Could President Trump be impeached?

A string of scandals hit the White House this week: first it was the FBI director being fired, then allegations of Trump requesting a declaration of loyalty from James Comey, as well as requesting the FBI halt investigations into Michael Flynn’s links to Russia.


Most recently Trump was accused of disclosing classified information to Russian officials, and now a prosecutor has been appointed to investigate Trump’s 2016 election campaign links to Russia.

This string of controversial events has got people wondering whether it’s all enough to have the president impeached.


Dougal Robinson, from the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney, told SBS World News that despite the latest round of gaffes from the President, impeachment is unlikely.

“Only a handful of Democrats have spoken about impeachment, the vast majority of Democrats have refrained at this point from mentioning the word impeachment,” Mr Robinson said.

“Impeachment requires a two-thirds majority in the US Senate, so that means that every Democrat and about 20 of the 52 Republican senators would have to vote against their own president.”

“We’re a long long way from that point right now.”

Historically, there has never been a US president removed from his position through impeachment proceedings.

But there were close calls when Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 were impeached by the House of Representatives, although both were acquitted in the Senate.

There was also Richard Nixon who resigned in 1974 to avoid impending impeachment after the Watergate scandal.

But there is another way Trump could be removed from the top job.

At the time there was no legal framework to remove the president and promote the vice president in a case of mental incapacity.

As a result, congress created the 25th Amendment which laid out a framework to replace the President if they were ever deemed mentally unfit for the job.

Lecturer in politics at the University of Melbourne, Raymond Orr, told SBS World News this latest intelligence leak to Russia by Trump could lead to the 25th Amendment being considered.

“This, with a number of other very serious gaffes make it possible that congress could enact something called the 25th Amendment to the Constitution,” Dr Orr said.

“Which allows Congress to declare Mike Pence to become president because Donald Trump is considered disabled, because he doesn’t know what to say, or when to say it and has a loose relationship with the facts and the world around him.

“That’s very unlikely but it’s possible.”

Dr Orr said this latest incident would not be enough to justify the 25th Amendment, but rather it may result from an accumulation of controversial actions by President Trump.

He sited events like Trump warning North Korea that an “armada” of navy ships were advancing towards them, when in fact the navy fleet was heading in the opposite direction.

“That is an incredibly potentially dangerous thing to say,” Dr Orr said. “He doesn’t know what’s going on and actually says it.”