When it comes to ousting Donald Trump, impeachment by the House followed by removal by the Senate is just about the slowest possible method. It would require using Trump’s crimes and scandals to gradually grind him into such a pulp, twenty Republican Senators end up convinced that they have to selfishly agree to remove him in order to protect their own political prospects. There are faster methods for ouster, and the House Democrats are now coalescing around one of them.
On Friday night, the U.S. Attorney’s office for SDNY formally accused Donald Trump of two counts of felony cheating in the 2016 election. Are any Senate Republicans going to agree to vote for Trump’s removal based on these two charges alone? No. There are, of course, dozens more felony counts coming against Trump before much longer. But House Democrats are already explaining to Trump that the minute his time as president is over, he’ll be indicted and arrested. So why is this a winning strategy?
On the surface, it sounds counterintuitive. If Donald Trump figures out that he’s going to prison the minute he’s finished as president, wouldn’t that make him less likely to ever resign? The trouble for Trump is that his time as president will end eventually – and the statute of limitations will still be in effect for many of the felony charges he’ll be facing. In other words, he’s going to prison for the rest of his life.
That brings us to what House Democrats are trying to do with this new narrative, which we’re now hearing this weekend from Adam Schiff and others. If they can convince Donald Trump that his life is over the minute his presidency ends, he may conclude that his least bad option is to offer his immediate resignation in exchange for some degree of criminal leniency. Don’t worry, New York state will still put him in prison for life. But he’s probably arrogant enough to think he can beat the state level charges.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report