The odds are definitely not in Donald Trump’s favor. The former Apprentice host may be just a little over one month into his presidency, but oddsmakers are already having a field day placing bets on whether — and when — the real estate mogul will be impeached.
Back when Trump, 70, was named president-elect in November, online betting site Ladbrokes placed the odds of him not making it through his full four-year term at 3 to 1. But in the last three chaotic weeks, those odds have shortened to just 10 to 11, or about a 52 percent chance of happening.
“Trump says he’ll get the job done, but the money suggest otherwise, and punters aren’t entirely convinced the next four years will be plain sailing, and he could be out of the White House via impeachment or resignation sooner rather than later,” Jessica Bridge, a spokeswoman for Ladbrokes, told the UK’s Independent.
In order for Trump to be impeached, there would need to be a majority vote in the House of Representatives, and the case would then be tried by the Senate, where at least two-thirds of those present need to vote in favor of impeachment for the motion to take action.
Only two U.S. presidents — Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 — have been impeached by the House of Representatives, but both men were later acquitted by the Senate. Former president Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 before the House could vote on his impeachment.
There are a number of reasons Trump may find himself exiting the White House early, chief among them are what some say are his violations of the U.S. Constitution and the conflict of interests brought about by his ties to overseas governments and state-owned companies via his businesses.
Earlier this month, legal scholars James C. Nelson and John Bonifaz penned an editorial for Time magazine pointing out all the specific portions of the Constitution that they say Trump has already violated in his four weeks in office.
“Where Trump runs afoul of the foreign-emoluments clause is that, first and foremost, he is a businessman with significant financial interests and governmental entanglements all over the globe,” the pair wrote. “Moreover, Trump’s business dealings are veiled in complicated corporate technicalities and lack transparency.”
At present, Nelson and Bonifaz say the Trump Organization does or has done business with Argentina, Azerbaijan, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Georgia, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Panama, Philippines, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, St. Martin, St. Vincent, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Uruguay. According to the legal experts, “through his interest in the Trump Organization, [he] will continue to receive monetary and other benefits from foreign powers and their agents.”
The Constitution's impeachment clause, Article II, Section 4, states that a president can be impeached only for “treason, bribery and other high crimes and misdemeanors," and of the three, bribery, according to government ethics experts who spoke to the New York Daily News, seems the most likely potential offense. This is because the emoluments clause states the president cannot "accept any present, emolument, office or title, of any kind whatsoever, from any king, prince or foreign state."
Allan Lichtman, the American University professor who has accurately predicted every presidential election since 1984 — including Trump’s shocking electoral vote win over Hillary Clinton — is even now predicting that Trump will be impeached before the end of his first term.
In his upcoming book, The Case for Impeachment, Lichtman argues that “it is not a question of if President Trump will be impeached, but a question of when.”
Back in September, before the presidential election results, Lichtman told The Washington Post that even Trump’s Republican party doesn’t really want him there. “I’m going to make another prediction,” he told the paper at the time. “This one is not based on a system; it’s just my gut. They don’t want Trump as president, because they can’t control him. He’s unpredictable. They’d love to have Pence — an absolutely down-the-line, conservative, controllable Republican. And I’m quite certain Trump will give someone grounds for impeachment, either by doing something that endangers national security or because it helps his pocketbook.”
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