By Alan J. Steinberg

Ex-Bush and Whitman adviser: Trump won’t be impeached, but he will leave the presidency in 2019

January 5, 2019

President Trump will leverage the Oval Office to avoid any likely charges levied against him and his family. Will a President Pence pardon him after he resigns from office?

The major issue for political pundits regarding 2019 is whether Donald Trump’s presidency will survive the year leading into the 2020 elections. Their focus is on the likelihood as to whether Trump will be impeached by the House of Representatives and then removed by the U.S. Senate.
Trump will not be removed from office by the Constitutional impeachment and removal process.

Instead, the self-professed supreme dealmaker will use his presidency as a bargaining chip with federal and state authorities in 2019, agreeing to leave office in exchange for the relevant authorities not pursuing criminal charges against him, his children or the Trump Organization.

Trump will be impeached by the House of Representatives for high crimes and misdemeanors, specifically his involvement in directing his former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen to commit a felony by making illegal in-kind contributions to the Trump campaign and concealing them. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York has already obtained Cohen’s guilty plea to this conduct. Democrats now control the House of Representatives, and the votes will be there for the needed impeachment majority.

Aside from all the legal nightmares facing Trump and his presidency, it appears virtually impossible for Trump to be reelected in 2020.
In order for the Senate to remove Trump from office, however, there must be a vote of at least two thirds of the senators affirming the House-passed Articles of Impeachment. That would require a defection against Trump of at least 20 Republican senators.

That is highly unlikely, regardless of how compelling the impeachment case may be. All but five of the 53 GOP senators represent solid Republican Red states. Their incumbency will not be threatened by their vote against removal of the president. Each such senator runs a serious risk, however, of a pro-Trump primary election challenge if he or she supports the removal of Trump from office.

The legal danger to Trump is developing more in the office of the attorney general of New York State, the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and in the Office of the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. In response to a lawsuit from the attorney general of New York State, Donald Trump agreed to shut down the Trump Foundation. The lawsuit alleged “a shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation –- including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more.”

The lawsuit implicates all three Trump children as well, seeking to bar them, as well as their father, from serving on the boards of other New York nonprofits.
It is now clear that the investigations of Donald Trump are now focused on possible criminal conduct of the Trump children, as well. Donald Trump Jr. has reportedly told confidants that he expects to be indicted by Special Counsel Robert S. Mueller III for actions taken by him during the campaign as well.

Having succeeded in obtaining Cohen’s guilty plea, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York can now investigate whether there is any evidence of other involvement of the Trump Organization in criminal activity, including money laundering crimes, tax evasion or bribes from foreign officials or governments, which are illegal under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Such evidence could lead to indictment of the Trump Organization itself and seizure of assets derived from such criminal activity.

Aside from all the legal nightmares facing Trump and his presidency, it appears virtually impossible for Trump to be reelected in 2020. The economy appears headed for a severe recession, as evidenced by the recent plunge in the stock market, which appears on pace for its worst December since the Great Depression.
There are only two years left in Trump’s presidential term. With his approval ratings in an abysmal state, and the forthcoming recession making it near impossible for Trump to stage a political recovery, it appears most likely that he will use the continuation of his presidency as a bargaining chip.

Accordingly, before the end of 2019, Donald Trump will resign from the office of the presidency: He will do this pursuant to a deal with the U.S. Justice Department, the incoming President Mike Pence, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the New York Attorney General’s Office, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Here’s my prediction for a possible Trump departure:
Trump resigns, to then be pardoned by Pence. In turn, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York and the New York State Attorney General will refrain from filing any charges against Trump and his family members and agree that there will be no forfeiture of Trump Organization assets.
We will know by this time in 2020 how accurate this scenario turns out to be.

(Source: NJ)