The biggest uncertainty in America right now is who will win the presidential election next week. But Republican and third party candidates are also starting to urge voters to think about the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton's email server, perhaps in a last-ditch effort to siphon off a few votes for themselves. The next possible question for some voters is whether Clinton could be impeached if she wins the presidency, since FBI director James Comey wrote to Congress claiming that his agency had discovered emails from her top aide that may have been relevant to the FBI's previous investigation into her handling of classified information.
At least one of those aforementioned third-party candidates has a few thoughts on the matter. Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson said on The Craig Silverman Show on KNUS radio in Colorado Wednesday morning that he is sure Clinton would be impeached if she were elected."I think unquestionably if [Clinton] takes office she is going to be under criminal investigation, unquestionably this is going to be the nation's agenda for the entire time she is office and it may well end up in impeachment," he said.
He added that he believes the situation is at Watergate-levels. "This is really, really deep, real stuff and all you have to say, all you have to recognize, is the FBI would not have done this — this is not political, this is anything but political, because of the fact they dropped this investigation in July, saying, to clear the decks for the election." Johnson continued that in July, the FBI clearly didn't want any issues to be "overhanging" but that the letter from Comey to Congress shows that there's more to it than political maneuvering.
But that might be a little exaggerated of a prediction, especially since no one has any idea what's in the 650,000 emails the FBI found on Anthony Weiner's laptop (Weiner is the husband of Huma Abedin, Clinton's top aide). The FBI will have to go through them and determine if they are new emails or copies of ones they have already seen and then will have to determine if there was any mishandling of classified information in them.
If, and that's still a very, very big "if," the FBI finds that she did something criminal, the Senate could very well rally and try to impeach her. To impeach a president, two-thirds of the House have to vote on the articles of impeachment, that first have to be approved by House Judiciary Committee.
So in theory, yes, she could be impeached (any president could theoretically be impeached by the same process), but it's not a given. Since the FBI dropped the case in July and found no wrong-doing, it still remains to be seen whether Clinton did anything wrong this time around — and further complicating the matter, the new emails reportedly don't even belong to Clinton, they belong to Abedin. Until there is proof that Clinton acted illegally or broke some oath of her office, there's no way she would be impeached. Anyone who thinks that she will be impeached might be getting way, way ahead of themselves.
Donald Trump, too, could theoretically be impeached as he has 75 ongoing legal battles at the moment, not to mention allegations of sexual assault. But it would take a lot for either Trump or Clinton to be impeached. Because that's the thing about impeachment — it's possible and it's there, but it is a very big deal. As Darren Samuelsogn wrote in April for Politico, "it would take an unprecedented mix of popular sentiment and raw power politics at the very highest levels to actually succeed at toppling a new president."
But with the way things are going on the campaign trail, candidates like Johnson are already fanning the impeachment flames. At this point, it's hard to bet on anything.