Can Donald Trump Be Impeached Before Taking Office? Probably Not
I know, I know — it feels like the sky has fallen in. Donald Trump has just become the next President of the United States and weirdly enough, pigs are not actually flying. I know you are thinking of climbing back into bed and hiding under the covers, calling in to work tomorrow and just... unplugging. You are not alone. But we must all face reality: Donald Trump has been officially elected as president, and there's nothing we can do. Or is there? While it feels as though anti-Trumpers could be out of options, could Trump be impeached before entering the Oval Office? Could we turn this beat around?
Short answer: probably not.
While the country (and the rest of the world, because believe me, everyone is watching) tries to come to grips with the fact that former WWE guest-wrestler Donald Trump is now Commander in Chief of one of the most powerful nations on earth, great legal and political minds are speculating about the possibility of impeachment. Already, before he steps a toe into the White House and Melania redecorates entirely with white faux fur (I don't know why, but I assume that's her jam, and more power to her).
As early as April, before Trump had been declared the Republican presidential nominee, political pundits were already speculating about the possibility of a Trump impeachment. According to Politico, Bruce Fein, a Washington attorney, put the odds of Trump committing an impeachable offense around 50/50. For instance, if Trump does actually attempt to build a wall between Mexico and the United States, as he has so often promised, without the green light from Congress, he could potentially be impeached. But to be impeached before he even reaches office? I am sorry to tell you, that's probably not going to happen.
Back in October, Jonathan Ashbach of The Federalist did manage to come up with a potentially radical plan if Trump did manage to get elected. The Republican Party should have him impeached and move the more conservatively palatable Vice President Pence into the top seat, he argued. Ashbach hypothesized that the Republican Party, fast losing credibility with more centrist conservatives across the country, could be looking for an escape hatch with Trump. The GOP has been fairly blatant in its criticism of Trump, particularly in recent months, whereas Indiana Gov. Pence remains a bit of a golden boy within the party.
The problem with this theory is simple: What if Trump doesn't actually do anything impeachable? As president, Trump would have to be found guilty of "high crimes and misdemeanors" to be impeached, and unfortunately a president can't just be impeached for being foolish (for the record, that would likely have happened a LOT more often throughout history if this were the case). Although perhaps inciting foreign subterfuge of a presidential nominee during a general election could do the trick?
In reality, it's probably a good idea to just accept our new reality. Donald Trump is the newly elected president, Hillary Clinton did not win despite being almost ridiculously qualified for the job, and Canada is probably looking pretty damn amazing because Prime Minister Trudeau.
Come on up, guys.