President Donald Trump remains a historically unpopular president as his administration drags on and we approach its third year. One of the final Harvard/CAPS Harris polls of 2018 found that a full 39 percent of Americans support impeaching him, a portion the same size as those who approve of the job he’s doing in office according to a separate recent Morning Consult poll. In other words, not only do more than one in three Americans disapprove or just not feel excited about the direction of the Trump administration, they want their leaders to take active steps to remove him from office now.
Democrats will formally become the majority party in the U.S. House of Representatives — which takes up articles of impeachment — this week. However, at the same time, Republicans will remain the majority in the Senate, which is tasked with essentially putting the president on trial in the case of the House approving articles of impeachment, which equate to charges of misconduct. Although a Democratic uprising against Trump’s continued presidency could certainly be imagined, it’s far less sure anyone could flip the handful of Republicans needed to approve impeachment in the Senate. It’s not like even his few Republican dissenters have gone anywhere near that far — yet.
Meanwhile, Democrats have indicated they’re open to the option of impeachment, but they’re not chomping at the bit to get it done. Incoming House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, for instance, has insisted that impeachment at this point would be “premature,” preferring to wait for developments like the formal completion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Russia scandal. Nadler’s committee would be charged with handling any articles of impeachment before they went out for a full House floor vote.
Although Trump can’t count on a challenge of that form yet, he can count on continued scrutiny from interests like Mueller. Most recently, he garnered a guilty plea from former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, who admitted to lying to Congress about the extent of the Trump Organization’s business ties to Russia. For that and other crimes, he was recently sentenced to three years in prison.
Mueller has painted a picture of abjectly corrupt individuals around the president that has presently formed the basis of public understanding of any collusion between Trump and Russia that went on. The special counsel hasn’t formally and directly ruled on that subject yet.
It’s not the only front on which Trump faces a challenge to the legitimacy of his presidency, however. Repeated charges have emerged, for instance, that his continued connection to his businesses violates the Constitution since foreign government interests still patronize those businesses.
In addition, besides lying to Congress, Michael Cohen also carried on with an illegal hush money scheme at Trump’s direct urging meant to silence women with whom he’d had affairs. Cohen and prosecutors have both established the president’s role in the scheme, which authorities have slammed as a detriment to American democracy.
As Trump continues to face these issues, he’s got his first apparent serious 2020 challenger on the horizon — U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who recently announced she was forming a presidential run exploratory committee.
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