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In Part I of this saga, I analyzed the closest Presidency to what is unfolding now, that of Andrew Johnson from 1865-1869. Johnson was impeached by the Radical Republicans in the House, but fell one vote short of being convicted by the Senate and removed from office. He served out his full term (after succeeding to the office following the assassination of Abraham Lincoln in April, 1865), but was not chosen by the Republicans to be their candidate in the 1868 election. They turned to General Ulysses S. Grant, who went on to serve two terms as President.

Impeaching Donald

Important to note is that ten Republican Senators voted against Johnson's conviction, and none of them were ever elected to office again. They were hounded out of the Republican Party. These are the historical facts (not fake facts) that face the Members of Congress as they try to decide whether to seek the removal of Trump from office in 2019. If they decide wrong, their political careers will be finished.

Here is how it could play out: the House votes on Articles of Impeachment, most likely after Mueller issues his report to Congress, the House finishes its multitude of investigations of the Trump 2016 campaign and Administration, and the U.S. Attorney's Office in New York City finishes its work. At that point, a vote is taken in the House, and all that is needed is a majority vote to impeach, which is certain to happen with the 17 seat majority of Democrats in the House.

Once Trump is impeached, the House Judiciary Committee members who formulated the Articles of Impeachment in the House will act as prosecutors in the Senate, which hears the case before the Constitutionally-mandated Presiding Officer, the Chief Justice of the United States, John Roberts. As in the Clinton impeachment, evidence and arguments are presented to the 100 sitting Senators, at the conclusion of which they will vote on each Article of Impeachment, to determine if "Treason, Bribery or High Crimes and Misdemeanors" are found.

Importantly, a two-thirds vote of the 100 Senators is required to convict, or 67 Senators. At present, there are 45 Democrats and 2 Independents voting with them in the Senate, so if all 47 vote to convict, at least 20 of the 53 Republican Senators must join them for Trump to be removed from office. Without overwhelming evidence of Trump's unfitness for office, this will not happen.

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Criminal misconduct is not required to be found, although that would likely be an element of a "Bribery" conviction. "Treason" is a legal term that some believe only can take place during a declared war (which does not exist now), even though there may be evidence that Trump sold out his country to the Russians in order to get elected. That leaves the amorphous term "High Crimes and Misdemeanors", which means whatever the Senators want it to be. It may boil down to "I can't define it, but I know it when I see it". Or it may merely mean "If I vote to remove Trump, I won't be reelected [or I will be reelected]." 22 Republicans and 11 Democrats are up for reelection in the Senate in 2020.

If he does leave office, he would be succeeded by Wimpy VP Mike Pence, who almost certainly would not be nominated to be President on his own at the 2020 Republican Convention.

If the Senate votes to convict, Trump would be removed from office (unless he decides to refuse to leave office, and seizes control of the government with the help of the military). If he does leave office, he would be succeeded by Wimpy VP Mike Pence, who almost certainly would not be nominated to be President on his own at the 2020 Republican Convention. However, if Pence is also forced to leave office as a result of the Mueller investigation and the Articles of Impeachment that would follow, Speaker Nancy Pelosi would become President. Such a result would cause the Trump "Deplorables" base to foam at the mouth, and could lead to another Civil War, since the Trumpsters would not accept this outcome.

Richard Nixon decided to resign as President when four key Republican Senators, including Barry Goldwater, met with him in early August, 1974. Goldwater told Nixon that he had the support of only four or so Republican Senators, and "I am not one of them". The same thing could happen to Trump if Mueller presents damning evidence of collusion and obstruction of justice, as well as Trump's extensive Russian money laundering and naked violations of the Emoluments Clause. Trump's buddy Sen. Lindsay Graham could play the Goldwater role.

Trump's "Art of the Deal" instincts could kick in at this point, and he could think something like this: "I never thought I would win when I declared for President; I won, and have served nearly three years in office, and have accomplished so much that I can leave office now as the most successful President in U. S. history, and return to my business as head of the Trump Organization." Of course for this to happen, he would have to be pardoned by his successor, his businesses could not be torn apart by the IRS and the New York AG's office, and his children must also be absolved or any crimes.

Trump could suddenly discover in his early 70s that he has a serious health problem, perhaps the Alzheimer's that afflicted his father, or serious bone spurs (dormant for all these years), or even advanced stage syphilis. He could resign from office, turn his businesses over to his children permanently, and play golf on his many courses for the rest of his life, surrounded by his adoring friends at Mar-A-Lago.

ted vaill

Ted Vaill