Donald Trump just can’t catch a break. First, it was Mueller and his Russia investigation. Then, the whole Trump administration got dragged into the Ukraine scandal – exposing a whole lot more than just the president’s dealings with foreign countries. And on top of all that, the Trump family’s real estate business is in the spotlight after it was revealed that some of their companies may have defrauded the government through the USAID housing program, as reported by the New York Times.
All of this makes it seem like impeachment is a real possibility for the 45th president of the United States. While Trump has been trying to distract the American public from the Russia investigation with a steady stream of scandalous headlines, his legal team probably shouldn’t have been so confident that the Mueller report would exonerate their client.
Here’s a breakdown of the odds that Trump will be impeached.
It’s Still Pretty Early
Let’s get one thing straight – it’s still really, really early in the impeachment process. The House of Representatives still has not voted on whether to impeach Trump, and there’s no indication when or if that will happen.
Even if the House votes to impeach Trump, that doesn’t mean the process is over. Once the House impeaches the president, the matter goes to the Senate, which would then have to vote to convict Trump and remove him from office. That process can take a lot of time, and in the meantime, the damage to Trump’s reputation – and the presidency – would be significant.
The House Is Currently Unanimous
In the first impeachment inquiry back in October, House Democrats received a complaint from a whistleblower who expressed concern that the president was abusing his office by pressuring Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter. The complaint was largely based on phone records and testimony from current and former US officials, as reported by the Washington Post.
Immediately, Democrats launched an investigation and announced their intention to impeach Trump if they found sufficient cause. Since then, they have received additional whistleblower complaints about the president’s interactions with Ukraine and China, as well as a mountain of evidence to support the initial complaint. While the House is still in deliberations over whether to impeach Trump, it’s safe to assume they agree the country needs to be protected from the president’s misdeeds.
Mueller’s Report Won’t Help
On the legal front, Mueller’s report did not find sufficient evidence to charge Trump with obstruction of justice, as the New York Times previously reported. While that’s good news for the president, it probably won’t help him at the polls. Since the report was made public, Trump’s approval rating has dropped by double digits, as revealed by various public polls. The Mueller report certainly didn’t help Trump’s cause.
What About The Ukraine Scandal?
In the meantime, the Ukraine scandal won’t go away. The New York Times revealed on Monday that Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani is being investigated for allegedly orchestrating a corrupt scheme to get Hillary Clinton’s emails and help Ukraine fight Russia. In a separate investigation, Giuliani is also being looked into for potential money laundering. Though Trump has claimed the investigation is a “witch hunt,” the truth is that US Attorney for Manhattan Geoffrey Berman said his office is in the “fact finding” phase and “I can’t comment on any ongoing investigation.”
Meanwhile, a whistleblower came forward to testify before the House Intelligence Committee about concerns the Trump administration may have withheld military aid from Ukraine in an effort to pressure the country’s president to help investigate Hunter Biden. The White House has denied these allegations, and on Wednesday, Trump said he was “never involved” in such discussions with foreign leaders. Still, as the Times notes, Trump’s actions “contradicted the explicit instruction of his own administration’s top lawyers.”
On the surface, it would seem that all of this would stack up against Trump. After all, how can you avoid getting caught in a scandal when the whole country seems to know about it? Though it’s still early in the impeachment process, there are enough scandals to suggest that the House may not be able to ignore the evidence of wrongdoing.
Odds of Impeachment
After taking into consideration all the factors discussed above, it’s clear that Trump’s odds of impeachment are significantly higher than most people think. While it’s still early in the impeachment process, House Democrats have already drafted Articles of Impeachment, which would undoubtedly be introduced should the inquiry move forward.
According to an analysis from FiveThirtyEight, based on the available evidence, more than half of the Senate would have to vote to convict Trump in order for him to be removed from office. The odds of that happening are slightly greater than even. In fact, the only way Trump remains in office is if a majority of the senators choose to abstain from voting. In other words, as bad as things might seem right now, there is still a chance Trump might be able to salvage some good from this whole ordeal.
Still, it’s clear that Trump’s luck hasn’t been the same ever since he took office. Between the Mueller report, the Ukraine scandal, and the fact that he’s seemingly thrown a wrench in the American political system, it’s fair to say that not even the president knows what’s next. Though it’s still early in the impeachment process, it’s clear that Donald Trump’s presidency will be defined by scandals – and there’s still a chance he could be removed from office.