After first 100 Days, a President Trump Impeachment Seems like a Safe Bet.
June 24, 2018
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After first 100 Days, a President Trump Impeachment Seems like a Safe Bet.

Saturday April 29, 2017 - 11:37:02 in by Samiir Cabdi
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    After first 100 Days, a President Trump Impeachment Seems like a Safe Bet.

    After first 100 Days, a President Trump Impeachment Seems like a Safe Bet.

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After first 100 Days, a President Trump Impeachment Seems like a Safe Bet.

President Trump has courted so much Constitutional disaster in his first 100 days that an impeachment now seems like a safe bet, government ethics experts say.

"He does not seem to show any interest in not violating the Constitution," said Jordan Libowitz, communications director at the ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics (CREW) in Washington, D.C.

CREW has filed nearly 100 ethics complaints —including lawsuits, FOIA requests and demands for investigations — within the first 100 days of Trump's presidency.

"The number of issues we've seen this early in this administration is unlike any other," Libowitz said.

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In January, the Daily News spoke with four experts ahead of Trump's inauguration about how he hadset himself for potential impeachmentfrom the moment he took the Oath of Office. The experts highlighted Trump's financial conflicts of interest, his hints at obstruction of justice and his potential for perjury in dozens of open lawsuits. No other President, they argued, had ever taken the job with so many causes to lose it.

The News checked back with those same four experts about Trump's first 100 days, and they saw only more reasons to anticipate an ouster. The trouble Trump took to the White House has only deepened or expanded in his short tenure, they said.

One expert, American University Professor Allan Lichtman, famously predicted before Election Day that Trump would win, but would also be impeached.


Lichtman has now bet his prophetic reputation on an impeachment, publishing a book this month, "The Case For Impeachment," that argues a Trump removal is inevitable.

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"Everything I predicted before he became President has already come to pass," Lichtman told The News.

"It took more than five years (after inauguration) to impeach Bill Clinton, it took more than five years for Richard Nixon to resign. But time has accelerated under Trump," he said, adding that he doubts Trump will make it to 2020.

After Trump's first 100 days, here's the way his leadership now seems destined for an early end.


Trump took power with a mysterious affection for Russian President Vladimir Putin and a series of strange apparent political ties to the Kremlin.

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Since then, answers have still not come about Trump's possible Russian relationship — but the questions and consequences have only intensified.

To recap: The FBI admittedit is investigatingalleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. National security adviser Michael Flynnresignedafter lying about a conversation with a Russian ambassador. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessionswithheld revealinghis own conversation the same ambassador and resisted calls to step down. Even parts of theinfamous dossierabout Russia allegedly blackmailing Trump - something Trump waved off as "fake news" —have gainedmore credibilitythrough new revelations.

Even though all the pieces don't yet fit together, all signs point to a problem of Watergate proportions, the experts said.

"Every signal (the administration) is giving is like they've got a serious problems that they don't want people to know about," said John Dean, a former White House Counsel to President Richard Nixon who helped expose Watergate.

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"If Trump could clean this up, if there was nothing there, he would do it," Dean said.

"He'd be absolutely insane not to do that. But the reason Watergate was not disposed of was because there were indeed connections to the White House."

Dean said the enigmatic expansion of Trump's possible Russian entanglement reminds him all too much of Watergate. He especially sees it in what he calls the "drip, drip, drip" — a slow trickle of leaks that gradually unravel a nebulous racket.

President Trump brought potentially impeachable offenses with him to the White House, and those have only deepened since then, experts say.

President Trump brought potentially impeachable offenses with him to the White House, and those have only deepened since then, experts say.


"That drip, drip, drip is what keeps scandals alive," Dean said.

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"If a full Russia thing surfaces, it will be the end of his presidency."

It took two years — filled with press leaks, White House denials and cover-ups upon cover-ups — for Watergate to bring down Nixon.

Those keeping a close eye on the Russian affair seem to see the same gears grinding, slowly but surely.

"We still don't know how much fire there is behind all this smoke," Lichtman said.

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Business conflicts have grown bigly

Trump's most glaring problem before becoming President was his sordid business history —and his refusal to cut ties with it.

He claimed right before his inauguration that he was divesting his Trump Organization empire, but instead he simply let his sons run the daily operations, while still remaining in charge and even changing his trust documents to let himselfsecretly dip into profits.

That means Trump has not taken the necessary steps to avoid his most patently impeachable offense: Violating the emoluments clause, an anti-bribery provision in the Constitution.

"The failure to divest, I think, almost fatally subjects him to conflicts of interest that are impeachable," Lichtman said.

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Government watchdogs took immediate notice: CREW filed its first lawsuit against President Trump, accusing him of violating the emoluments clause, just three days after his inauguration.

"When he got into office, it was a more nebulous worry," Libowitz, of CREW, said about Trump's conflicts of interest.

By now, he said, it appears clear that Trump is treating his public service as "some kind of side gig."

"He's never been in a position where the benefits have to be anywhere but his bottom line," Libowitz said.

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The emoluments clause specifically prohibits the President and other officials in the federal government from accepting gifts from foreign leaders and diplomats —something Trump seems to have made no effort to avoid.

Within his first 100 days, China and Mexico rapidly granted dozens of trademarks for Trump and his daughter Ivanka. The approvals from China even camethe same daythat Ivanka dined with its president, Xi Jinping. His children have been allowed to sit in on several other meetings with foreign leaders.

Meanwhile, Trump has inexplicably exempted countries where he has businesses, such as Saudi Arabia, from controversial foreign policy orders like his travel ban.

This is all to say nothing of Trump's domestic business conflicts, like supporting the White House's illegal endorsement of his daughter's clothing line.

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"All kinds of conflicts seem to be triggered here and it's disturbing that there's not more widespread concerns about that in the government," said Michael Gerhardt, a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill law professor who testified at President Bill Clinton's impeachment hearings.

An emoluments clause breach would require solid proof of Trump knowingly accepting a bribe.

That has not emerged, but the opportunities for it have continued without end.

There is one way, though, that a quid-pro-quo could be unearthed —and it could also bring an impeachment.

White House touts executive orders with no legislative win yet

There's something in those tax returns

Trump waited until he got into office to declare for good that he will never release his tax returns —breakingyears of promises to do so,and becoming the first President since Richard Nixon to keep them hidden.

There is no mechanism in place now to force Trump to release them, and the IRS cannot legally confirm or deny if it is actually doing the indefinite "audit" Trump uses as his excuse.

But the pressure for their release has been renewed.

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