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Old 10-25-2019, 11:56 AM
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Trump is impeached. How quickly, or even could he be removed before the election?


Let's say that Trump does, indeed get impeached by both houses. Whether you think this is likely or not, for the purposes of this thread it happens. The evidence is so damning and conclusive that enough Republicans are on board with doing it. So, first question...how quickly could it happen if that's the case? Let's say a total bombshell falls (I think several have already fallen at this point, but something REALLY big...so big that it's incontrovertible), say, next week. How quickly would/could the process go to impeach him, and then remove him? What time frame might we be looking at, realistically, given the scenario above?

Is there even enough time, if it all comes together, to impeach and remove Trump before the election? If that does happen, what happens to Trump's current re-election run? I assume...and this might be a bad assumption, which is why I'm asking...that if he's impeached, he can't continue his campaign. Is that true?

This stuff is probably more GQ type questions, with some Pit and GD thrown in for how contentious this might be, but what I'd like to hear is more fact based answers. Since it's about Trump and the election, this seemed to be the right forum.
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:02 PM
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That's a fair question. Now that you mention it I am wondering myself. If these were normal times, the House and the Senate could speed up the process if the Senate gave word through back channels that removal was a slam dunk. But the Senate GOP is not to be trusted, so even in this situation the House might need to formally investigate all of its best leads to their conclusions so the Senate can't renege and be like "that's all you have? LAME! Innocent!"
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:06 PM
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There are no particular due process requirements that take time and there are no appeals from conviction in the Senate. If Republican Senators came on board with removal, it could likely happen within a few days. The "if" there is so big, it could collapse into a star under its own gravity.
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Old 10-25-2019, 02:34 PM
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There are no particular due process requirements that take time and there are no appeals from conviction in the Senate. If Republican Senators came on board with removal, it could likely happen within a few days.
In an ideal world, the House would impeach in the morning, the Senate would convict after lunch, and John Roberts would bang his gavel onto a trap door release button.
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:09 PM
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I don't think that's really knowable considering no president has ever been removed from office.

My impression is the Democrats want to get the impeachment part over as quickly as possible but that might not be possible before the end of the year if that.

The Senate? Who knows? As long as they want it to. In the unlikely scenario that the senate has the evidence and will to remove him, as in your imagined case, probably a few months? Clinton was acquitted in 6 months so it seems reasonable that a removal could take at least that long. I seen no tactical advantages for the republicans to drag a lose out to right before the elections. I can see a case for acquitting a month before the elections, a removal, no. That leaves zero time for a plan B.

Last edited by Ashtura; 10-25-2019 at 12:11 PM.
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:13 PM
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I was thinking along the same lines. What would happen If a president running for reelection is removed from office before the election? Suppose it's only a month or two before. They really wouldn't have time to get a new candidate in place. Would they have primaries? Or how would the nominee be selected? Or leave the president on the ballot, and have the electorial college work it out. They could select anybody.
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:20 PM
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I was thinking along the same lines. What would happen If a president running for reelection is removed from office before the election? Suppose it's only a month or two before. They really wouldn't have time to get a new candidate in place. Would they have primaries? Or how would the nominee be selected? Or leave the president on the ballot, and have the electorial college work it out. They could select anybody.
Well, you can't reinstate Trump if he's removed. I have a feeling in such a late breaking scenario, that Pence would be "default republican candidate". Few republicans are going to really want to run a month after Trump was removed from office, and Pence sort of has an obligation to carry on like Ford did.
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:31 PM
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The Senate could vote to disqualify him from future public office in addition to removing him. So if conviction happens late in the campaign, then Republicans will just have to nominate someone else. If it's too late to get on the ballot in some states, tough cookies. Hitch your wagon to an untamed horse and you take a chance on wiping out.
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Old 10-25-2019, 01:46 PM
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I was thinking along the same lines. What would happen If a president running for reelection is removed from office before the election? Suppose it's only a month or two before. They really wouldn't have time to get a new candidate in place. Would they have primaries? Or how would the nominee be selected? Or leave the president on the ballot, and have the electorial college work it out. They could select anybody.
Found this from 2008. Should apply as well to removal by resignation or impeachment as well.
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... what would happen if one of the presidential candidates were to die or become otherwise incapacitated before Election Day: Would Palin or Biden assume the nomination?

Not necessarily. Each party has its own protocol for this scenario, but in neither case does the running mate automatically take over the ticket. If John McCain were to die before the election, the rules of the Republican Party authorize the Republican National Committee to fill the vacancy, either by reconvening a national convention or by having RNC state representatives vote. The new nominee must receive a majority vote to officially become the party candidate. If Barack Obama were to die before the election, the Democratic Party’s charter and bylaws state that responsibility for filling that vacancy would fall to the Democratic National Committee, but the rules do not specify how exactly the DNC would go about doing that. (Congress could also pass a special statute and push back Election Day, giving the dead candidate’s party time to regroup.)
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:42 PM
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The timeline for the Clinton impeachment was this:

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The impeachment of Bill Clinton was initiated on October 8, 1998, when the United States House of Representatives voted to commence impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton, 42nd president of the United States, for "high crimes and misdemeanors", which were subsequently detailed in two articles of impeachment. The specific charges against the president were lying under oath and obstruction of justice, charges that stemmed from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Clinton by Paula Jones. The catalyst for the president's impeachment was the Starr Report, a September 1998 report prepared by Independent Counsel Ken Starr for the House Judiciary Committee.[1]

On December 19, 1998, Clinton became the second American president to be impeached (the other being Andrew Johnson who was impeached in 1868),[a] when the House formally adopted the articles of impeachment and forwarded them to the United States Senate for adjudication. The trial in the Senate began in January 1999, with Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding. On February 12, Clinton was acquitted on both counts as neither received the necessary two-thirds majority vote of the senators present for conviction and removal from office – in this instance 67. On Article One, 45 senators voted to convict while 55 voted for acquittal. On Article Two, 50 senators voted to convict while 50 voted for acquittal.[3] Consequently, Clinton remained in office for the balance of his second term.[4]
So ... ~4 months from formal vote to open the impeachment inquiry to final vote in the Senate.

Yeah, they've got plenty of time to get it done before the election. The Senate has the option, but is not required, to impose a punishment that bars the President from holding office again. If they did so, and if it were late enough that the Republicans couldn't decide on a candidate and get him on the ballot in some states, I don't know. I suspect you'd have some emergency appeal court cases.
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Old 10-25-2019, 01:20 PM
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I think the answer is anywhere between "less than a few days" and "never", depending on the political calculation in the Senate, since there is no defined time limits on the process.

Hypothetically, a scenario where Trump is revealed with out a doubt to be a North Korean plant, caught trying to supply them with the nuclear launch codes (with video evidence, multiple confessions, etc) would get the process moving pretty quickly.

Anything less than incontrovertible evidence that the president represents a clear and imminent danger is going to have the process time decided almost soley upon:

1. current Trump approval ratings for Republican voters in the individual Republican senator's states, especially during primary season for senators subject to reelection

2. current Trump approval ratings for all voters in the individual Republican senator's states (or for senators like Joe Manchin who need to court republican & independent voters), especially after primary season for senators subject to reelection.

3. How well the individual senator thinks that dragging the process out ("let's hear more evidence!" "the election is only xx months away, let's let the people decide!" "We need more time to dig up dirt on all the witnesses!") is going to influence 1 & 2 above, weighed against the risk of future new bombshells dropping.
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Old 10-25-2019, 12:47 PM
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A fun interactive. It starts with defaults set to at Clinton and Nixon baselines. With that as the default we are looking at acquittal (or conviction I guess) on March 23.

Assuming such huge bombshells that support for impeachment conviction is 50% or more even within GOP voting groups, yet Trump would not resign, then one would suppose that GOP leadership would want to speed it along, to have at least some time to choose a candidate.There is no reason it could not go very fast. Why not by mid January? House puts on its show and the Senate trial is kept for a short as leaders think the public will tolerate.


A party can change its bylaws for choosing a candidate anytime they want. There is no Constitutional requirement to have a primary and/or caucus system. Each state's leadership could select delegates and those delegates could decide at an open convention on short notice if need be.

Note the similar circumstance could be created if Trump drops dead of a heart attack or stroke in late September or in October. How is it chosen who is their nominee? The VP candidate or the runner up in the nomination process, such as it was, or what?
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Old 10-25-2019, 02:27 PM
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Let's say that Trump does, indeed get impeached by both houses.
Only one house has the power of impeachment.
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Old 10-25-2019, 02:38 PM
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I'm pretty sure Trump could still run for another term unless explicitly barred from doing so. Impeachment only removes one from office.

As for the timeline, I always assumed it would be effectively instantaneous. Once the Senate convicts, that should be it right there, and then it is, "Sir, we are here to escort you out of the White House. *Sigh* yes you can bring your phone."
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Old 10-25-2019, 02:46 PM
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I'm pretty sure Trump could still run for another term unless explicitly barred from doing so. Impeachment only removes one from office.
Constitution I.3.7: "Judgment in Cases of impeachment shall not extend further than to removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States"

I've seen some discussion here and there on whether the disqualification is part and parcel of removal, or whether it requires an explicit addition - not sure there's a firm legal decision there?
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Old 10-25-2019, 02:55 PM
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I'm pretty sure Trump could still run for another term unless explicitly barred from doing so. Impeachment only removes one from office.

As for the timeline, I always assumed it would be effectively instantaneous. Once the Senate convicts, that should be it right there, and then it is, "Sir, we are here to escort you out of the White House. *Sigh* yes you can bring your phone."
Huh. You are right.
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Originally Posted by snopes
... They also limited the possible punishments that the Senate may impose to “removal from Office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any Office of honor, Trust or Profit under the United States.” But they only required that an impeached and convicted official “be removed from office” – but did not mandate that the person also be disqualified from holding a future office.

Nowhere does the Constitution define the standards for disqualification. Moreover, the Senate has declined to establish a standard.

But, as Ohio State University law professor William Foley points out, Senate procedures require separate votes to convict someone of an impeachable offense and to impose a disqualification penalty.

So even if President Trump were impeached and convicted, there is the possibility that he could be reelected to the same office from which he had been removed. ...
So the Senate could vote to convict and to remove but not to disqualify and the GOP could leave him in place as the nominee ... if the convention was already held they might not have any choice but to?
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Old 10-25-2019, 02:34 PM
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Could the Senate just decide to never hold the trial portion?
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Old 10-25-2019, 03:59 PM
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Could the Senate just decide to never hold the trial portion?
McConnell has gone on record as saying the constitution requires him to hold a trial in those circumstances. I’m pretty sure he will hold the trial. What form it will take is a different question.
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Old 10-25-2019, 03:27 PM
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I think a lot of the responses have been fighting the hypothetical, arguing about how long the Senate will drag out the trial. The stated assumption is that something happens (or is publicly revealed) that is big enough for a sufficient percentage of Republicans to be behind convicting Trump and removing him from office.

That leaves the question as "How long will the process take?"

The House would still have to have hearings and depositions, draw up the formal Articles of Impeachment, and vote on them. Depending on the charges, there would likely be lots of smaller fish to catch in the net, so there would be referrals to investigative agencies as facts were established. Barring extraordinary circumstances, even with a slam-dunk case, I would expect them to take at least a month to get the ducks in a row. With the holiday season coming up, if they don't call special sessions, the formalities could stretch into January.

The Senate, by contrast, could potentially do its part in a day or two: read the Articles, review key evidence, allow the defense to present its case, then vote. The defense lawyers could try to drag it out some by pounding on the table, but I doubt they'd be allowed to do so for long. Whatever else may be said of Roberts, he's been a judge long enough to recognize stall tactics when he sees them.

Once the Senate votes, that's all she wrote. Article II, Section 4 says:
Quote:
Originally Posted by U.S. Constitution, Article II, Section 4
The President, Vice President and all Civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.
By my reading, that "on...Conviction" means removal is effective instantly when the vote is tallied. At that moment, the former President is stripped of all authority, and whoever is next in line at that moment becomes President.

All of that is to address how long the process would probably take. However, it suggests a much lower minimum time. The Constitution doesn't specify anything about the trial itself; technically, the Senate doesn't have to allow defense arguments at all. If we posit a hypothetical piece of evidence that clearly marks the President as a clear and present danger to the US, the process could theoretically take place as fast as you could convene both chambers and shuttle Roberts over to the Senate to preside. The Speaker could write a one-liner Articles of Impeachment on the way ("The President, having declared on live television that he would order a nuclear strike against one U.S. city per day until a Constitutional amendment is passed making him President for life, has demonstrated that he is unfit to hold the office of the Presidency."). The House is called to order and votes as soon as a quorum is in their seats, unanimously approving the articles and sending them to the Senate. As soon as the Chief Justice is in place, the Articles are read, the Chief Justice decrees whatever formalities he considers appropriate (probably minimal, under the circumstances), and then the vote is held.

If both houses are already in session, the biggest time factor could theoretically be "How long does it take the Chief Justice to cross the street?"

Last edited by Balance; 10-25-2019 at 03:29 PM. Reason: Additional posts while I was typing the wall of text changed the direction of the thread a bit.
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Old 10-25-2019, 03:31 PM
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If he is convicted by the senate, Pence would immediately become president. As for Trump’s campaign, I assume Pence would step into the top spot, choose someone as his VP, and things would keep rolling right along.
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Old 10-25-2019, 03:36 PM
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If he were eliminated in the last couple of weeks, and it comes with ineligibility for re-election, and it is too late to eliminate him from the ballot, Pence could still win because I assume that the Electors that were pledged to the now-invalid Trump on the ballot could vote instead for Pence and another player to be named later in the unlikely event that they should win enough Electors in this chaotic situation.

Speaking of which, I wonder if that still holds in the even more unlikely scenario where Taliban Trump is impeached after a successful reelection. I assume the GOP - even if not Trump himself - would still win the Presidency, due to the Electoral College.

Last edited by Ludovic; 10-25-2019 at 03:37 PM.
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Old 10-25-2019, 05:06 PM
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If he were eliminated in the last couple of weeks, and it comes with ineligibility for re-election, and it is too late to eliminate him from the ballot, Pence could still win because I assume that the Electors that were pledged to the now-invalid Trump on the ballot could vote instead for Pence and another player to be named later in the unlikely event that they should win enough Electors in this chaotic situation.

Speaking of which, I wonder if that still holds in the even more unlikely scenario where Taliban Trump is impeached after a successful reelection. I assume the GOP - even if not Trump himself - would still win the Presidency, due to the Electoral College.
If it happened after the election and the reelected president were disqualified from office, then the electors would still be the electors and either someone has to decide whom they will vote for or they split their votes randomly and the house chooses the president from among the top three, each state having one vote. It would be a disaster. The last time the house chose the president (1824) it went on for months. Meantime, I guess the old VP would remain president.
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Old 10-25-2019, 06:07 PM
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If it happened after the election and the reelected president were disqualified from office, then the electors would still be the electors and either someone has to decide whom they will vote for or they split their votes randomly and the house chooses the president from among the top three, each state having one vote. It would be a disaster. The last time the house chose the president (1824) it went on for months. Meantime, I guess the old VP would remain president.
No. There would be a VP elected, and that person would be "acting President" until (and unless) the House chose one. (20th Amendment, Section 3.)
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Old 10-25-2019, 06:38 PM
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Do the Senate's rules permit a senator to call for an immediate vote following a brief presentation of prosecution charges and a rudimentary defense? If so, can the trial be abbreviated to mere days, if that long? If not, do Senate procedures allow any similar blockage of a full prosecution? Roberts presides, yes, but how flexibly?
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Old 10-25-2019, 09:22 PM
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Do the Senate's rules permit a senator to call for an immediate vote following a brief presentation of prosecution charges and a rudimentary defense? If so, can the trial be abbreviated to mere days, if that long? If not, do Senate procedures allow any similar blockage of a full prosecution? Roberts presides, yes, but how flexibly?
I think not and I hope not. What I think happens is that as soon as the Senate is officially notified of the impeachment that they stop all other business, give John Roberts a call, and from then until the vote they're nothing more than jurors and Roberts will preside just like any judge in any trial.
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Old 11-04-2019, 02:57 PM
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Do the Senate's rules permit a senator to call for an immediate vote following a brief presentation of prosecution charges and a rudimentary defense? If so, can the trial be abbreviated to mere days, if that long? If not, do Senate procedures allow any similar blockage of a full prosecution? Roberts presides, yes, but how flexibly?
Kind of. Robert Byrd moved for a dismissal right after the Managers presented their case against Clinton but it was voted down.
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Old 10-29-2019, 04:28 PM
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Yes, everyone, we know that the Senate doesn't impeach. The impeachment process still involves both houses, though, and it's perfectly clear what "impeached by both houses" means.

As for how quickly Pence would be sworn in after the conviction? In cases where the President has died, the VP has been sworn in very quickly, IIRC less than an hour for Lyndon Johnson. I don't see why this sudden vacancy would be any different.

And any subsequent election would be decided in the Electoral College, just like all elections are. The most likely scenario would be that the ballots would be unchanged, and the "electors pledged to support Donald Trump" would be instructed by the RNC to vote for some other candidate picked by the RNC (who might or might not be Pence). Whether they would or not would be up to them, but they got the position of (prospective) elector in the first place because they were loyal to the party. State laws concerning faithless electors might also come into play, but those laws are probably unconstitutional, and would probably be found as such if they were ever seriously challenged (as they would be in this case).
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Old 10-29-2019, 05:09 PM
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The Senate could vote to disqualify him from future public office in addition to removing him. So if conviction happens late in the campaign, then Republicans will just have to nominate someone else. If it's too late to get on the ballot in some states, tough cookies. Hitch your wagon to an untamed horse and you take a chance on wiping out.

If the senate, by some miracle, did convict and remove him, Democrats should vote no to barring him from running again. Saddle them with him in 2020 and onward.
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Old 11-01-2019, 01:57 PM
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when nixon resigned, ford was sworn in, it took a bit for nixon to be totally packed up and ford was in blair house while things were turned around in the white house. nixon had time to get some things together as he was warned ahead of time that the senate would convict.

should trump be convicted in the senate, things would move much faster. pence would be sworn in with alacrity, and would spend time in blair house.

sanford, walsh, and weld are the republicans that have so far put their names forward for president. should things be done by the end of the year, anyone of them could do well in primaries. perhaps if trump is out of the way kasich may throw his hat in.
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Old 11-03-2019, 05:09 PM
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If the Senate votes for Guilty, then Pence and Chief Justice Roberts are both right there. I suspect that Pence would have his Bible ready to hand for the swearing in. 15 minutes, tops.
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Old 11-03-2019, 06:57 PM
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The key to Trump's survival is Mitch McConnell, and to a lesser extent, Lindsay Graham, which is ironic when you consider how both have been attacked and chastened by Trump's base. But while they may fear Trump's base, they are also the ones who will punish Trump if the base so much as shrinks. As long as McConnell and the senate conservatives fear Trump's base, they will protect him. But if the base starts to peel voters, then you'll probably see senators, many of whom have crossed Trump, abandon Trump, not so much to punish Trump but to save their party in the senate.
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