Guest Opinions

On New Year’s, I dreamed President Trump gets impeached. And that’s just the beginning …

President Donald Trump boards Air Force One Jan. 1, 2018.
President Donald Trump boards Air Force One Jan. 1, 2018. NYT

I suppose it was inevitable that I would have political dreams.

I was brought up in a political family and have been involved in politics all my life. As 2017 turned to 2018, having a strange dream about politics should have been expected. It was just as inevitable the politics I envisioned involved Donald Trump, his administration, tweets, battles with his own Republican majority in Congress and Republican Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

What amazed me, however, was that as I slept in the early hours of Jan. 1, 2018, I would have an absolutely fantastic vision of what to expect in 2018 on the national political front. It was a clear, if totally improbable, series of events that I felt I should share because as absurd as they are, in this time, with this president and this Congress, anything seems possible.

It all starts on Jan. 8, 2018, when Congress returns to session to begin a brief period of work before taking another vacation. President Trump announces shortly thereafter he has reached an agreement with a group of moderate Republicans and Democrats on a major infrastructure bill.

It will be funded by eliminating the carried-interest loophole and dedicating all tax revenues from repatriated overseas profits of multinational corporations. Part of the deal is that the so-called DACA immigrants are to be granted full citizenship and immune from deportation. Democrats will support an “electronic wall” enhancing border security, but no concrete edifice. Trump also repeats his pledge that he will not support any effort to restructure Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.

Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the Freedom Caucus are all outraged. The new coalition, however, appears to have the votes even if the deficit will grow larger under the plan.

In early June, the plan passes. Trump signs the bill, even though an amendment is added to stabilize the insurance rates and subsidize the program under Obamacare (which Trump states he has supported from the beginning).

In mid-July, Mueller issues his final report, following the additional guilty pleas and indictments of several past and present White House and Trump campaign staff members, who admit cooperation existed between the Trump campaign, transition team and White House with Russia. Mueller also finds both Trump and Vice President Mike Pence knew of the cooperative efforts and actively participated in them — and later in cover-up and obstruction-of-justice efforts.

Mueller, however, states that only Congress can determine whether the actions are high crimes and misdemeanors for which the president and vice president should be impeached.

Democratic members of the House file articles of impeachment. In late August, the Republican majority tables them.

In the November elections, a tidal wave of votes gives Democrats a majority advantage of some 40 seats in the House and a 60-40 Democratic majority in the Senate. The Senate Democrats remain seven votes shy of the necessary two-thirds to be able to vote to convict and remove a president or vice president from office. The new Democratic majorities will take office in January 2019.

Republican leadership is in a panic. McConnell and Ryan realize that if both Trump and Pence are impeached and convicted by the new Democratic Congress, that the soon-to-be speaker of the House — Nancy Pelosi — would be next in line of succession and in all likelihood become the next president. She also likely would appoint a new Democratic vice president.

No one knows for sure, since this has never happened before.

Several Republicans state they will support impeachment. After several closed-door meetings, House and Senate Republicans, still in charge of Congress, agree: Trump and Pence must be impeached and convicted before the new Democratic Congress is sworn in. That would make current House Speaker Ryan the next president. They also agree that McConnell should be vice president (although Rex Tillerson is given serious consideration).

The articles of impeachment are passed on a Republican-dominated bipartisan vote in the House, and convictions are gained in the Senate with 67 votes (including votes from several Republican senators Trump had vilified in the prior two years and in the 2018 primaries).

On Dec. 30, 2018, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are sworn in as president and vice president of the United States.

My dream ends with 2018.

This is, of course, a crazy vision. I’m not saying that my first dream of the year was rational, or legally correct, only interesting.

Happy New Year!

Mike Wetherell is a member of the Statesman Editorial Board. He’s a Democrat who served 17 years as a Boise city councilman and 12 years as a District Court judge before retiring in 2015.

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