Donald Trump’s impeachment odds took a sharp rise this week after the president’s controversial summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin and a press conference in which Trump sided with Putin on the subject of American election interference, against his own intelligence agencies.
Trump was roundly criticized for the summit, which took place just days after Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation turned in 12 indictments against Russian military officers for hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign, stealing emails that were then leaked to the internet in an effort to help Trump win the election. Even Trump’s attempt to walk back some of the comments did little to quell the uproar, and as The Hill noted, the incident is also raising the stakes that Trump could face impeachment.
As the report noted, the bookmaker Paddy Power had the odds of Donald Trump being impeached at 8-to-1 before the summit, and it shot up to 2-to-1 this week.
“After the carnage of the last few days, we’ve seen plenty of punters Putin money on Trump’s impeachment again — although I’m sure they’ll soon get a message, in Russian, urging them to stop,” a Paddy Power spokesman told Yahoo News.
There are already a number of politicians openly raising the idea of impeaching Donald Trump. Beto O’Rourke, a Texas Democrat running against Republican Ted Cruz for the U.S. Senate, said this week that Trump’s public support of Putin warrants his impeachment.
“Standing on stage in another country with the leader of another country who wants to and has sought to undermine this country, and to side with him over the United States – if I were asked to vote on this I would vote to impeach the president,” O’Rourke said (via the Dallas Morning-News).
There are others pushing back against the idea of impeaching Donald Trump — at least at this time. Democrat Eric Swalwell, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, said it is premature to be discussing impeachment charges against Trump, saying they should only move forward if they have “impenetrable evidence” against the president.
Like Swalwell, Democratic leadership in both the House and Senate have tried to tamp down calls for Donald Trump’s impeachment and most Democratic candidates have shied away from using it as a campaign issue in the 2018 national election. Many political experts have noted that they would have only one real chance at impeaching Trump, leading most to wait for the results of the Russia investigation before deciding whether to move forward.