Donald Trump fears impeachment is a ‘real possibility’ over Stormy Daniels hush payments as Democrats plot to topple him after taking over the House
11th December 2018

Escalating criminal investigations in Washington and New York are scrutinising whether his campaign coordinated with the Kremlin.

The probe is also delving into whether the president illegally bought the silence of two women who say they had sex with him – porn star Stormy Daniels and Playboy model Karen McDougal.

CNN reported yesterday that Trump is concerned he could be impeached when the Democrats take over the House.

The broadcaster quotes an unnamed source “close” to him saying the president fears impeachment is a “real possibility”.

Some Democrats who will take the House majority in January are willing to say that Trump may have committed impeachable offences, but that doesn't mean they will try to impeach him – yet.

Democrats have been extremely cautious about the "I'' word.

They realise it could backfire politically, as many of them were in office during President Bill Clinton's impeachment 20 years ago.

And even if the Democratic House approved articles of impeachment, the Constitution requires a two-thirds vote of the Senate to convict.

That would be unlikely in a Republican-led Senate.

Also, some Senate Democrats appear to be reluctant to support impeachment of Trump, as several of them represent swing states.

Sen. Angus King, Maine, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday: "My concern is that, if impeachment is moved forward on the evidence that we have now, at least a third of the country would think it was just political revenge, and a coup against the president.

"That wouldn't serve us well at all. The best way to solve a problem like this, to me, is elections."

New York Rep. Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee and the panel's likely incoming chairman, has called impeachment a "trauma".

Nadler told CNN on Sunday that if it is proved that Trump directed his former lawyer to commit campaign finance violations, as was suggested by special counsel Robert Mueller in a new court filing, he believes it would be an impeachable offence.

But Nadler added: "Whether they are important enough to justify an impeachment is a different question."

He went on: "Certainly, they're impeachable offences, because even though they were committed before the President became President, they were committed in the service of fraudulently obtaining the office."

It's unclear whether the distinction between an impeachable offence and impeachment itself will satisfy those in the Democratic base who are eager to kick Trump out of office.

Democrats are walking that fine line, for now, says AP.

Federal prosecutors in Manhattan have for the first time connected the president to a federal crime.

They are accusing him of orchestrating hush-money payments during the campaign by his longtime lawyer and fixer, Michael Cohen, to Daniels and McDougal.

Cohen is among five people in Trump's orbit to have pleaded guilty to federal charges.

He pleaded guilty in federal court in New York to lying to Congress about his work on a possible Trump real estate project in Moscow in a case brought by special counsel Robert Mueller's office.

Cohen is due to be sentenced this week.

Mueller's office, meanwhile, detailed lies they say former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort told them even after he agreed to plead guilty and cooperate.

Prosecutors are also preparing for the sentencing hearing next week of former national security adviser Michael Flynn, who lied to the FBI about his Russian contacts.

Nearly three dozen people have been charged by special counsel Robert Mueller's office, which is seeking answers to unanswered questions including whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia.

All of this activity has prompted former Trump strategist Steve Bannon to describe 2019 as looking like a year of “siege warfare”.

He told The Washington Post: “The Democrats are going to weaponise the Mueller report and the president needs a team that can go to the mattresses.

“The president can’t trust the GOP [Republicans] to be there when it counts… They don’t feel any sense of duty or responsibility to stand with Trump.”

On Sunday, Trump took to Twitter to reject evidence against him, including recent testimony of James Comey, the former FBI boss.

He said : “On 245 occasions, former FBI director James Comey told House investigators he didn’t know, didn’t recall, or couldn’t remember things when asked.

"Opened investigations on 4 Americans (not 2) – didn’t know who signed off and didn’t know Christopher Steele [former M16 spy behind dossier on Trump]. All lies!”

A confident Trump has mocked the investigation into his conduct as a candidate and president as a "witch hunt" and has insisted that he will survive, despite his growing legal troubles.

He is also not concerned about facing a primary election challenge from within his own party.

Steps for removing an American president from office

Under the Constitution, the president, the vice president and other US officials can be removed following impeachment and conviction for treason, bribery or other “high crimes and misdemeanours.”

The process starts in the House.

Individual members can introduce impeachment resolutions like ordinary bills, or the House can initiate proceedings by passing a resolution authorising an inquiry.

In modern history, the House Judiciary Committee has overseen impeachment proceedings.

A simple majority vote is needed to move an impeachment resolution, like other legislation, out of the committee.

At that point, it is up to the House majority leader whether to put the measure to a vote by the full chamber, and when to hold such a vote.

The full House can approve the articles of impeachment by a simple majority vote.

Impeachment is like an indictment and the Senate then tries the official.

A two-thirds vote of the Senate is required for conviction, which results in removal from office.

If a president is impeached and removed, the vice president takes over until the next scheduled presidential election picks the next occupant of the White House.

Only two American presidents have been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998.

Neither was convicted by the Senate.

President Richard Nixon, facing almost certain impeachment over the Watergate scandal, resigned in 1974.





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