday.

Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) have also called on Trump to step aside.

Former Secretary of State under George W. Bush, Condoleezza Rice posted on Facebook, “Enough! Donald Trump should not be President. He should withdraw.”

Trump, however, has defiantly rejected those calls

Speaking to the Washington Post over the weekend, he said, “I’d never withdraw. I’ve never withdrawn in my life.”

Trump’s polling numbers have taken a considerable hit since both the leaked audiotape and his widely panned performance in the first debate. A new NBC/Wall Street Journal survey has the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, with an 11-point lead over Trump, 46 to 35 percent.

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