Here’s a line that jumped out at me from a recent news story about President Trump’s efforts to build Senate support for firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
“Though they once cautioned him that dismissing Sessions would feed special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Trump’s potential obstruction of justice, these people say, Trump’s legal team has become increasingly convinced Mueller will make that case regardless of whether the president fires Sessions or leaves him in place,” Politico reported.
If true, that doesn’t bode well for Trump avoiding impeachment proceedings next year. Democrats are highly likely, if still not quite certain, to retake the House in the November elections. Any presidential wrongdoing reported by Mueller would make it extremely difficult for Democratic leaders to keep the lid on impeachment talk—and that’s assuming the current cautious leadership team remains in place.
If the elusive “blue wave” comes to fruition, it could also wash away Nancy Pelosi and allow a progressive more in the thrall of the Resistance—and without any institutional memory of how impeachment backfired on Republicans in 1998—to surf toward the speakership. Either way, Democrats will be in control of the chamber they need to advance articles of impeachment and initiate the process of removing the president from office.
At that point, it really comes down to Senate Republicans. It is quite possible they will retain, even expand, their majority in November given the favorable map. Several states where Trump remains popular have vulnerable Democratic incumbents running for reelection. Trump loyalists could replace Trump critics like Jeff Flake, Bob Corker and the late John McCain (though Orrin Hatch will be swapped out for Mitt Romney).
But even if the Democrats retake the Senate, Republicans will retain the votes to block a conviction and keep Trump in office. A 55-45 Democratic Senate—inconceivable under the current map—would still require 12 Republicans to vote to remove Trump.