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There are three legal ways of getting rid of Trump as president:

deposing trump
  • Impeachment
  • Conviction of a crime
  • Embarassment

Impeachment would be very nice, but unless the Democrats win more than a solid majority in Congress, that strategy winning is highly unlikely. The present House is unlikely to vote to impeach and the present Senate is unlikely to convict.

Impeachment would be very nice, but unless the Democrats win more than a solid majority in Congress, that strategy winning is highly unlikely. The present House is unlikely to vote to impeach and the present Senate is unlikely to convict.

Conviction of a crime, with prosecution by Robert Mueller, is still the best bet. Of course, Trump has a few ways out of that. One is getting rid of Mueller. The other is the power of pardon.

The question of whether Trump could pardon himself is contentious. Some say it’s possibleothers say no.

However, there’s one maneuver which would permit Trump to be pardoned and still remain as president. He could be pushed aside under the 25th Amendment, which would give Mike Pence all the presidential powers. Pence could pardon Trump and then Trump could be readmitted to office.

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Nothing in the 25th Amendment says that a President removed under that law loses his right to office permanently. Section 3 of the amendment says: “Whenever the President transmits to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives his written declaration that he is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, and until he transmits to them a written declaration to the contrary, such powers and duties shall be discharged by the Vice President as Acting President.” In other words, Trump can remove himself through his own declaration and restore himself to office through a later declaration. In the meantime, Pence can pardon him.

But there’s a glitch in the pardoning power. “The downside for Trump is that his presidential pardon power does not extend to state crimes.” So if Mueller joins (for example) with the New York attorney general, the latter might prosecute Trump under an applicable state law. A conviction would not be pardonable under federal law (although it could be done under applicable state law).

This strategy might also work if Trump decides to pardon Flynn and Manafort to undercut Mueller’s use of either or both as witnesses against Trump. Trump is already threatening to use the pardon power in this way.

Is there a way out of this complicated mess? There are other lawsuits proceeding against Trump, such as the emoluments lawsuit. Personally, though, I think our nation’s best hope is from Stormy Daniels, Karen McDougal and Summer Zervos. These three women have separate lawsuits against Trump. Their stories involve a “2011 polygraph, a lawsuit filed and a lawsuit allowed to go forward in three distinct storylines tying the President to, alternately, the porn star Stormy Daniels and the Playboy model Karen McDougal, both of whom have said they had affairs with the President and both of whom are now trying to wriggle out of six-figure hush money agreements, and the "Apprentice" contestant Summer Zervos, who says Trump sexually harassed her and who is now suing him for defamation.”

Any and all of them can subpoena Trump to a deposition and potentially ask Trump about all sorts of embarrassing facts, including ones which might involve criminal acts. For example, Common Cause has filed complaints with the Department of Justice and the Federal Elections Commission, arguing that paying hush money to Stormy Daniels “violated multiple laws in funneling money to Daniels in hopes of buying her silence.” Of course, Trump may try to settle these cases to avoid being deposed.

Trump has often bragged that he doesn’t settle cases, but he recently settled the Trump University fraud case. So he may very well try to get the three women out of his hair before he has to testify. We can only hope that one of them, at least, will insist on deposing him and then make the transcript public before even discussing a settlement. Forcing Trump to testify may be the best way, a la Bill Clinton, of getting damaging testimony from him – not to mention embarrassing him.

michael hertz

Stormy Daniels’ attorney has just filed a motion to depose Donald Trump. We’re about to see what will happen.

Michael Hertz

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