It may seem far-fetched, but bettors have been trying to predict Donald Trump’s impeachment since well before his inauguration.
The hope revolves around a little-known section of the constitution called the “Emoluments Clause”, which states that a person holding office may not accept “any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State.”
The case for impeachment goes something like this. Since Donald Trump has refused to remove himself completely from the Trump Organization, having any foreign government official staying at a Trump-owned hotel counts as an emolument from a foreign state.
Now that may seem like a stretch, but the the watchdog group “Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington” has already begun trying to get the case to court.
In order to impeach the President, he (or she) must be found guilty of “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.” A majority of the U.S. House of Representatives must vote in favor of the charges, and if it passes, it is handed to the Senate for a vote.
It’s a tough ask and only one President – Richard Nixon – has seen his term end prematurely by resignation or impeachment. Both Bill Clinton and Andrew Johnson faced impeachment during their presidency, but both were acquitted by the Senate (where a two-thirds majority is required).
To make things even harder, Trump will spend at least his first two years in office with a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate.
But there are other ways Trump could be impeached. If the allegations of information-sharing with the Kremlin are verified, that is certainly an impeachable offense. But the dossier making those allegations remains unsubstantiated and completely unverified.
Maybe it’s just wishful thinking from overly optimistic bettors. The process of impeachment is tough and currently the grounds for impeachment is tenuous. Having said that, Trump has alienated the press and has a difficult relationship with the intelligence community. If there is dirt on him then it is likely to come out.
A lot can happen in four years and the one thing we know for sure is that much of it will be unpredictable.
Donald Trump’s Impeachment Odds:
Odds Trump will be impeached in his first term: 4/1
Odds Donald Trump is impeached for:
Breaching Emoluments Clause: 87/13
Private email server: 1000/1
Odds Trump does not complete his first term: 11/8
Odds Trump serves two complete terms: 3/2
Odds Donald Trump lasts less than:
Six months: 24/1
One year: 47/3
Photo credit: “Donald Trump” by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0 [http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0], via Flickr.