As stated in Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. constitution, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
Treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors. These three categories cast a rather wide net, and Donald Trump’s actions prior and after the election are probably covered by it.
However, for a conviction to occur, an entirely non-partisan effort is needed. This, given how concrete party allegiance is in this country, sounds impossible.
Well, it’s not impossible. But when the president’s party holds a majority in both houses, it’s nearly impossible.
Currently, 25 republican members of the house –along with all democrats– would have to vote for impeachment to reach the simple majority of 218 and go on to the senate. To reach two-thirds majority there, 19 republican senators and the 48 democratic senators would have to vote for removal.
What does all of this mean?
It means that to successfully remove a president from office through impeachment, one needs the people/voters on one’s side. And not just a simple majority; the antagonistic fervor needs to grow deafening. Republicans need to fear for their jobs and their legacies—there needs to be a seismic event that changes the tenor of the country.
Right now, President Trump’s approval rating is a rather dismal 40% and still dropping. But small leaks showing connections, possibilities and general misgivings will not be enough.
Trump’s violations of the emoluments clause, his refusal to divest himself from his businesses, his use of the office to protect family brands, his propagandistic habits, his lies and his draconian immigration policies will not be enough.
Even as his closest allies —former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn and Attorney General Jeff Sessions— have been caught lying about their connection with Russian operatives, it still won’t be enough.
What about Richard Nixon?, you may be asking. Nixon was a different story. While he was never officially impeached because he resigned before a senatorial vote, he would’ve surely been removed from office had a vote occurred. The “Smoking Gun” tape proved that Nixon was in on the Watergate burglary and the subsequent cover-up. This crippled him publicly and politically. His administration was in free fall, so jumping ship was no longer a risk, but a necessity.
Even if presented with the “smoking gun”, Donald Trump and his Republican allies will call it “fake news” and move on.
So, as long as coward Republicans keep protecting Trump from impeachment, it’s not going to happen. All of these things can get far worse, and it still won’t happen… unless the people rise up and send a clear message that a criminal administration is unacceptable.
The mid-term elections are approaching faster than you think. Let’s send a message to Republicans that they work for us, that if they don’t do their jobs, they will be out of work comes November 2018.
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