Could Donald Trump be impeached immediately after taking office?
A handful of groups are trying to make that happen.
As he takes office amid a host of scandals including unresolved business conflicts and emerging allegations of collusion with the Russian government, Donald Trump is already facing efforts to strip him from power. Two civil rights groups have launched efforts to get Trump impeached, and their website went live the moment Donald Trump was sworn in on Friday.
The site, www.ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org, is run by the groups Free Speech for People and RootsAction. Together, the groups believe that Donald Trump’s unresolved business conflicts should result in his impeachment.
“The nation is now witnessing a massive corruption of the presidency, far worse than Watergate,” the campaign’s website says, via the Washington Post. “From the moment he assumed the office, President Donald Trump has been in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution. The President is not above the law. We will not allow President Trump to profit from the presidency at the expense of our democracy.”
— Colin MacKay (@coljmackay) January 21, 2017
Many of the other efforts to impeach Donald Trump hinge on his conflicts of interest. Public policy experts have criticized Trump for what are seen as lackluster efforts to divest himself from his many business interests. Trump has vowed to back away from his companies and let his adult children take over, but critics say this falls far short of the efforts other presidents have taken to eliminate potential conflicts.
Here’s how Trump may have already set up his impeachment https://t.co/Ckn3lSFvAO
— Keep2020Alive (@Keep2020Alive) January 20, 2017
And there may be evidence that Donald Trump is still in charge of his companies. ProPublica reported that Trump has not yet relinquished control of the companies by Inauguration Day.
“To transfer ownership of his biggest companies, Trump has to file a long list of documents in Florida, Delaware and New York. We asked officials in each of those states whether they have received the paperwork. As of 3:15 p.m. today, the officials said they have not.
“Trump and his associates ‘are not doing what they said they would do,’ said Richard Painter, the chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush. ‘And even that was completely inadequate.'”
The American Civil Liberties Union has also joined the fray. On Friday, the group filed legal action to obtain documents related to potential conflicts of interest. The agency had already outlined a plan to challenge President Trump, and has filed Freedom of Information Act requests for documents related to Trump’s potential conflicts of interest. It’s unclear what that could yield or how long the request might take to complete.
Though there are many motivated parties, the likelihood of impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump appear to be small. Time noted that historically, efforts to bring impeachment charges have failed more often than not.
“The U.S. Constitution states that the President and all ‘civil officers’ should be impeached for ‘treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.’ However, government historians say while the House has initiated impeachment proceedings more than 60 times, less than a third resulted in impeachments.”
And any plans to impeach Donald Trump would hinge on Congress being motivated to bring charges, and that seems unlikely at the moment. Republicans control both the House and Senate, and so far there is no motivation among them to bring charges against Trump. But if Trump’s popularity continues to sink and congressional Republicans begin to see him as a liability, their willingness to bring impeachment charges and face the possibility of a Mike Pence presidency could increase greatly.
[Featured Image by Scott Olson/Getty Images]