As leaks out of the White House continue, we are presented with a clearer picture of a man who is “unraveling…feeling isolated… besieged…(and) erratic”. These characterizations have generated serious concerns about Trump’s ability to competently govern, both here at home and internationally. Indeed, these “concerns” have found expression in August poll results, a topic to be addressed next.
A significant plurality
The Public Religious Research Institute (PRRI) conducted its poll during the period that ran from this August 2nd to the 8th. Forty percent (40%) of respondents were in favor of 45 being removed from office by means of impeachment. Two weeks later, Harvard University replicated the PRRI survey and found that essentially the same plurality (i.e. 43%) agreed.
The aforementioned two results have generated among many Americans, an increased sense of urgency; i.e. can’t we get on with the impeachment process before Trump does any more damage to our standing in the world (1) along with his assault on our laws and Constitution (2,3)? The view held here is that for reasons to be cited next, impeachment (if it happens at all) will not occur sooner, but rather, later.
Advancing on square wheels
There are multiple factors that are currently acting or eventually will act to impede the impeachment process. First, key Republican members of Congress like Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Representative Devin Nunes of California, are taking steps to slow congressional investigations into Trump/Russia collusion and/or undermine the credibility of various sources of information that have put 45 in a less-than-favorable light.
Second, Special Prosecutor (SP) Robert Mueller is a “stickler” who “dots all his ‘i’s’ and crosses all his ‘t’s’. Moreover, he is thorough. That means that he will tie up every loose end that is hanging out there, and won’t issue his conclusions until that has been done. It’s a good bet that will take us into next year.
Third, if impeachment is indeed front and center in 2018, but before that year’s November midterm election, watch for the GOP-controlled House to go to great lengths to stall the process until after that election is over. They simply do not want to face boiling mad Trump supporters after having passed bills of impeachment on to the Senate. It has even been argued that they will vote against those same bills unless the case against Trump is overwhelmingly bad and thus leaves them with virtually no other choice.
The other alternative
There is yet another way in which a sitting president can be removed from office: The Constitution’s 25th Amendment allows for his cabinet to take such action if it is determined that the Chief Executive cannot discharge the duties of his office due to a serious physical (4) or mental/psychological disability.
Interestingly, former presidential advisor, Steve Bannon, is said to have judged that the chances of 45 even finishing his first term are about “30%”, with the 25th Amendment doing used as the mechanism for removing him from office. This prediction, assigned to Bannon by an anonymous source, was cited in a Vanity Fair magazine article and as of today’s date, has yet to be corroborated by other news agencies. Attempts to reach Bannon for confirmation or denial have been met with silence which cannot be interpreted one way or the other.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the alleged quote from Bannon, where would Trump’s cabinet stand viz a viz the invocation of the 25th? Again, the view here, is that the majority of those 21 people (5), all 45-nominees, would be absolutely loathe to take such action. Trump would have to become completely unhinged, publicly, to make such a vote even thinkable (6).
If the basic two projections offered here have any real validity, then those in the anti-Trump camp had better steel themselves for many more months of his presidency; and that’s at the very least. So, “cool your jets”, practice patience and keep up all legitimate forms of protest.
- The leaders of our closest allies have voiced their disapproval over 45’s “war of words” with Kim Jong Un of North Korea.
- Trump has urged NFL owners to fire players who have chosen to “take a knee” during the playing of the National Anthem. There are labor laws that make it illegal for an employer to fire or punish an employee for the latter’s political views. How sad that 45 exhibited no knowledge of this before speaking.
- Assaulting the constitutional guarantee of a free press, 45 has advocated that TV networks have their licenses revoked in retaliation for their negative stories. One can take this as an indication of Trump’s failure to know that the networks are not licensed; only their affiliates are.
- When then-President Reagan was wounded during an assassination attempt, there was brief talk of turning to the 25th Amendment. It was quickly scuttled.
- Here, the “cabinet” is considered to be populated by all individuals who had to pass through a Senate confirmation hearing. That includes everyone from the Secretary of State down to the Budget Director.
- As his presidency was headed towards its’ ignominious end, Nixon was described by close associates as roaming the halls of the White House, talking to pictures of former presidents. That never became part of the official record of Nixon’s departure from office because said behavior took place out of public view.