Republican strategist and CNN commentator Alex Castellanos harshly criticized the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, but predicted that if Democrats win the House in 2018, President Donald Trump faces real danger of being impeached.
What did he say?
Appearing on ABC News' "This Week with George Stephanopolous," Castellanos expressed amazement at the charges that have been brought against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser George Papadopolous, and former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
“All we have seen is charges for tax evasion and lying to the FBI. You know, only in Washington is it an industry that people go to jail for covering up crimes they don’t commit as a standard procedure,” Castellanos said, according to The Hill.
However, Castellanos predicted that if Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore wins the Alabama special election on Dec. 12, Democrats would win control of the House in 2018, and that Democrats would then use the material uncovered by the Mueller investigation as a pretext for impeaching Trump.
According to Castellanos, if Moore “becomes the face of the Republican Party for the next year when we’re already in danger of losing the House. It’s likely we’ll do that without him, lose the House. Trump gets impeached.”
Taken together, Castellanos concluded that, “We’re closer to impeachment now than we think.”
But really, could Trump be impeached?
The Constitution provides that the president can be impeached by a simple majority of the House of the Representatives for a number of offenses, including the amorphous “high crimes and misdemeanors.” It’s unclear what qualifies, but the most likely correct answer is the one offered by former House Speaker Gerald Ford: whatever a majority of the House of Representatives deems an impeachable offense then becomes an impeachable offense.
If Democrats do retake the House of Representatives, it seems inevitable that they will attempt to impeach Trump, and they might well succeed on a party-line vote. However, in order to remove Trump from office, two thirds of the members of the United States Senate would have to vote to remove him, which is extremely unlikely to ever happen.
To win back the House, Democrats need to win 24 seats. While in the Senate, they would need to win three seats.