The walls close in on Trump: Impeachment, the 25th Amendment, or resignation

This Trump presidency has reached a point of no return.

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By now most observant Americans can see that Donald Trump simply can’t carry out the functions of the office of the president; and that he has a very difficult time controlling his emotions, showing clear signs of instability. His behavior is quite unpredictable and he quickly reacts to situations that displease him with extreme anger.

He shows no ability or desire to work closely with Congress to create legislation necessary to deal with the many problems facing this country. His misguided attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare was a total disaster. It’s apparent he has no idea on how to move forward on the issues of infrastructure, tax and trade reform, and job creation.

Does anyone think that someone who is so consumed by anger, plus a great deal of hatred, could possibly function as president of a country burdened with such a stagnant economy and a vast, convoluted military establishment? Someone who could be creative, innovative and an effective problem solver?

His instability can best be illustrated by his constant tweets laced with insults, whereby he vents his extreme anger at those who question any of his policies and actions. He wastes a tremendous amount of time attacking the media, its reporters, and TV news hosts, time that he should be spending on, and it pains me to repeat this, “Making America great again.”

Therefore, for the good of this country, the Congress must think very seriously about removing him from the White House. There are two ways by which the Constitution allows this to be done by Congress; first by initiating impeachment procedures and, secondly, by exercising the provisions of Article 4 of the 25thAmendment.

Let’s discuss impeachment

The Constitution states, “The PresidentVice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office by Impeachment for, and Conviction of, TreasonBribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

That’s something that this country needs when the occasion calls for it but I don’t think it goes far enough. I wonder why there is no similar provision and procedure to remove a president if that individual has proven to be entirely incapable of carrying out the duties of the presidency; in a situation in which a president is grossly incompetent or is mentally incapable of performing those duties.

If that were possible, removing a president in that way would not be easy to do because it is a judgment call; but by the use of close observations and accumulation of solid evidence, a special panel of U.S. senators and representatives could initiate impeachment proceedings based on incompetence or mental instability.

Let’s explore the second way that exists to remove a president which is through Article 4 of the 25th Amendment. This time.com article states that “Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.”

It is not likely that a sitting Vice-President and the members of a president’s cabinet would actually transmit such a request to Congress  as the basis for a president’s removal; that’s never happened and likely never will; that is, unless some president gets completely out of control and poses a danger to the country. On second thought maybe, just maybe, that could happen in the case of Trump.

What often goes unnoticed in Article 4 is the part that states, “or of such other body as Congress may by law provide,” This statement gives Congress itself the ability to create a panel of highly respected individuals, say from the medical field, to determine the overall health of the president,  including a president’s mental state.

The Congress could also create a panel, not necessarily with medical experts but, with other competent individuals, including members of Congress, who could determine if a president is or is not capable of carrying out the functions of his office; or if he has done something unlawful or unethical; for example, if he has allowed highly classified information to be leaked to the press.

The problem with using Article 4 for removal is that this Republican-controlled Congress would not be prone to do that to their president even though an increasing number of its members have little use for him; unless he had done something so egregious that they would have no choice but to take such appropriate action.

In reviewing these various options it would seem that the best one would bebased on what Special Prosecutor Mueller’s investigation brings to light; if he can produce concrete evidence indicating that this president colluded with the Russians, or that he is guilty of obstruction of justice. We will just have to let Mueller continue to probe deeply into this overall situation and then see what he determines.

Paul Manafort, formerly a close adviser to Trump during the presidential campaign, who has had all sorts of business connections with officials in Russia and Ukraine, is the person that is now at the center of this investigation. Mueller would like to see him flip and become a prosecution witness.

Mueller may have some very damaging evidence against Manafort that could send him to prison. So the goal will, of course, be to have him save himself from doing time by spilling the beans about exactly what has been going on between Trump, his operatives, and Russia.

Will we see impeachment proceedings take place or removal based on Article 4 of the 25th Amendment or will we see neither?

Let’s talk Resignation

I think it is highly possible that Trump will follow in the footsteps of Nixon and resign before he is faced with impeachment. If Trump somehow finds out that Mueller has developed concrete evidence of his collusion with the Russians, or that he has committed obstruction of justice, this could trigger his immediate resignation.

Some would say that if he did resign he would leave himself open for possible indictment based on damning evidence. But the way that things work just below the surface in Washington D.C., I would bet that he would get the word that, if he did resign, no further actions would be taken against him.

In his heart Trump must know that he is in way over his head, that he just doesn’t have it in him to provide leadership for his cabinet, his close advisers, and the Congress. He may be thinking that there is no use to keep doing something that is not at all satisfying and causes him nothing but grief. That might be a great incentive for him to reassume control of his real estate empire where he would not have to deal with politicians for which he has little to no use and a great deal of disdain.

In a very short time in office he has made a multitude of enemies, the media being enemy number one, followed by the Democratic Party, various members of the Republican Party who refuses to bend to his will, including Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham, as well as the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. He is always looking for the next person to attack; and that’s why there is no longer any room for him in this government. It’s time to go.

Therefore, of the several options that are available for having Trump exit the White House, the best one by far will be his resignation. By resigning he will avoid the disgrace of being involved with removal proceedings, and the government then can, most likely return to some reasonable degree of stability.

This Trump presidency has reached a point of no return. When he does resign, and it should be as soon as possible, this country, its people, together with the nations of the world, will breathe a sigh of relief, many believing that their prayers have been answered.

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Michael Payne
Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.

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