The question has been asked often since the day of President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Now, in the wake of his decision Tuesday to fire FBI Director James Comey, the issue has returned to the forefront: Will Trump be impeached as a result of the Russia investigation?
In fact, at Paddy Power, an Irish betting house, the odds are in impeachment’s favor at 60 percent.
Reports The Independent, a newspaper in London:
A Paddy Power spokesman said: “In the past 24 hours alone we’ve seen money for Trump to be impeached in his first term, resulting in us cutting the odds from 10/11 into 4/6.
As for the crime that will lead to Trump’s impeachment, Paddy Power has 4/1 odds on tax evasion, 6/1 odds on treason, and 7/1 odds on perjury.
Also per The Independent:
Betfair said its peer-to-peer Exchange platform saw “a rush of activity in the 24 hours after the announcement”. A huge £100,000 bet on Mr Trump to leave before the end of his first term helped shift odds from 15/8 to 11/10, it said.
Of course, the existence of impeachable offenses doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll happen. And odds in a betting house are very different from odds in reality.
Even so, those long-shot odds haven’t been enough to banish the word from the lips of both politicians and the public alike. While it’s likely still too early to predict with certainty if Trump will be impeached and convicted, the probability of that outcome is worth talking about.
It could be the opposite of what Trump was hoping would happen after he fired James Comey, but the likelihood that the president will face impeachment as a result of the investigation into Russian election meddling seems to have grown, albeit slightly, in the past week.
Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal, speaking about Comey’s firing, said on CNN on Wednesday, “It may well produce impeachment proceedings, although we’re very far from that possibility.” He also called the situation a “looming constitutional crisis.”
Far away as we may be from that possibility, the fact that Blumenthal, a high-ranking Senator, would even suggest the course of action is significant. Comey’s firing, Blumenthal implied, could be looked back on in coming months as the catalyst for eventual impeachment.
Confirmation that the Russia investigation is proceeding was given on Thursday by Andrew McCabe, the acting FBI director, in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
“Simply put, sir, you cannot stop the men and women of the FBI from doing the right thing, protecting the American people and upholding the Constitution,” McCabe said to Senator Marco Rubio, maybe paying a little lip service during his first week on the job.
McCabe also said that the White House will not be given updates on the status of the probe.
Another litmus test for the likelihood of Trump’s impeachment, also referenced by Blumenthal, is the similarity of the current situation to the Watergate scandal that forced President Richard Nixon out of office.
“It may well produce another United States vs. Nixon on a subpoena that went to the United States Supreme Court,” said Blumenthal.
Trump’s similarities to Nixon have been well-documented, both in terms of his temperament and the way in which he was elected. Trump firing Comey only strengthens that parallel, some say, betraying efforts by the president to cover up for the criminal actions of his subordinates — Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, and others.
With Watergate, it was the cover-up, not the crime itself, that ultimately doomed the president. Time will tell if the Russia investigation follows the same course.