Former presidential strategist Steve Bannon shocked both the faithful and nonfaithful by predicting Donald Trump has only a 30 percent chance of completing his first term. This from an ardent supporter, while thousands of ardent opponents are hoping, praying and seeking paths to make Trump a less-than-one-term president.
The issues are (1) will he in fact not complete this term and (2) if he doesn’t, why? Those questions were posed to me by a journalist friend who likes to bait me by asking me the unanswerable.
I took the bait.
I believe there is some chance he will not complete his term, but place the odds much higher than Bannon–I’d say he has an 80 percent chance of lasting all four years.
Most depends on what Special Counsel Robert Mueller III comes up with. More on that later.
There is also the possibility of the vice president invoking the 25th Amendment, saying the president is for mental or other reasons unable to do his job and getting a majority of the cabinet to go along. I think this is unlikely–especially since it would ultimately need the sanction of Congress if Trump contested his removal.
Another possibility is if he is found to be in violation of the constitution’s “emoluments clause,” which forbids him from taking gifts from foreign governments. Many legal minds and governmental ethicists believe he is in clear violation because his far-flung business interests and his partial ownership of Washington’s Trump International Hotel already make him the beneficiary of foreign governmental money. Legally he cannot be an owner of that DC hotel.
I think he would resign the presidency rather than completely sell off all his businesses that receive foreign government funds and put them into a genuine blind trust. Currently he entrusts them to his family, which hardly qualifies as a “blind” trust.
As to Mueller’s investigations, there remains no doubt that Russia “meddled” in the 2016 election on Trump’s behalf. The issue is whether there was “collusion” with the campaign–not a crime but an impeachable offense–or “conspiracy,” which is a crime.
Worse, there is the matter of obstruction of justice, which many legal minds are sure has occurred. Though unproven, this would be very serious–clearly impeachable and some argue that he could be indicted for the crime even though he is a sitting president.
This is all speculative because we really don’t know what Mueller has or will eventually come up with.
I don’t believe this House will impeach–or the Senate convict–unless they are so devastated in the mid-terms that he becomes a major liability to the Republican party. Should the Dems take over it could be a different story.
Most likely to cause his resignation is if Mueller comes up with indictments against his family: Ivana, Don Jr. and/or Jared Kushner. Based on documented incidents, this is a distinct possibility. I think he would opt to quit if he could trade resignation for dropping charges against them.
But–like the old radio character “The Shadow”–only Mueller knows and he ain’t talking.
Don Rose contributes to The Contrary Perspective and he is a regular writer for the Chicago Daily Observer.