We’ve officially arrived at a Constitutional paradox. America and Donald Trump are now at such a unique impasse with each other that there are no possible solutions – and yet this impasse will end up resolving itself somehow. That means, one way or another, we’re going to end up with a solution that we had all believed to be impossible. So the question is this: are we ready to make a deal?
Sure, there’s the 25th Amendment. But those in a position to invoke it seem wholly uninterested in doing so. And sure, there’s an impeachment process. But it may not kick in until after the Democrats win the midterms a year and a half from now. This impasse between America and Donald Trump is unlikely to last that long, because neither America nor Trump is holding up well enough under the pressure to keep holding out.
In the mean time, here’s the paradox we face. Donald Trump has now been all but confirmed to have committed treason in the name of conspiring with a foreign enemy to rig the election in his favor, and we all know that confirmation is coming soon. Based on the mounting evidence against him, the Constitution dictates that Trump be arrested and tried in a court of law. But because Trump’s crime was stealing the office of President of the United States, and he now occupies that office, the Constitution also dictates that he not be arrested or tried in a court of law. So now we start looking at those seemingly impossible solutions to get ourselves out of this.
What if Donald Trump wakes up tomorrow and decides it’s time to declare bankruptcy on his failed presidency, like he does with his failed businesses? What if he offers to resign in exchange for neither he nor his family facing any prison time? Who knows if America is ready to make that deal with him. But even more oddly, it’s not even clear how such a deal could work. The deal could be that Mike Pence steps in and pardons the whole lot of them. But the president can’t pardon anyone for state level crimes. Would the Attorney General of New York be willing to agree to stop pursuing Trump for financial crimes in exchange for him resigning? Is such a deal even allowable under our system of government?
And what happens when the media starts seriously digging into the role that newly sworn in “President Mike Pence” played in the Russia scandal, only to find that he too must be ousted. Then we’re right back in the treason paradox with the new guy. This is what I mean by getting into those impossible solutions, where America ends up saying to hell with it and settling on some kind of one-time arrangement that gets Trump to walk out the door voluntarily so he can go live out his day in Moscow, just so we can get back to being a democracy again.
In other words, are we willing to cut an impossible deal with the devil named Donald Trump, just to get him to go away? We’d better figure out that answer. Because every time he’s gotten into a position where he knows he’s going to lose, he looks to cut his losses with a deal and slip out the back door. It’s a matter of time before Trump wakes up one of these days and begins tweeting about how he might be willing to resign if the “fake news investigations” into him and his family are brought to an end. And what will we, as a country, do then?
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report