With new evidence being reported every day. It’s becoming more and more a possibility that collusion between the Trump Campaign and Russia will be proven; and Donald Trump was involved. In the same manner that Republicans have demanded the repeal of Obamacare for years and had no plan when given the chance. It’s possible that those who have wished to see Trump impeached or otherwise evicted. Have no plan for what to do should they get their wish. If Trump is ousted… what next?
What is reported so far includes a witness indicating Trump himself was involved in changing RNC Platform language in favor of Russia in exchange for the release of leaked data intended to help Trump win the election. There are records of real estate transactions where Trump got millions from Russian buyers far above what the market seemed to indicate was reasonable. There are conversations about Congressional investigations subpoenaing his Tax Returns which could reveal Russian ties? I think it more likely it would reveal fraud and possibly like Al Capone. Trump could be convicted of tax evasion instead of the many other crimes he’s likely guilty of. So if and when Trump is ousted. What’s the next step?
I think it very much depends on the manner in which Trump leaves. The three known legal options are Impeachment, invoking the 25th Amendment, and resignation. There also doesn’t seem to be any mechanism for contesting the results of a Presidential election once the Electoral College has voted and the results certified.
If Trump is Impeached. The Impeachment would apply to the President alone. Vice-President Pence would assume the office and the remainder of the Administration would stay intact. Pence could replace any of staff or Cabinet who all serve, “at the will of the President.” Or they could remain.
If the 25th Amendment is utilized because Trump is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.” It would mean that Pence and a majority of existing Cabinet members had usurped control. This leaves Pence still in charge.
If Trump resigned, the long standing plan for succession would give us Mike Pence again as the President. A case could be made that those who opposed Trump and his policies, might find a President Pence to ultimately be a scarier thing. Whereas Trump lacks discipline, Pence would bring a laser-like focus o his duties and would soon fill the legislature with Bills intent on enforcing his moral authority. As Governor of Indiana, he had no problem coming up with discriminatory laws later found Unconstitutional.
I’m not sure there is a clear way for Trump to be deposed that doesn’t escort Mike Pence into the Oval Office. Republicans, perhaps sensing the coming storm, have gone to great lengths to distance Pence from Trump’s Russian connections. We were all told that Gen. Mike Flynn “lied to” Pence, leading to Flynn’s resignation. Isn’t it just as likely that Pence knew? Any thought that Mike Pence never would have lied had he known the truth can be dismissed by watching any of his campaign interviews or the Vice-Presidential Debate.
The case will have to be made that the collusion with Russia was a conspiracy involving most of the top members of the Campaign and now Executive Branch. Surely Bannon knew? Flynn, Sessions, and a couple other former staff members can be linked to Russia. Tillerson has sat idly by while the State Department has been systematically dismantled. All the career staffers with any sense of institutional memory have been let go. If the case for a conspiracy can be proven. Perhaps the case can be made to the Supreme Court to vacate the election results? While the House of Representatives or the Senate can vacate election results in their own respective bodies. Neither can do anything about a Presidential election.
It’s almost certain that Republicans will use every mechanism available to them to see Mike Pence installed as President. It will take a public uproar never before seen to get them to relent. They’ll gladly sacrifice Trump for Pence which only brings them closer to their goals. The one almost certainty is that Trump himself will sing to the high heavens if it would keep him out of prison. He really wouldn’t do very well there.