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1 HOW TRUMP COULD GET FIRED on 5/2/2017, 1:01 pm

The Constitution offers two main paths for removing a President from office. How feasible are they?

By Evan Osnos

"Hours after Donald Trump’s Inauguration, a post appeared on the official White House petitions page, demanding that he release his tax returns. In only a few days, it gathered more signatures than any previous White House petition. The success of the Women’s March had shown that themed protests could both mobilize huge numbers of people and hit a nerve with the President. On Easter weekend, roughly a hundred and twenty thousand people protested in two hundred cities, calling for him to release his tax returns and sell his businesses. On Capitol Hill, protesters chanted “Impeach Forty-five!” In West Palm Beach, a motorcade ferrying him from the Trump International Golf Club to Mar-a-Lago had to take a circuitous route to avoid demonstrators. The White House does all it can to keep the President away from protests, but the next day Trump tweeted, “Someone should look into who paid for the small organized rallies yesterday. The election is over!”

On Tax Day itself, Trump travelled to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where he would be among his supporters again, giving a speech at Snap-on, a manufacturer of high-end power tools and other gear. Wisconsin has emerged as one of Trump’s favorite states. He is the first Republican Presidential candidate to win there since 1984. He included the state in a post-election “thank-you tour.” Another visit was planned for shortly after the Inauguration, but it was cancelled once it became clear that it would attract protests.

By this point in George W. Bush’s term, Bush had travelled to twenty-three states and a foreign country. Trump has visited just nine states and has never stayed the night. He inhabits a closed world that one adviser recently described to me as “Fortress Trump.” Rarely venturing beyond the White House and Mar-a-Lago, he measures his fortunes through reports from friends, staff, and a feast of television coverage of himself. Media is Trump’s “drug of choice,” Sam Nunberg, an adviser on his campaign, told me recently. “He doesn’t drink. He doesn’t do drugs. His drug is himself.”

Trump’s Tax Day itinerary enabled him to avoid the exposure of a motorcade; instead, he flew on Marine One directly to Snap-on’s headquarters. Several hundred protesters were outside chanting and holding signs. But the event’s organizers had created a wall of tractor-trailers around the spot where Trump would land, blocking protesters from seeing Trump and him from seeing them.

Snap-on’s headquarters, a gleaming expanse of stainless steel, chrome, and enamel, provided a fine backdrop for muscular American manufacturing, though in fact the firm closed its Kenosha factory more than a decade ago. Nick Pinchuk, the C.E.O., led Trump past displays of Snap-on products, showing him a car hooked up to state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment (“It’s a different world!” Trump mused), and a table of Snap-on souvenirs, including small, colorful metal boxes that Pinchuk said some customers buy to hold ashes after a cremation. “That’s kind of depressing,” Trump said.

An auditorium was packed with local dignitaries and Snap-on employees. As “Hail to the Chief” played on the sound system, Trump stepped onto the stage. He stood in front of a sculpture of an American flag rippling in the wind, made from hundreds of Snap-on wrenches. Behind him was a banner: “buy american—hire american.” For a moment, the President, wearing a red tie, leaning on the lectern, looked as if he were back on the campaign trail. “These are great, great people,” he began. “And these are real workers. I love the workers.”

“We don’t have a level playing field,” he said. It was a treasured campaign line, to which he now added a vow of imminent progress: “You’re gonna have one very soon.” After Republicans abandoned their first effort to enact health-care reform, and courts blocked two executive orders designed to curb immigration from predominantly Muslim countries, he was determined to dispel any sense that his Administration had been weakened. “Our tax reform and tax plan is coming along very well,” he assured the crowd. “It’s going to be out very soon. We’re working on health care and we’re going to get that done, too.”

Trump’s approval rating is forty per cent—the lowest of any newly elected President since Gallup started measuring it. Even before Trump entered the White House, the F.B.I. and four congressional committees were investigating potential collusion between his associates and the Russian government. Since then, Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, have become senior White House officials, prompting intense criticism over potential conflicts of interest involving their private businesses. Between October and March, the U.S. Office of Government Ethics received more than thirty-nine thousand public inquiries and complaints, an increase of five thousand per cent over the same period at the start of the Obama Administration. Nobody occupies the White House without criticism, but Trump is besieged by doubts of a different order, centering on the overt, specific, and, at times, bipartisan discussion of whether he will be engulfed by any one of myriad problems before he has completed even one term in office—and, if he is, how he might be removed.

When members of Congress returned to their home districts in March, outrage erupted at town-hall meetings, where constituents jeered Republican officials, chanting “Do your job!” and “Push back!” The former South Carolina governor Mark Sanford, who is now a Republican congressman, told me that he’d held eight town halls in his district. Trump won South Carolina by nearly fifteen points, so Sanford was surprised to hear people calling for him to be impeached. “I’d never heard that before in different public interactions with people in the wake of a new President being elected,” he told me. “Even when you heard it with the Tea Party crowd, with Obama, it was later in the game. It didn’t start out right away.”

Trump’s critics are actively exploring the path to impeachment or the invocation of the Twenty-fifth Amendment, which allows for the replacement of a President who is judged to be mentally unfit. During the past few months, I interviewed several dozen people about the prospects of cutting short Trump’s Presidency. I spoke to his friends and advisers; to lawmakers and attorneys who have conducted impeachments; to physicians and historians; and to current members of the Senate, the House, and the intelligence services. By any normal accounting, the chance of a Presidency ending ahead of schedule is remote. In two hundred and twenty-eight years, only one President has resigned; two have been impeached, though neither was ultimately removed from office; eight have died. But nothing about Trump is normal. Although some of my sources maintained that laws and politics protect the President to a degree that his critics underestimate, others argued that he has already set in motion a process of his undoing. All agree that Trump is unlike his predecessors in ways that intensify his political, legal, and personal risks. He is the first President with no prior experience in government or the military, the first to retain ownership of a business empire, and the oldest person ever to assume the Presidency.

For Trump’s allies, the depth of his unpopularity is an urgent cause for alarm. “You can’t govern this country with a forty-per-cent approval rate. You just can’t,” Stephen Moore, a senior economist at the Heritage Foundation, who advised Trump during the campaign, told me. “Nobody in either party is going to bend over backwards for Trump if over half the country doesn’t approve of him. That, to me, should be a big warning sign.”
The history of besieged Presidencies is, in the end, the history of hubris, of blindness to one’s faults, of deafness to warnings..."


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2 Re: HOW TRUMP COULD GET FIRED on 5/2/2017, 1:17 pm

Noam Chomsky: If Trump Falters with Supporters, Don't Put 'Aside the Possibility' of a 'Staged or Alleged Terrorist Attack'

Chomsky warns of scapegoating vulnerable people: "That can turn out to be very ugly."

It's March 2017, and the political process and the media in the U.S. are a depressing mess, on top of an ever-growing pile of issues that are not remotely being addressed, much less resolved by society: inequality, climate change, a global refugee crisis, you name it.

Donald Trump presents a new problem on top of the old familiar ones; a toxic multifront political disaster whose presence in the White House is doing damage to the national psyche on a daily basis. But in the first few months of his presidency it appears he is unwilling or unable to carry out almost any of the campaign promises he made to his base. Repealing Obamacare was supposed to be a cinch -- well, that was a total disaster for Trump and the Republican party; the first big legislative rollout of his presidency, and it didn't even make it to a vote. What about canceling TPP? Trump did do that, right?

In a recent interview with the renowned intellectual and public commentator Noam Chomsky, he told me TPP was dead on arrival regardless of who was elected. What about scrapping NAFTA? Chomsky said he was doubtful Trump would be able to do much there either. What Trump appears to be doing, Chomsky observed, is ramming through the standard GOP wish list: tax cuts, corporate welfare, climate change denial. How would Trump's voters react to that? What we need to worry about, Chomsky says, is the potential for the Trump administration to capitalize on a "staged or alleged" terrorist attack. The text of our interview follows.

Jan Frel: Do you observe any meaningful signs of the key power factions in Washington aligning against Trump?

Noam Chomsky: Well, the so-called Freedom Caucus, which is a Tea Party outgrowth, has been refusing, so far, to go along with the health plan that he has advocated. There are other indications of the Tea Party-style far-right, separating themselves from Trump's proposals.

On the other hand, if you take a look at what is actually happening in Washington, apart from the rhetoric and what appears in Sean Spicer's press conferences and so on, the old Republican establishment is pretty much pushing through the kinds of programs that they have always wanted. And now they have a kind of open door that is Trump's cabinet, which draws from the most reactionary parts of the establishment. It doesn't have much to do with Trump's rhetoric. His rhetoric is about helping the working man and so on, but the proposals are savage and damaging to the constituency that thinks that Trump is their spokesperson.

JF: Do you think there will ever be a moment of awakening, or a disconnect for Trump's supporters of his rhetoric and what he's been doing in Washington, or can this just keep going?

NC: I think that sooner or later the white working-class constituency will recognize, and in fact, much of the rural population will come to recognize, that the promises are built on sand. There is nothing there.

And then what happens becomes significant. In order to maintain his popularity, the Trump administration will have to try to find some means of rallying the support and changing the discourse from the policies that they are carrying out, which are basically a wrecking ball to something else. Maybe scapegoating, saying, "Well, I'm sorry, I can't bring your jobs back because these bad people are preventing it." And the typical scapegoating goes to vulnerable people: immigrants, terrorists, Muslims and elitists, whoever it may be. And that can turn out to be very ugly.

I think that we shouldn't put aside the possibility that there would be some kind of staged or alleged terrorist act, which can change the country instantly.

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3 Re: HOW TRUMP COULD GET FIRED on 5/2/2017, 4:12 pm

I don't think the congress has the balls to try and get rid of him by legal means, but I do think showing him how congress really works and not really getting anything does will help drive him to resign. He is already tired of dealing with them and got in over his head. He most likely will resign.

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4 Re: HOW TRUMP COULD GET FIRED on 5/2/2017, 4:57 pm

I guess this thread is directed at impeachment. Just like so many threads which Pace started about impeaching President Obama. We have elections. They have terms. He will not run again, and possibly quit early. He will be beaten. He will win. He will not be impeached.

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5 Re: HOW TRUMP COULD GET FIRED on 5/2/2017, 5:04 pm

2seaoat wrote:He will be beaten.   He will win.   He will not be impeached.

It's hard to see where he's gonna get any wins legislatively.

He has screwed the pooch.

When he came into office, he had a healthy, but badly fractured majority in the House and a razor thin margin in the Senate.

But, he was too stupid to understand what that meant.

He should've ignored the movement conservative teatards in the House and reached across the aisle and brought moderate Democrats and Republicans together.

That ship has sailed.

He has made himself too toxic to Democrat voters to get any cooperation now.

His agenda is DOA.

His presidency has failed barely 100 days in.

And, it's all his fault.

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6 Re: HOW TRUMP COULD GET FIRED on 5/2/2017, 6:10 pm

See: Nuclear option for legislation.

Lol... the leftists hair bursting into fire could be seen from space.

Oh... about the topic. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Poor wittle snowflakes.

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7 Re: HOW TRUMP COULD GET FIRED on 5/2/2017, 6:33 pm

His agenda is DOA.

I think folks are smoking something. If anybody on this forum thinks that there will be a net gain of Senators in 2018 they are high. Democrats will lose more senate seats in 2018. Democrats will not take the house in 2018. If you cannot see the tax cuts which these bastards are getting and will be signed by the president you are blind. The final budget deal meant 20 billion more for defense, and you think their agenda is DOA. Can we please get some democrats who know what they are doing. They are getting bitch slapped, and talking about how tired the slapper is getting.

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8 Re: HOW TRUMP COULD GET FIRED on 5/3/2017, 3:16 pm

2seaoat wrote:His agenda is DOA.

I think folks are smoking something.   If anybody on this forum thinks that there will be a net gain of Senators in 2018 they are high.   Democrats will lose more senate seats in 2018.  Democrats will not take the house in 2018.  If you cannot see the tax cuts which these bastards are getting and will be signed by the president you are blind.  The final budget deal meant 20 billion more for defense, and you think their agenda is DOA.   Can we please get some democrats who know what they are doing.   They are getting bitch slapped, and talking about how tired the slapper is getting.

Trump's agenda is DOA.

Yeah, he got some defense money that unfortunately no one opposed in the first place (feeding the MIC may be the last surviving bipartisan effort).

The Republicans are way too busy bitch slapping each other to even bother with the Democrats.

Trump made the catastrophic mistake of aligning himself in such a way that he is entirely dependent on a broken party that cannot and will not deliver anything for him, and there's no viable way to reverse coarse at this point.

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9 Re: HOW TRUMP COULD GET FIRED on 5/4/2017, 2:44 pm

If you find the initial article in this thread to be of interest I'd like you to listen to the interview Terry Gross of "Fresh Air" on NPR did today with the author of the article. He describes a more intriguing way of removing Trump from office set up in the 25th Amendment. He talks about Trump's mental state, psychiatrists putting their reputation on the line by signing on to statements that he is unfit.

He mentions the requirements and screenings that are administered to anyone in the service surrounding the launching of nuclear weapons, mental state, financial obligations etc. He points out the irony of our situation wherein Trump is above this screening. Also of interest is the fact that one investigation leads to another and who knows where this will lead. He also pointed out that one reason Trump settled law suits out of court before he took office was to avoid having to testify under oath.

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