We’ve already had an article of Impeachment filed by a congressman, so it’s not too early to start talking about impeachment and what that could mean for both the presidency as well as the balance of power within Congress.
There has been a lot of talk lately about what would happen if both President Trump and Vice President Pence were to be implicated in some sort of Russian collusion conspiracy, forcing the House to vote on impeachment proceedings. Many have surmised that if both men were to be removed from office then the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan would assume the office of the Presidency. If Ryan is not also implicated in the conspiracy and impeached himself, then this is true right now. With that said, the likelihood that the House of Representatives, with a 240-to-194 Republican majority, would vote in the first place to impeach Republican President Trump is quite a stretch. If, however, there is enough evidence to convince 24 Republicans to vote for impeachment, then the Senate remains another major hurdle.
The Senate acts as the jury and judge in any impeachment hearing and the Constitution requires that two-thirds, or 67 of the 100 Senators would need to vote to convict the President and Vice President of crimes that warrant the removal from office. Currently Republicans control the Senate with 52 seats to the Democrats’ 46 seats. There are also two independents, who both caucus with Democrats. This would mean that 19 Republican Senators and both Independents would need to vote to convict. This too is a long-shot.
Now, if the evidence exists that both Trump and Pence have committed crimes such as treason, obstruction of justice or perjury, and the American people have had enough, yet Republicans in Congress and Senate refuse to act via impeachment and conviction, then it’s very likely that Democrats will take back dozens of congressional seats in the 2018 mid-term elections. These newly elected Democrats would assume office on January 3rd, 2019 and immediately begin impeachment proceedings. This time, however, if Democrats won back control of the House, and both Pence and Trump were removed from office, the line of succession would move the Speaker of the House into the position of President. This would equate to a President Nancy Pelosi, unless the Democrats decide to choose another Speaker of the House.
While it is much too early to begin considering the implications of both Pence and Trump being removed from office at the same time, it does appear as if Nancy Pelosi right now has a better chance as ascending to the Presidency than Paul Ryan would.