Seemingly before we had even paused for breath in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s victory in last year’s Presidential Election, those who possessed little faith in the former businessman’s ability to effectively carry out the duties of the president were already taking bets on when he would be impeached.
Following a campaign during which bombast of personality and combative rhetoric deeply divided the country, many feared the consequences of the Trump administration. Those optimistic few who had hoped that the bluster and vitriol that made up several of Trump’s key campaign trail soundbites would be tempered into more traditional Republican policies once he assumed the Presidency were destined to disappointment.
Practically before he had straightened his tie in the Oval Office, President Trump brought into order a travel ban on several countries from entering the United States (a move that was later blocked in court following furious protests) and has lurched from inadvisable comment to troubling allegation ever since.
In recent weeks, the quiet murmurings of impeachment have swiftly evolved into something akin to a noisy clamour; events have conspired against the president – though it seems fair to cast him as a co-conspirator in his own demise – starting with his sacking of former FBI Director James Comey.
The move appears to have set in motion the wheels of – what remains at present – a slow chug toward impeachment. For all the bluster, though, is impeachment truly just around the river bend, and how long would it take to come about?
While it was surely the president’s sacking of James Comey that encouraged the rumblings of impending impeachment, it is the allegations of his purported passing of sensitive information to Russian officials at a recent meeting that has made such a notion a non-fantastical reality. It is thought that the move could have endangered the original source of the intel; indeed, the information was considered to be so sensitive that it had not even been shared with close US partners.
The consensus among Democrats – and following yesterday’s news on Rep. Justin Amash’s position – appears to be that if the contents of a memo purportedly written by the former FBI Director James Comey are verifiably correct and true, then the motions of impeachment will begin to move with a devastating pace.
If impeachment becomes a reality, though, how long would the process take, culminating in a new President taking his seat in the Oval Office? Based on the most recent occurrence – indeed the only time it has happened in recent memory – the process would have the potential to be concluded in just three months; that is roughly how long the undertaking of Bill Clinton’s impeachment took.
Even if President Trump is, in fact, impeached though, that would by no means guarantee that he would be vacating the office of the Presidency. The only other examples of impeachment we have in history, Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson, retained their position as the President following impeachment; a two thirds majority in the Senate is required to remove a President from the White House.
Legal experts are divided as to whether Donald Trump’s latest set of blunders merit impeachment, largely due to the constitution’s vague definition of the circumstances under which the action can be taken. One can’t help but feel that, should the wheels of impeachment begin to turn in earnest, it would prove the perfectly tempestuous ending to a wild presidency that has defied convention – and logic – at nearly every turn.