Trump's odds of staying in office: The Day 6 Impeach-O-Meter for December 21
'When do Republicans decide he's enough of a deadweight to cut him loose?'
When Donald Trump generates headlines, Day 6 fires up the "Impeach-O-Meter," inviting political experts to estimate the odds his presidency will end in impeachment. These are, of course, subjective and hypothetical scores and the impeachment process is complex and dependent on many factors.
It has been another eventful week for U.S. President Donald Trump.
First, Trump's former national security advisor, Michael Flynn, decided to postpone his sentencing hearing so he could have more of an opportunity to cooperate in federal investigations. Flynn's decision came after a federal judge tore into him in court, saying he "sold his country out" and even suggesting what he did might be considered treasonous.
Meanwhile, Trump dissolved the Trump Foundation after allegations from the New York Attorney General that its charitable activities were basically non-existent.
Then, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis resigned, a day after Trump's surprise announcement that the U.S. will withdraw the country's troops from Syria.
So, we decided to fire up the Impeach-O-Meter for one last time in 2018. Every few weeks, we check in on the odds of U.S. President Donald Trump being impeached, from one, meaning totally safe in the White House, to 100, meaning impeachment is imminent.
When we last checked in, Elizabeth Holtzman, a former Democratic Congresswoman, put the odds of impeachment at 70 per cent — a 45 per cent increase over the previous prediction.
Slate senior editor Dahlia Lithwick has run the numbers on the Impeach-O-Meter before — but things have changed since her last appearance on our show in September of 2017.
Here's what she had to say this week:
I think it's really important to keep separating in our heads whether President Trump has committed demonstrably impeachable crimes, and whether you're going to get two-thirds of Republicans in the senate to impeach him.
On the one front, I think it's clear with every passing day that the kinds of things the president can be tagged for, ranging from the ongoing obstruction probe to collusion with Russia, these conspiracy crimes that include lying; having Michael Cohen lie to the American public, to federal officials — all of those things are really bad, and they're impeachable.
But the only question, I think, is whether Republicans are going to, at some point, peel off and let him twist in the wind.
When we talked a year ago, I said I thought it was unlikely, but to watch people like John McCain and Lindsay Graham, I think it's a little more likely now. I think Republicans are getting a little tired of him now.
Republicans are pulling their hair out about the wall, they're pulling their hair out about the Syria withdrawal. They're now facing a shutdown that none of them wanted, and historic losses in the 2018 elections.
So to my mind, if the only question is when do Republicans decide he's enough of a deadweight to cut him loose? And I think we're inching up there.
So, where does Dahlia Lithwick place the odds of a Donald Trump impeachment this week?
"I think that this week he is at a whopping 38-and-a-half per cent," she says.
That marks a 21.5 per cent drop from Elizabeth Holtzman's ranking two weeks ago, but an increase from Dahlia Lithwick's more tempered assessment from just over a year ago.
We'll continue to track the numbers in the weeks to come and you can follow along here.
To hear Dahlia Lithwick give her Impeach-O-Meter prediction, download our podcast or click the 'Listen' button at the top of this page.