Donald Trump Will Leave Office In 2019 To Avoid Criminal Charges, Says Former Bush Adviser Alan J. Steinberg

Steinberg posits that Trump won't be impeached and removed from office, but will take a deal that spares him criminal charges if he resigns.

Donald Trump against a black background.
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Steinberg posits that Trump won't be impeached and removed from office, but will take a deal that spares him criminal charges if he resigns.

Donald Trump will not be impeached and removed from office in 2019, but will instead leave “voluntarily” in order to avoid criminal charges, says former George W. Bush adviser Alan J. Steinberg.

In an op-ed piece in the Newark Star-Ledger, Steinberg predicts that the “self-professed supreme dealmaker” will finagle his way out of criminal charges — not only against himself but against his children — by resigning from office.

“[Trump] will use his presidency as a bargaining chip with federal and state authorities in 2019, agreeing to leave office in exchange for the relevant authorities not pursuing criminal charges against him, his children or the Trump Organization.”

Trump’s adult children are directly connected to a lawsuit that may yet result in criminal charges. As Yahoo News reported in December, Trump agreed to shut down his embattled charity, the Trump Foundation, after New York investigators claimed to have found a “shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation –- including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more.” Trump’s adult sons, Donald Jr. and Eric, and his daughter, Ivanka, had served on the board of directors of the foundation. The deal that shut down the charity also forbids the three from serving on the boards of any other New York charities.

It’s not just pending criminal charges against his kids that will doom the Trump presidency in 2019, opines Steinberg. He’ll also be done in by a predicted forthcoming recession, and by his “abysmal” poll numbers.

That’s not to suggest that Trump will be spared the embarrassing process of impeachment. It’s just that the realities of the process are stacked in favor of him not being subsequently removed from office.

The Constitution lays out a two-part process in impeaching and removing a president from office. The first part is impeachment proper — a simple majority vote in the House of Representatives results in the president being impeached. It’s happened twice in U.S. history — to Andrew Johnson in 1868, and to Bill Clinton in 1998. The second part is removal from office, which only takes place after a trial in the Senate, and such an act requires a two-thirds majority vote. This outcome has never happened in U.S. history.

Steinberg predicts that the House will impeach Trump. Once the new Congress convenes this week, Democrats will control the House of Representatives. Steinberg predicts that the House will comfortably vote to impeach.

However, over in the Senate, Trump is likely safe. Republicans still control the Senate, and for a vote to remove from office to be successful, every Democrat and 20 Republicans would have to vote in favor of removing Trump from office. That’s not going to happen, says Steinberg — in no small part because any Republican who votes to remove Trump from office could face push-back from his constituency back home.

In the end, Steinberg predicts that Trump will resign. Steinberg’s scenario sees Trump preemptively pardoned by the new president, Mike Pence — and in return, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and the New York State Attorney General, won’t file any criminal charges against Trump, his children, or any entities associated with him.