Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig has claimed that if the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election finds evidence of a conspiracy, Hillary Clinton could still end up being president.
Lessig’s claims were credulously passed on by Newsweek in an actual news (not opinion) article titled, “HILLARY CLINTON COULD STILL BECOME PRESIDENT IF RUSSIA PROBE FINDS CONSPIRACY EVIDENCE.”
How on earth would that happen?
According to Lessig, the scenario would begin with a finding of conspiracy by special counsel Robert Mueller, followed by the simultaneous impeachment and removal from office of both President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. If all of this happened, House Speaker Paul Ryan would become president and then, according to Lessig, Ryan should do the “right thing” and nominate Hillary Clinton to be his vice president, then step aside and let her assume the presidency.
No, this is not a serious scenario, but it is Lessig’s actual contention, and Newsweek seriously reported it as a serious thing that might actually happen. According to the Newsweek story:
On Wednesday, Lessig told Newsweek this scenario was still a possibility.
“This is one way it could happen,” Lessig said. “But that’s very different from saying I think it will happen, or should happen, or [that] the evidence is there for it to happen.”
This writer’s perspective
This Newsweek article is irresponsible journalism at its worst. It is playing on the wildest fantasies of Newsweek’s audience by offering false hope to people who simply cannot accept the results of the 2016 election.
The scenario described by Lessig will never come to pass, as I suspect that even he really knows. Even step one, the simultaneous impeachment of Trump and Pence, is completely outside the realm of reasonable probability. And even if that were to happen, the idea that Paul Ryan would pick Hillary Clinton as his running made and then just blithely step aside for her to assume the presidency is ludicrous on its face. This entire scenario sounds like desperate fanfic and nothing like anything that would ever, ever happen in the modern political climate.
Lessig is a notable person of sorts and the fact that he says this is interesting, but even he acknowledges repeatedly throughout the piece that he’s describing a far-fetched scenario. Newsweek should be ashamed of passing on his fantasy scenario to their readers as a reasonable possibility.