EDITORIAL: Trump is far from finished

There’s no easy path to impeachment

Think U.S. President Donald Trump is on his last legs and impeachment is just around the corner? You might want to rethink that.

Obstruction of justice charges against Trump — and possibly worse — seems likely, given Michael Flynn’s pleading guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations with Russia’s U.S. ambassador and Trump’s request former FBI director James Comey go easy on the former national security advisor.

No matter what charges special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation eventually brings against Trump, the process of impeaching, convicting and removing a president from office is entirely a political one.

Considering that it has to go through both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, it’s going to be difficult. It’s so difficult it has never happened in the U.S.’s nearly 250-year history. Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton were impeached, but acquitted; Nixon resigned to avoid his near-certain impeachment.

The Democrats might take control of the house in the U.S. midterm elections, giving them the necessary votes but as it stands now, passing articles of impeachment is unlikely. The mass defection of Republican politicians is just not going to happen, given that the rank and file conservative voters still support Trump, despite his lunacy. Even then, the Senate would have to try and convict Trump, and the outcome of that is by no means certain.

The U.S. media and many others may talk about Trump’s lack of support, but once you get outside the cities and into the red territories where many of Trump’s Republican supporters dwell, his approval rating is still high, in the 80 per cent range, according to recent Gallup polls.

Few Republican congressmen and senators are going to jump ship and impeach a president who commands that kind of support from the people who put him, and them, in office.

It might just be time to resign yourself to hearing about the antics of our southern neighbour’s leader for a while longer. Maybe a lot longer.

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