Donald Trump impeachment proceedings might have seemed unlikely with the Republicans in control of both houses of Congress. But the spiraling and never-ending series of scandals related to the Trump administration’s ties to Russia could be increasing the chances of a Trump impeachment – despite the best efforts of the Republicans in Congress to avoid it.
Russia and Trump
Impeachment within the first 100 days of a presidency would, perhaps, be the most astonishing political event in U.S. history. The only shorter presidency would be when William Henry Harrison died 30 days after the 1841 inauguration. Certainly, this probably wasn’t what the Republicans were imagining when they unexpectedly defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
But as it turned out, that unexpected result may be the very thing that leads to a Trump impeachment. As reported by CNN, multiple U.S. intelligence agencies – including the FBI – have acknowledged publicly that Russia and Vladimir Putin carried out a clear and concentrated operation designed to impact the outcome of the 2016 election. In this effort, they apparently succeeded.
The FBI Drops a Bomb
As reported by the Associated Press, the talk of a potential Trump impeachment got a big boost recently when FBI Director James Comey – testifying before a committee on Capitol Hill – flatly stated that the FBI was investigating ties between the Donald Trump administration and Russia. This is particularly ironic, given that, when speaking about Hillary Clinton, the Trump campaign during 2016 suggested that no candidate under investigation by the FBI should be running for president.
As countless news sources have reported over the last few months, these potential Russia ties to the Trump campaign team allegedly included the aforementioned coordinated efforts to sabotage the Hillary Clinton campaign and to boost the chances that Donald Trump would end up in the Oval Office.
Nunes and Trump
Impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon almost resulted in a trial in the Senate, but this was narrowly avoided through the expedient of him resigning from office – and then being pardoned by Gerald Ford. But the ironic thing about the Nixon situation is that it wasn’t the crime itself that necessarily caused his downfall; it was the cover-up.
Apparently, Republican Congressman Devin Nunes hasn’t yet learned this lesson of history. Nunes, who was an important part of the Trump transition team, is now chairman of the Congressional committee supposedly investigating any potential ties between Donald Trump and Russia. But Nunes has thrown any pretense of impartiality out the window.
This started with Nunes claiming that he had information, from a secret source, confirming that U.S. intelligence agencies had inadvertently spied on Trump campaign staff and transition team members. It later turned out that this information was obtained at the White House itself – or at least a building on the grounds.
More recently, Nunes has actually canceled several public and closed hearings in which a number of witnesses – including FBI Director Comey and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates – were to testify about the Trump/Russia situation. Virtually all Democrats, and many in the news media, suspect this of being the kind of cover-up behavior that could easily lead to a Trump impeachment.
Resignation of Michael Flynn
Trump impeachment talk began even before he was inaugurated, but it really gained momentum with the scandal surrounding Michael Flynn. The revelation that the newly installed National Security Advisor had carried out negotiations with the Russians regarding removing U.S. sanctions placed on Russia for its actions in Ukraine and the Crimea ultimately led to Flynn’s resignation.
But now, Flynn has floated the idea to investigators that he would be willing to testify – presumably spilling all he knows about Trump administration involvement with the Russians – in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Currently, the people in charge of the investigating committees don’t seem too interested in this offer, but that could change.
All of the above issues, and many other facets of the Trump/Russia situation, represent possible failure points in the defense that Donald Trump and his staff are trying to present against the ever widening scandal. If any one of these issues were to turn out badly for the administration, a Trump impeachment would become a definite possibility.
[Featured Image by Tom Pennington/Getty Images]