At some point, Donald Trump will no longer be President. Aside from the case where he might die in office, that means that we will have Former President Trump doing whatever he’s going to do. It seems to me he could cause a lot of trouble for the next administration, particularly a Democratic administration, and on a number of fronts.
Let’s start with the “cleanest” case - that of removal from office by the Senate. As unlikely as this seems, it is a possibility. The upside (to my mind) of this case is that upon removal Trump no longer has the powers of the Presidency with which to do damage. On the other hand, he will be pissed, and inclined to vent his spleen far and wide. I could see him continuing to hold rallies of various flavors, and I’m sure he’d find a home on Fox News, in both of which venues he can fire up his base to…well, I’m not sure what ends exactly, but likely not constructive ones.
In addition, he will continue his quest for as much attention and money as he can acquire. What are the chances that he will divulge sensitive, perhaps even highly classified, information in order to sell books and secure speaking gigs? What mechanisms are in place to put reins on an ex-President who feels unbound by convention, common sense, and patriotism?
Should Trump leave office due to losing the 2020 election all of the above applies, but in addition he will have 2-1/2 months in which he will feel completely free to do whatever he feels like doing with the powers of his office. Pardons a-plenty would seem likely. I’m sure there would be a ton of executive orders enacting I’m-not-sure-what awful policies, but the President has broad authority within the national security, defense, and homeland security areas, and I could see things getting real ugly in those spheres.
Would the outgoing administration cooperate with the incoming administration’s transition team? Given that Trump put very little stock in the concept of his own transition team, why would he put any effort into making the incoming President’s job any easier?
What are the chances that significant numbers of documents and records get destroyed or, “misplaced?” What mechanisms and safeguards exist to prevent such sabotage?
I’m sure there’s plenty else that this particular bull in our china shop could do. What do y’all think is likely, and what can be done to curb Trump unbound?