April 23, 2017

Mariano: What happens if Trump gets impeached?

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President Trump

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[YOUR TURN: What are your thoughts on the possible impeachment of President Trump? Vote in our poll at the end of Ray’s column or join the discussion on Facebook.]

Ray Mariano

With all of the serious and sometimes frightening things happening in Washington, D.C., it is hard to focus on what really matters. That is because President Trump’s behavior varies between boorish and mentally ill. We seem transfixed by his daily antics.

Many people want him out regardless of the consequences. We count the days that he has been in office as if they will soon end.

And we have people literally cheering for impeachment. Public Policy Polling recently released data showing that 44 percent of registered voters favor impeachment. Among the many anti-Trump websites, “Impeach Trump” already has about 1 million followers.

What are the chances that Trump will be impeached?

In my opinion, Donald Trump is a terrible president, a national embarrassment and an international laughingstock. But should he be impeached?

Keep in mind that impeachment must start in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Among the primary reasons cited as possible grounds for impeachment are:

1.) Violation of the Emoluments clause of the Constitution, Article 1, Section 9. This might include accepting payments from foreign governments at Trump hotels. The violation of this clause could also include China’s recent approval of 38 Trump trademarks. It is important to note that before he became president, over the past decade, Trump was consistently denied these trademark approvals.

2.) Colluding with Russian officials, Article 3, Section 3.  At least one member of the House Intelligence Committee has predicted that people connected to the Trump campaign will go to jail. But no one has cited evidence directly against Trump.

3.) Accusing President Obama of illegally wiretapping him. The President takes an oath to faithfully execute the laws and the Constitution. By accusing the former president of an illegal, impeachable act without any evidence, Trump may have violated his oath.

And then there’s the “What will he do next?” wild card. Who knows what Trump may do next month?

Allan J. Lichtman, a professor at American University, was one of only a very few prognosticators who predicted Trump’s victory in November. Lichtman, known as the “Prediction Professor,” has successfully predicted every presidential election since 1984.

Now Lichtman has made a second prediction: that Trump will be impeached before his time in office ends. And he wrote an entire book on the subject, “The Case for Impeachment.”

In an interview with The Washington Post, Lichtman acknowledged that talk of impeachment might be premature, but said: “Yet, given our new president’s disdain for constitutional checks and balances, the investigations already underway, and the turmoil knifing through this White House, it doesn’t seem entirely unrealistic, either.”

With all due respect to Professor Lichtman, at this point, I would say that it is highly unlikely that a Republican-controlled House of Representatives would vote to impeach Trump. For an impeachment resolution to pass, all 193 Democrats plus 23 Republicans must vote for impeachment.

What would happen if the House tried to impeach Trump?

When Bill Clinton was impeached by the House, many of his supporters were concerned. However, given the gravity of the matter, things remained relatively calm. I remember being at the White House during that time and asking President Clinton about it. He seemed tired, which was understandable. However, he assured me that things would be fine.

If the House ever tried to impeach Trump, it would be very different – there would be chaos. Trump’s approval rating may be historically low, but people who support him are zealous in their defense of the president.

Impeachment proceedings can be brought by a member of the House of Representatives on his or her own initiative, either by presenting a list of charges under oath, or by asking for referral to the appropriate committee, which is generally the Judiciary Committee. The committee would then hold public hearings, call witnesses and gather evidence.

The pressure on members of the Judiciary Committee would likely be unprecedented. Both sides would marshal their forces. There would be public protests. Members of Congress would be confronted by the public every time they stepped out of their offices. I imagine that there would be threats and ugly language and behavior beyond what we have seen thus far.

And I would expect that there would be violence – protesters clashing outside the White House or at some of the town hall meetings that would be held.

If history is any judge, this process would likely take months. During that time, virtually nothing else in Washington would get done.

To date, no member of Congress has pushed the impeachment button, although California congresswoman Maxine Waters said in March, “Get ready for impeachment.”

Also remember that, if the House voted for impeachment, it is then referred to the U.S. Senate for a vote. Two-thirds, or 67 senators, must vote for removal or the resolution will fail. That means that all 48 Democrats and Independents plus 19 Republican senators would need to vote for removal. That is highly unlikely.

So what would happen if Trump was impeached and removed from office?

Think about it. If President Trump becomes citizen Trump or even convict Trump, we then get President Pence. And, to use one of Trump’s favorite phrases, that would really be “a total disaster.”

With a Republican-controlled House and Senate, Pence, who is far more rigidly conservative, would be able to roll back so many of the rights that we have won over the past few decades.

Trump is an opportunist. He is looking for a win, something he can boast about. Trump would work with anyone and support any side of an issue if he thought it would make him look good. In a single day (April 12, 2017), Trump reversed or walked back six different positions he took during the campaign.

Pence is an ideologue. He wants to remove LGBTQ rights, and roll back women’s and workers’ rights. And Pence is experienced enough and dogmatic enough to do it.

As far as being president, Vice President Pence looks the part. He conducts himself like a gentleman. He does not call people names or tweet bizarre accusations. But do not let his look and manner fool you.

If Pence were to become president, he would lead the Republican army on a scorched-earth assault on our rights, our environment and the poor that would make General Grant’s march on Richmond during the Civil War seem like a Sunday stroll.

Pence has opposed marriage equality and equal rights. In 2006, he called being gay “a choice” and said that gay couples signaled “societal collapse.” In 2007, he opposed a law prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ people.

As governor of Indiana, he tried to stop the resettlement of Syrian refugees in his state. And he tried to create his own news bureau to assist in the production of “news stories” that drew comparisons to government-backed news outlets in communist countries.

Pence has also supported legislation to limit a woman’s right to choose and tried to defund Planned Parenthood.

A President Pence would be a national nightmare of such a magnitude that we might never wake up.

What is the best course of action going forward?

Look at it this way. Right now, Trump is fighting with members of his own party. The ongoing Russian investigations and other bizarre behavior have weakened him. His approval rating is in the cellar. On both foreign and domestic policy, some Republicans are starting to break ranks.

For those of us who get up every morning worried that Trump is leading our great nation into a hole so deep it will take years to find our way back out, we need to focus on the issues and causes that will bring us back to sanity.

We need to continue the resistance that began shortly after his Inauguration with the Women’s March and continued through the countless town hall meetings that have occurred over the past few months.

And we need to focus on taking back the Congress in 2018.

While most experts consider it a long shot, if the Democrats took back even one house of Congress, we would be able to halt the assault on our democracy. An erratic and personally offensive President Trump in 2018 is far more desirable to have as an opponent to fire up the troops than a calm, respectable President Pence.

The controversies on the table now guarantee that there will be investigations, hearings and perhaps discussions about possible impeachment for many months to come. Trump’s long history of bizarre behavior guarantees that he will say and do things that will only add fuel to that fire.

Stay tuned.

[socialpoll id=”2160520″ type=”set”]

Raymond V. Mariano is a Worcester Sun columnist. He comments on his hometown every Sunday in Worcester Sun.

18 thoughts on “Mariano: What happens if Trump gets impeached?

  1. you may not like him but he was elected, I did not like Obama but per the Constitution he was elected. Time to put the sour grapes behind and support our country not your ideology

  2. Sorry Mr. Mariano, your narrative is the one item voters do not need rather it should be flushed down the nearest Democratic camode. The past eight years with the sick puppy Obama , have been a complete disaster. America is considered a weakling throughout the world with no backbone,Government is meddled into Every part of a citizen’s life ,your Democratic base wishes to control our minds and living habits.Lets start with political correctness,making our Military a social experiment, encouraging a one sided rhetoric by your Democratic base,less religion freedom, Obama’s politicalization of Education and Supreme Court ,oh by the way how about your teflon Democratic politicians making a mockery out of our law enforcement.
    As a former Worcester kid growing up in Worcester, Lincoln St. area and Coes Pond ,how many neighborhoods can a child walk down its streets safely?
    Trump will make mistakes, we all do in life. He will be corralled by our check and balances system but at least, we the people have now hope,that as a Republic and Democracy,the America I spent twenty years of military service just might put the citizens first,not be dictated by a self serving egotistical socialist Obama.
    Yes ,Mr Mariano, I to graduated from all Worcester Schools and WSU. So Sir,jump on your Democratic ferris wheel and hold on for the ride of your life.This seventy five year old former resident is hoping ,I can be proud of my Country again.
    Oh by the way, I do thank you for your service to the City where I was born long ago.

    • Unlike Trump President Obama is ethical and has a normal family. Trump had a fake university, 3 bimbo wives, at least 4 bankruptcies, has a hatred of immigrants, and refuses to release his tax records. If the so-called wall between us and Mexico is built, the taxpayers will pay for it. .His going to his Florida place is costing taxpayers too much money. Pence would be a lot worse so although I would love to see Trump,impeached, at least Trump is not really a conservative. Trump just goes where the wind blows and doesn’t really care about social views. Pence is anti-choice, anti-gay, and an overall bigot.

      • Where to begin?
        1) Bimbo wives all happen to be self supporting business women.
        2) Many business people start businesses that don’t work out. You cannot (generally) go bankrupt as a community organizer.
        3) He married 2 of the hated immigrants.
        4) If you release your tax records, I will send them to Trump and recommend that he release his tax records.
        5) Building a wall now will save us money forever.
        6) Never a peep over the cost of Obama’s Hawaiian vacations or the safaris to their homelands undertaken by Michele and the kids.

  3. Ray
    You are correct on many points. Trump will not be impeached. Pence appears as a likely successor at the conclusion of a Trump presidency.

    Trump is indeed a practical executive, albeit for the good of the country, not self aggrandizement. And Pence is a principled conservative.

    So speaking as a tea party style conservative, I take comfort in your analysis. The country needs someone focused on fixing the carnage of the last 10 years. After that will be the time to move the country back to its founding principles.

    Trump followed by Pence is a wonderful prospect.

    I am sure that was not your purpose in writing this piece. But I appreciate your analysis.

  4. Mr. Mariano, opinions are like “a…” everyone has one. You and the rest of the dem/ critics need to start doing your jobs and make this government work. If Obama didn’t get impeached no one will.

  5. Congratulations Mr. Marino- you managed to root out some alleged truisms from your loyal readers. I managed to pluck out some:
    *”Time to put our sour grapes behind and support our country not your ideology.”
    *” Fixing the carnage of the last 10 years”
    * “military a social experiment”
    *”citizens first”
    *”proud of my country again”
    *”If Obama didn’t get impeached no one will.”
    Thanks again and please note that the responses to your article were shared in a respectful manner.

  6. As an Independent who did not vote for Trump, I think Democrats are a bigger embarrassment. They have fostered the divisiveness in this country that help get Trump elected through identity politics all done for their own benefit. They criticized Republicans for 8 years for being the party of no and then they hypocritically become the party of no when Trump takes office. The Democrat party has lost the presidency, the House, the Senate, 32 state governorship and 33 state legislatures for a reason. They just spent $8 million trying to get a white guy elected in Georgia without success. Ironic isn’t it, considering how much they’ve criticized white guys and money spent on elections? Quit whining about Trump and start working for the benefit of the American people and not just those in the high population coastal cities and Democrats might see improvement in their election results.

  7. What will happen? Why, YOU will bexome preident, Ray. The first true imbecile Commander in chief of the chief.
    Yoi are small minded and yet you have a massive and oit of control ego. Do us all a favor and shut the fuck up.

  8. I am deeply disappointed at your poor and biased opinion of President Trump. I have read his books throughout the years and see the hard-working, efficient, focused man he is. He is a sober man and a caring and loving father. I have followed his career closely. I admire his accomplishments, his negotiation skills, his resiliency and his plain-spokenness. It has the ring of authenticity and I prefer this to skilled speechmaking filled with lies. Trump loves our veterans, respects the military who serve and wants to see America thrive. The real fault is in those who wish him harm or failure (will not happen, Trump is optimistic). President Trump is working diligently to improve life for all Americans.

  9. Your biased opinion of President Trump is of “the sky is falling, the sky is falling” hysteria as is typical in liberal thinking about anything Trump. I have read all of Trump’s books throughout the years and closely followed his career. Donald J. Trump is hard-working, focused, resilient, sober and efficient. He is a loving father and family man. President Trump loves our veterans, respects our active military and loves this country and wants to see America thrive. President Trump will do all he can for the next four years (and most likely eight) to fix the messes left behind, including ideological, fiscally and foreign policy-wise.

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