The walls are closing in on Donald Trump…but what happens when they close on him completely?
The hesitation of prosecutors in the Department of Justice to indict a sitting president, due to questionable memos in the past by the DoJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (in each case, these memos were only issued under Presidents who had good reason to feel vulnerable to being indicted, Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton), could mean that impeachment may be the only route to pursue Trump for proven crimes.
While impeachment could pass in The House, two-thirds of The Senate would have to agree to remove Trump under impeachment. It’s reasonable to assume that this Trump-loyal GOP would be unlikely to remove their own party’s president from office no matter the evidence of his guilt in even traitorous crimes (so far they have had no problem with Trump embracing Russia and Vladamir Putin while undermining America’s intelligence services, law enforcement, the press, foreign allies and our democracy).
Despite the crimes Trump may be proven to have committed, the end result could be that a proven and sociopathic criminal remains in power over the United States and much of the world.
Hopefully in such a situation, considering that some of his likely crimes were committed during the election and may have helped him steal the power of the presidency from American voters, prosecutors may feel a necessity and responsibility to pursue criminally indicting him. Election crimes could be their best argument in court to proceed with indictments against Trump while in office.
If they do move forward with indicting him, Trump will immediately file suit against the constitutionality of that. The case will rise to the Supreme Court (where his toady Brett Kavanaugh will have the chance to pay back his patron and fellow assaulter of women by calling the indictment of a sitting president unconstitutional).
The outcome in the SCOTUS would be questionable and here too, despite undeniable evidence of crimes, Trump could remain unprosecuted and in the White House.
So how could America pry Trump out of power if he’s guilty of serious crimes but impeachment and prosecution of him won’t do the trick? Would there be any way to make him resign?
The answer to that may be yes.
Trump knows he holds the powerful card of the pardon to avoid the prosecution or verdict against any family member or co-conspirator so their imprisonment can’t necessarily be used by prosecutors to pressure Trump to resign.
Prosecutors could come to him saying that they would still be able to indict him before the statute of limitations run out on his crimes if he loses in 2020. The problem here is that if Trump wins re-election in 2020, that’s irrelevant and even more potent is that even if Trump loses in 2020, he could officially resign the day before the new president is inaugurated and a one-day-president Mike Pence could pardon him (he’s also claimed he can self-pardon but that is disputed by most knowledgeable constitutional scholars).
The secret to leverage over Trump, having the power to force him to resign, is to remember what he values most. Even more than his children or his wife, more than publicity, even more than being in the White House, what Trump wants and needs most…is his wealth. A Donald Trump that has no money, no property or business, isn’t Donald Trump. He needs to be wealthy, he needs to be “a winner”, his image is who Donald Trump is and without that, he would see himself as nothing.
So, prosecutors need to keep pulling on the threads that lead from the Trump Organization and Trump to the commission of financially-related crimes. Whether for money laundering and tax evasion, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (which forbids bribery), conspiracies with organized crime in the U.S. and abroad, election fraud and campaign finance violations, if Mueller and/or other Feds dig deep enough to prove financial crimes have been committed by The Trump Organization and Trump himself that warrant seizing its and his “dirty” assets…they will also have the most powerful leverage to negotiate with Trump to resign.
Trump can pardon people but he can’t pardon companies or stop the Feds from seizing criminally obtained wealth and property from a company or individual. Pardons only apply to criminal prosecutions…not civil suits from the Feds, IRS, etc.
So, Robert Mueller could sit down with Trump and his lawyers and explain to him that he has him dead to rights on financial crimes and that they will be going after his and his organization’s assets…but if Trump wants to make a deal, to preserve most of his wealth and avoid criminal indictments that the Supreme Court may yet approve of, he will have to agree to resign.
Faced with the prospect of taking such a deal or staying in office but losing much or even all of his money and property along with the money and assets of The Trump Organization, it is hard to imagine Trump would choose to stay.
The pursuit of evidence of criminal activity by the Trump Organization and Donald Trump is underway in any case. The cooperation with Special Counsel Robert Mueller and guilty pleas by Michael Cohen have already hit paydirt in pursuing campaign finance crimes committed by Trump and his organization.
In October of this year, The New York Times published a blockbuster investigation that demonstrated Trump, his father and other family members engaged in tax evasion and fraud regarding at least $413 million dollars Trump was given and inherited. It’s also well documented that Trump sold a Palm Beach estate he bought for $41 million to a Russian oligarch four years later, in the midst of The Great Recession, for $95 million, more than double what he paid in a thriving real estate market at a time when real estate values tanked.
The evidence already in the public screams of the crimes of tax evasion and money laundering by Trump and his organization. Who knows what Mueller and other Feds have uncovered along the way? Ironically, it was financial sanctions that led Russia to collude with and support Trump’s election and it could be financial sanctions that force Trump from office.
It would be up to Mueller and other Feds if going right at Trump to resign or face indictment and seizure of his and his company’s wealth should be the first step taken or the final hammer after other avenues have failed. It may depend on how dangerously they view Trump, based on the crimes and conspiracies they uncover.
Would it be a fair deal for the nation to get Trump to resign but let him off the hook for his crimes in stealing the White House and selling out our democracy to Russia, Saudi Arabia, etc. to benefit himself and his family?
It may be the best deal for Americans. Keep in mind that despite any deals Trump could make with Mueller and the Feds, New York’s Attorney General would be free to continue down the path of investigating state crimes against Trump, his family and his organization, including tax evasion and fraud. Trump could still see his wealth seized as well as criminal trials ahead of him.
And after all of this, who would want to lend money to or even try to launder money with Trump? Who would want to risk partnering with him? Even without any criminal conviction or losing most of his wealth, Trump would be radioactive in the business world. Not even criminally-minded oligarchs would want to get into bed with someone who may still be under the Fed’s magnifying glass?
The tables could be turned on Trump, he could go from giving a payoff to an adult film actress to protect his election, to accepting a payoff himself to protect Americans from his election.