Will Donald Trump end up being impeached when he becomes president in January?
A question that seemed unlikely a week ago given the polls showing Trump far behind Hillary Clinton instead went viral in the early morning hours on Wednesday, when Donald Trump was officially declared the winner of the 2016 presidential election and a worried public turned to the internet to see what might happen to the many scandals still surrounding the GOP president-elect.
Searches for “Donald Trump impeachment” and “how to impeach a president” soared as it became clear that Donald Trump would win, Metro reported. The searches about a possible Donald Trump impeachment were highest in the most left-leaning states, the report noted.
“In fact, the question has seen a monumental 4,850% rise in searches,” Metro reported about the “how to impeach a president” Google searches. “According to Google Trends data, the top five states frantically looking up impeachment were Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, and Colorado.”
Google searches for ‘how to impeach a president’ have gone up by almost 5,000% https://t.co/tJrk8cLfW9
— Metro (@MetroUK) November 9, 2016
Many people took to the internet, posting on Twitter — jokingly or otherwise — about the idea that Trump might be impeached as soon as he takes office, a move that would block his promises to build a wall at the Mexican border and stop Muslim immigration.
However, somewhat ironically, just a week before Election Day it was Republicans raising the idea of impeaching Hillary Clinton should she be elected and Barack Obama blasting the proposal.
— CNN (@CNN) November 6, 2016
The question of whether Donald Trump could face impeachment has actually been floating around for several months, even before he wrapped up the Republican nomination. As Politico noted back in April, there were many on both sides of the aisle who believed that Trump’s promise to build a wall along the Mexican border could lead to his impeachment.
“From the right, Washington attorney Bruce Fein puts the odds at 50/50 that a President Trump commits impeachable offenses as president. Liberal Florida Rep. Alan Grayson says Trump’s insistence on building a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, if concrete was poured despite Congress’s opposition, could lead down a path toward impeachment. Even the mainstream Republican head of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce recently tossed out the I-word when discussing the civilian backlash if Trump’s trade war with China led to higher prices on everyday items sold at WalMart and Target.”
There were also some rumors that the Republican Party could be the one leading impeachment against Donald Trump as part of a shadowy plan to install Mike Pence as president. Jonathan Ashbach of the Federalist outlined how this could work, saying it would not be hard for a motivated Republican Party to find a reason to impeach Donald Trump.
“Of course, impeachment requires a charge. The president must be guilty of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ But the phrase is understood to be quite broad in its application, and ultimately Congress is in practice the final judge of its meaning,” he wrote. “If Trump is half as corrupt as we have been told, surely some charge could be made to stick—especially if the recent allegations of sexual assault prove to be more than empty propaganda.”
Ashbach even called on conservative voters to help put into motion what he called an “elect and impeach” plan that would put Mike Pence in the White House instead of Donald Trump.
And Ashbach is not the only person on the right side of the aisle who has raised the idea of impeachment. Bruce Fein, who worked in the Justice Department under Ronald Reagan and worked on Bill Clinton’s impeachment effort, said be believes that Trump has already raised “impeachable offenses” in his divisive campaign rhetoric.
“He’s certainly said things, which if followed through on, would constitute high crimes and misdemeanors,” Eugene Fidell, a Yale Law School lecturer and military justice expert, told Politico.
But others have noted that any plot to impeach Donald Trump is unlikely, especially with a Republican-controlled Congress. Romper writer Jen McGuire was one of those voices shooting down impeachment rumors, noting that disappointed Democrats and even Republicans will do best just to “accept our new reality.”
[Featured Image by Alex Wong/Getty Images]