With the threat of impeachment and with that the threat of conviction and prevention from holding federal office imminent, resigning could be an effective way for the President to avoid these problems. If the House of Representatives were right about to impeach the President, could they resign immediately or would some paperwork prevent that?

1 Answer 1


Is there any legal procedures the President has to follow to resign or can they do it immediately?

A letter of resignation is required.

3 U.S. Code § 20 - Resignation or refusal of office

The only evidence of a refusal to accept, or of a resignation of the office of President or Vice President, shall be an instrument in writing, declaring the same, and subscribed by the person refusing to accept or resigning, as the case may be, and delivered into the office of the Secretary of State.

  • Clearly this can't really need to be in writing in the case where the president loses a hand for example.
    – Simd
    Jan 11, 2021 at 11:28
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    @Anush That will probably make its way to the courts and/or Congress if America should ever find itself in that position, but until then it does indeed need to be in writing.
    – Joe C
    Jan 11, 2021 at 12:31
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    @JoeC It only says that it has to be "in writing", and that the person resigning must subscribe it. So if it comes to it, I guess the POTUS could ask someone to write the letter and then if he has no hand the POTUS could stamp his personal mark (an inked toe?) on it. Of course usually there would be enough witness and additional evidence as to make the validation of signatures and/or marks unnecessary.
    – SJuan76
    Jan 11, 2021 at 15:16

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