Impeachment? That’s Funny

From the moment he took the oath of office, Donald Trump has been in violation of the emoluments clause, and should be impeached. That is not really my opinion, it’s a simple fact- he is taking payment from foreign governments, through his hotels and real estate holdings, which violates the clause. He is not facing impeachment though, and for a pretty obvious reason- the Republicans hold majorities in both houses of Congress, and have no interest in impeaching the guy their voters picked to be the President, particularly while he’s signing the legislation they want to send him. Republicans who try to reign in Trump risk the backlash of their voters in primaries. As long as Trump is willing to sign Republican-backed legislation, they have no incentive to do that.

There seems to be some feeling among all sane Americans of all stripes that the Trump White House is in new, untested waters right now that might require impeachment to be on the table. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, or now former National Security Adviser, had to resign because of the heat of an FBI investigation into his pre-Inauguration conversations with Russia. Now it is leaking that the FBI now knows that the Trump Campaign was talking to Russian Intelligence officials during the election. People are starting to wonder if in fact Donald Trump really is completely compromised by Russia (as though most of his opponents didn’t think that before).

Let’s be clear here, unless Trump is going to be charged by the FBI with charges related to being a Russian agent, he’s not going to be impeached. The truth of the matter is, it’s still a matter of Congress. Republicans will control Congress through 2018. Looking beyond 2018, it’s not very likely to change right now. The House is gerrymandered badly, and while Democrats may be able to get to 218 votes, barely, in the 2018 mid-terms, it’s unlikely they’ll have 218 “safe” votes to impeach the President, short of the case being a slam-dunk. Even if they do, the Senate is even bleaker. I haven’t seen anyone yet count out three potential Democratic Senate victories in 2018 that would get them 51 seats to control the Senate. Even in some crazy “wave” election, Republicans are only defending eight seats, which means a Democratic sweep (impossible) would only get them to 56 seats. Here’s the really bad news for people who want Trump impeached- you need two-thirds of the body, or 67 votes. There is simply very little chance that Republican Senators would defect in those numbers to convict and remove the President. If it got so bad politically that they needed him out, there’s a better chance of Trump not running again, and announcing so they can pretend that’s adequate. Again though, given the dynamics with Republican primary voters, they aren’t going to vote to convict him.

What i’m saying is that short of some scenario where GOP Congressional members are super embarrassed by Donald Trump, and think they are going to lose over it, there is a less than zero chance that he is impeached. I’m not even sure what would embarrass them that badly? We already have heard more than enough evidence to suggest that Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia, and that his National Security Adviser did too. We know he violated the emoluments clause. They stuck by him through an election season where he repeatedly embarrassed them, but it didn’t cost them. This is a group that stuck together on virtually everything for the last eight years against President Obama, even when he was popular. I can’t see a scenario where Republican members of Congress would turn on Donald Trump now.

Donald Trump is probably going to occupy the White House for at least four years. The reason is that Republican voters don’t care about any of this. When Trump said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and no one would care, he was right. Republican voters don’t care if Trump’s Administration breaks laws. Since those voters don’t care, neither do Republican lawmakers. If Republican lawmakers have no incentive to remove Trump, then you can let go of that idea now. I’m hard-pressed to figure out what would make them change their thinking.