It is a rare case in American politics when both sides of the aisle are against the same candidate; in the 2016 Presidential election, this was the case. The nomination of Donald Trump has fractured the party of Lincoln.
Donald Trump had won the nomination for his party even though most of the Republicans (and the list is long) are planning to either vote against him or not vote at all. Some of the top Republicans such as John McCain, Barbara Bush, Jeb Bush, and Mitt Romney top the list.
Some party stalwarts rejected Trump after his initial refusal to denounce former KKK grand wizard David Duke, who had endorsed him and many had enough after Trump attacked the Hispanic judge, Gonzalo Curiel, who is presiding over lawsuits against Trump University.
Donald Trump’s “alleged” attack on a Gold Star military family didn’t help either. I think the defining moment that scared Republicans away from Trump was a leaked “Access Hollywood” tape from 2005, in which Trump can be heard making vulgar comments about his treatment of women.
But then something happened, something strange. The Republicans stopped their bickering and decided to support him. The reasons they gave varied but the main reason was that they supported their “party” but not necessarily the candidate.
Were the Republicans that disparate to get their party back in charge? Maybe. It was either endorse Trump or sit through 4 more years of President Barack Obama’s policies via Hillary Clinton. There were many reasons to support Trump if you were a Republican, if Trump was elected then the Supreme Court vacancy would be filled with a right-leaning judge, a 5-4 court.
Plus, the Republicans would have control of both the Senate and the House, at least for two years at best. They could dismantle President Barack Obama’s legacy, specifically Obamacare.
But maybe there was another reason to support Trump. Donald Trump is unpredictable and is considered to many a “loose cannon,” but Vice President Pence is predictable, he is hawkish and is an evangelical, just far enough right to please the party. So Trump may have been used as a tool to get Pence into the White House and ultimately in the seat of the Presidency.
Donald Trump is cozying up to President Vladimir Putin and wanting to have good relations with the Russia Republic and lift the [Russian] sanctions. In a joint interview with the Times of London and the German publication Bild, Trump said, “They have sanctions against Russia — let’s see if we can strike a few good deals with Russia.”
This in itself would be a threat to NATO, in which Trump called “obsolete” because it was “designed many, many years ago” and the American war-machine. NATO needs to have a threat in order to exist and to manufacture wars, and that threat is Moscow.
Donald Trump (and the Republicans) want to pick apart Obama’s legacy which consists of a questionable claim that unemployment is at 4.7 percent, at the expense of older Americans; environmental protections at the expense of coal miners; labor policy; and LGBT rights (transgender bathrooms?) but more specifically Obamacare. They want to systematically tear apart anything that has been successful for Obama.
There are two fronts working on removing Trump from office: The Deep State and Obama. The Deep State wants to remove Trump because if he thaws relations with Russia, then NATO practically becomes unnecessary. As for Obama, he wants to keep his legacy intact and will do whatever it takes.
Would impeachment work? Not really. Only two Presidents have ever been successfully impeached: Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson. These two presidents went on to finish out their terms and as for Clinton, he became one of the most popular presidents ever.
Impeachment is analogous to indictment in regular court proceedings, which is handled by the lower house of the legislature; trial by the other house, the upper house is analogous to the trial before judge and jury in regular courts. As I noted previously, both Johnson and Clinton were successfully impeached but were unsuccessfully tried.
As for Trump? He thrives on litigation. Litigation is a Trump hallmark. The aggressive shout “See you in court” is a phrase used in commercial and other civil litigation in which Donald Trump is a veteran of. So if Trump was to be successfully impeached, would it be advisable to start court proceedings?
Trying Trump in court isn’t like trying a regular person. First, Trump isn’t a regular person and secondly? Unlike others, Trump has the money (anywhere between $4 billion to $10 billion) to drag his case out until his term is up. Thirdly, there would be attorney’s knocking down Trump’s door to represent him and in most cases for free. Defending a sitting President [successfully] could set a Law Firm up for life. And finally, Trump could use this to his advantage for reelection. He would spin a story of how the system is out for him and his supporters.
Outside of assassination, how could Trump be removed from office? Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the United States Constitution is how Trump could be peacefully (hopefully) removed. It has never been tried so there is no precedent set as far as how it had been tried in the past.
Section 4 of the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution asserts:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of … the principal officers of the executive departments … transmit to the president pro tempore of the Senate and the speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as acting President.
If Pence quietly initiated a 25th Amendment process behind the scenes, are there leaders in the cabinet who might be open to agreeing? Definitely. Remember all the Republicans who spoke out against Trump during the Primaries? What about all the Republicans who were silent and probably didn’t want to vote for Trump but did anyway for the Party?
And would the president pro tempore of the Senate agree to this. The current president pro tempore is the 83 year-old, seven-term Senator Orrin Hatch and he campaigned for Trump in his home state of Utah.
I think Trump knows about the 25th Amendment and may believe that it could be used against him. I say this because Trump encouraged Sen. Hatch into running for an eighth-term. This would ensure that Sen. Hatch would be the president pro tempore throughout Trump’s term.
As for the speaker of the House, it is Paul Ryan and we know how he really feels about Trump. No need to continue.
Congress would need a 2/3 vote in both Houses to keep Pence over Trump. Here is the explanation:
“If the Congress, within twenty-one days after receipt of the latter written declaration, or, if Congress is not in session, within twenty-one days after Congress is required to assemble, determines by two-thirds vote of both Houses that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall continue to discharge the same as Acting President; otherwise, the President shall resume the powers and duties of his office.”
If Pence was to invoke the 25th Amendment and to fail, then it would be political suicide for those, including Pence who voted to remove Trump from office.
But I believe that Pence may be preparing in case he is approached to invoke the 25th Amendment. “The vice president seems to be building on his foreign affairs experience, finding a niche in that arena,” said House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Tex.), who served with Pence in Congress. “He brings a level-headed steady hand to the foreign policy of the administration. He’s also building up his own team.”
Inside the White House, Pence is in the room during most of the president’s interactions with world leaders. He receives the presidential daily brief. As head of the transition, Pence could be bringing in people who would support him if the 25th Amendment was to be invoked.
If Impeachment and Section 4 fails, what next? We saw with the release of “Vault 7” by Wikileaks that the CIA can replicate the fingerprints of different hackers. But most importantly, we’ve found things revealed in the ‘Year Zero’ Wikileaks drop that the Central Intelligence Agency may be able to hack vehicles and conduct “undetectable assassinations.”
The related portion of WikiLeaks’ official press release on the leak reads:
As of October 2014 the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks. The purpose of such control is not specified, but it would permit the CIA to engage in nearly undetectable assassinations.
Remember Michael Hastings? On June 18, 2013, Hastings died in a single vehicle automobile crash in his Mercedes C250 Coupé. A witness said the car “seemed to be traveling at maximum speed and was creating sparks and flames before it fishtailed and crashed into a palm tree.”
Former U.S. National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counter-terrorism Richard A. Clarke said that what is known about the crash is “consistent with a car cyber-attack”. He was quoted as saying “There is reason to believe that intelligence agencies for major powers — including the United States — know how to remotely seize control of a car. So if there were a cyber-attack on [Hastings’] car — and I’m not saying there was, I think whoever did it would probably get away with it.
With the Justice Department secretly eyeballing AP reporters’ phone records and the NSA dragnetting everyone else’s metadata, it didn’t seem totally crazy to imagine the government may have been investigating Hastings.
Assassinations have changed a lot since John F. Kennedy’s death. There doesn’t have to be a lone gunman involved anymore, just a few strokes on a keyboard is all that’s needed today.