June 19, 2018 Opinion , OPINION/NEWS , United States

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Tom Arms



Donald Trump has finally been charged with a crime. In fact, almost his entire family has been charged.


New York’s attorney general Barbara Underwood is suing the Trump Foundation, as well as Donald Trump and his children, alleging “extensive and persistent” lawbreaking.


Ms Underwood claimed that the charitable foundation had engaged in “unlawful political co-ordination” designed to influence the 2016 election.


Unsurprisingly, the combative Mr Trump has denied the charges which he says are part of a “politically motivated” witch hunt on the part of the “sleazy” New York democrats.


But the question is, if the state of New York wins the suit, does this mean there are grounds for the impeachment of Donald Trump? The answer is—in theory, yes.


Article Two of the United States Constitution states in Section 4 that “The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanours.”


High crimes and misdemeanours covers allegations of misconduct peculiar to officials, such as perjury of oath, abuse of authority, bribery, intimidation, misuse of assets, failure to supervise, dereliction of duty, unbecoming conduct, and refusal to obey a lawful order.


The New York lawsuit certainly involves “misuse of assets.” It may also involve “dereliction of duty.” But then it could be argued that Trump is already guilty of “unbecoming conduct”, “abuse of authority” and “intimidation.” So why is he still in the White House?


Because impeachment is as much a political process as a legal one. There has to be a political will to impeach as well as legal grounds to carry it through.


In fact, impeachment itself cannot remove a president from the White House. It only establishes the legal basis for a trial. Bill Clinton was impeached, but he stayed in office.


Impeachment proceedings are handled by the lower house of Congress – the House of Representatives. The process is meant to establish that there is a prima facie case for a criminal trial. If the House of Representatives votes to impeach by a simple majority, then the president is put on trial in the Senate complete with defence and prosecuting attorneys. The constitution requires a two-thirds majority of the Senate to convict the president and remove him from office.


At the moment there is a Republican majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Many Republican members of Congress dislike – even hate—Trump. They consider him an acute embarrassment at best and a danger to the nation and world at worst. But 87 percent of grassroots Republicans support him and 44 percent of the general population. Congressional Republicans oppose Trump at their own peril.


The best chance of removing Donald Trump from office is the midterm elections in November. All of the seats in the House of Representatives are up for re-election and one-third of the Senate seats. The Democrats have been climbing in the polls and winning by-elections. There is a good chance that they will win control of the lower house. The Senate is a different story. Many of the seats up for re-election are in states where Trump did well in 2016. The Democrats may win a majority, but a two-thirds majority is a big ask.


So, impeachment is a possibility after November, but conviction and removal from office is unlikely.





Tom Arms

I am a journalist, entrepreneur and historian with extensive experience in print, web and broadcast journalism. I started as a diplomatic correspondent, wrote several books (The Falklands Crisis, World Elections On File and the Encyclopedia of the Cold War), and then in 1987 started my own business (Future Events News Service, which over 25 years established itself as the world and UK media’s diary. Our strapline was: “We set the world’s news agenda.” I sold FENS in December 2012 but retained the exclusive broadcast rights to all of FENS data. To exploit these rights I set up LookAhead TV which produces unique programmes which “Broadcasts Tomorrow Today” so that viewers can “Plan to Participate.” LookAhead has appeared regularly on Vox Africa, Radio Tatras International, The Conversation and Voice of Africa Radio.

In addition to being a syndicated broadcaster and columnist on global affairs, Tom is also available for speaking engagements and can be contacted on TwitterLinkedin and email[email protected].

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1 Comment

  1. Mark Kodama June 19, at 22:16

    Very informative. I disagree about eventual conviction by the Senate. A lot will turn on what the Mueller report says. We have to wait until the election results and Mueller's findings.


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