Some folks are pretty freaked out by James Comey’s firing. Me, not so much. Investigations like the one taking place into Trump-Pence campaign – Russia collusion are major operations that require a lot of time and agents.
If you step back and think about how many people and entities are involved in a presidential campaign, it’s pretty daunting. The FBI has to interview not just all those immediate campaign people, and but their family members and friends, as well as donors to the campaign, business partners of the campaign, transition people in the administration, and people in the administration.
And beyond the interviews, the FBI has to then trawl through all of their bank accounts, phone records, travel, etc, etc, etc. It’s a huge job and one which Comey was overseeing, but not doing the day to day work. He was head of the FBI, not a field agent.
At this point, there are multiple investigations going on into various aspects of the same general crime. The end result will, I expect, be indictments meted out to several hundred people, including most of the people who moved from the campaign into the administration, Trump and Pence family members, people they and the campaign did business with, people appointed in the administration, and people at the upper levels of the GOP and at the RNC who worked with or supported the campaign.
A large percentage are likely to end up impeached, convicted, or both. Of those, a good bunch are going to prison. Frankly, if I were part of the Trump-Pence campaign – Russia situation in anyway, I’d be turning state’s evidence just to get out in front of any charges. The same goes for those who are a part of any Trump organization, or Kushner organization.
Believe it or not, criminal activity, leading to convictions and prison, is pretty typical for a GOP Executive Branch.
These graphics comes from a dailykos.com article published in January. You can check it for more detail. It’s interesting. This article was just about executive branch criminal activities, not about congresspersons or other government officials getting up to no good. In a case like Trump-Pence campaign – Russia, however, there’s almost certainly going to be a lot of congressional and government official fall out as well.
That is why I think it’s important to ask the important question, And then what happens?
America deserves are responsible, capable govt that represents the people and has the trust of the majority of the people. I think the vast majority Americans can agree that we don’t have that type of government now.
Here is a look at the presidential line of succession as it stands today.
I think there’s no question Pence will go, and Ryan too. But I don’t believe that Orrin Hatch would be accepted as president by the people. No one in the country would want Rex Tillerson, friend of Russia and former Exxon CEO as VP.
Personally, I expect many of the people on the succession list to be indicted and removed from office, but I can’t see anyone left on the list being accepted as president. I suspect that public might accept James Mattis as temporary president, while new elections were held. But being a general, he might want John McCain to VP.
That’s an extraordinary thing to say I know, because no one wants a general in charge, but there is some support for him, as a person who cares about America. And … at some point we, the electorate, have to be honest with ourselves.
Russia interfered with the election, which makes the results invalid. Trump lost the popular vote by a landslide, which confirms his party does not have the support of the majority of the people. When the administration goes down, taking with it all sorts of collateral damage, we have to admit the officials likely to be left, will not have been legitimately elected to the executive office and there is no reason American people should not have a new election.
If this were Britain, Trump would already have been given a vote of No Confidence (when someone is no longer deemed fit to hold that position: perhaps because they are inadequate in some respect, are failing to carry out obligations, or are making decisions that other members feel are detrimental) and general elections would have been called. But our system doesn’t work that.
Our system of 4 year terms is great, I love it. But nothing in our laws really has a good way to deal with what’s going on now. This is an extraordinary situation, which demands an extraordinary remedy. We have to ask, what is the remedy for this situation?
If elections were tampered with, the results have to be thrown out. If a president is removed for collusion with a foreign in order to gain the presidency, by definition that entire administration is invalid, and has to be thrown out. But things get even more profound when you start talking about how this impacts nuts and bolts government.
In impeaching Trump – Pence for collusion with a foreign power, all the Executive orders, memos, proclamations, and signed legislation (like the health care bill) are invalidated as tainted by the foreign power. The tie-breaker votes Pence cast in the senate would be invalidated. All their actions become fruit of the poison tree.
This also spills over onto those congressional members who aided and abetted. They get impeached for such a crime, and all their votes in the house or senate would be voided. The same for actions taken by any government appointees of Trump, who themselves would be invalidated as they were appointed by a person involved with a foreign power and could not be considered legitimate.
In fact, Neil Gorsuch could possibly find himself having to step down from the bench, depending on how many senate members who voted for him subsequently get caught up in this and crash and burn as a result.
As for vacated seats in congress, governor generally appoint fill the spots vacated till elections are called. Some states have special elections. But what happens to the presidency? We’d have to hold a new election for president. And this is something the Supreme Court will probably be asked to weigh in on.
We have had short presidential terms before. Garfield was shot and died 199 days in. Harrison died 31 days in of pneumonia. But neither of those men were impeached. So, new territory here.
Just to review US law about impeachment, At the federal level, Article II 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 Misdemeanors.”
The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeaching, while the United States Senate has the sole power to try all impeachments. The removal of impeached officials is automatic upon conviction in the Senate. In Nixon v. United States (1993), the Supreme Court determined that the federal judiciary cannot review such proceedings.
If you followed that closely you’ll understand that while anyone in the House can bring impeachment proceedings, it’s a Republican house. Once the proceeding drags through committee in the House, the trial to convict will then take place in the Republican Senate. While that may make it seem like impossible odds of conviction, you’d be wrong.
At this point, many in the GOP just want to save themselves and whatever power they have. Sacrificing an irrational, treasonous, corrupt administration to retain one’s seat in congress is a good deal. Also, in another strange twist of fate, the charges against the Trump-Pence campaign may be just that, against the campaign.
As I understand it, if the charges include stuff a president has done in office and before during the campaign, it’s an impeachment. If it’s only for stuff done prior to taking office, then it’s a regular trial for all involved. There’s not House or Senate GOP cover for Trump-Pence if the campaign is the problem. They just put them in handcuffs and walk them out of the White House.
The other question that comes into play here is that of presidential pardons. They’ve been used in the past to cover up crimes. The George H. W. Bush Administration only had a single criminal indictment, but it’s notable for two reasons. It was the only time that a U.S. treasurer has ever gone to prison. But President Bush 41 himself escaped potentially ruinous scandal by granting clemency to six people indicted in the Reagan Administration’s Iran-Contra scandal, thereby avoiding trials that could have exposed Bush’s involvement.
I don’t think anyone would want a new GOP president, as supposed by the line of succession, to pardon anyone in the Trump-Pence campaign – Russia scandal. There would no doubt be huge protests and electoral backlash. At this point, electoral backlash is guaranteed it’s just a matter of how bad. Elections in 2018 will leave any GOP president a lame duck. But giving long prison terms without the possibility of parole to the Trump-Pence campaign seems the best way for remaining GOP members from super Red districts to save face and try to avoid losing their jobs.