Before the Inauguration, there’s no way. Trump has been elected by the people, the Electoral College has cast their ballots and they were accepted by the House and Senate. So there is absolutely no way to reverse it at this point.
I don’t think he’s being pressured into stepping aside. I think some of the leaks we’re seeing are an attempt to embarrass him, and hurt his incoming administration – and I don’t think it’s working. I think he pretty successfully batted it back at that press conference. The release of that document on Buzzfeed, which has been totally unsubstantiated by any corroborating evidence, allowed him to brand it as fake news. He was able to push back on it– and actually got some backup from other news organisations who had received this document before.
No president has ever been removed from office. Richard Nixon resigned before he – probably – would have been impeached. The process to remove the president is impeachment, and there is reasoning in the Constitution for that. It’s a two-step process. The House of Representatives would bring articles of impeachment forward. If they were approved, there would be a trial in the Senate. The Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court would preside over such a trial, and the Senate would act as a jury, voting to either remove the president from office, or not.
"No president has ever been removed from office. Richard Nixon resigned before he – probably – would have been impeached."
This process played out during Bill Clinton’s presidency: he was impeached by the House, he went before the Senate for a trial, and he was not removed from office. That’s happened twice in this country’s history – it also happened to Andrew Johnson, who succeeded Abraham Lincoln. He was impeached, but survived a very narrow vote in the Senate.
I don’t anticipate anything happening that would result in Trump being impeached and removed from office, at all. With a Republican Senate and a Republican House, there is zero chance, unless something extraordinary were to happen. In Clinton’s case, there was a crime –he lied under oath, which was perjury, and that’s why he was impeached, though the Senate didn’t go along with that.
The Constitution is very clear: removal from office on impeachment is on the grounds of treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanour. And there’s no evidence of anything that would rise to this point, at all. I think the party, despite some initial misgivings about Trump, is largely embracing him. He is President of the United States now, and as President of the United States, he is the leader of the party. With an entirely Republican congress, I think a lot of Republicans see an opportunity here to pass a lot of policies that have been blocked over the last eight years. There seems to be, in the early going, a great deal of cooperation.
"I don’t anticipate anything happening that would result in Trump being impeached and removed from office, at all."
That said, there are some differences, and one of the early differences that has come up is Trump’s desire to pass a very large infrastructure spending bill – some conservatives are wary of that. He also wants to levy heavy tariffs on companies which manufacture goods outside of the country for sale in US markets – that runs counter to traditional conservative economic policies. He’s less of a free trader than the party generally is, so he’ll face questions over that. But by and large, the party is working together right now.
People are keeping an open mind. He was a non-traditional candidate, and he’ll be a non-traditional president. But there is enthusiasm among Republicans for the prospect of one-party government on our side, for the first time in a long time. There’s an extraordinary opportunity to accomplish a lot of things.