A former adviser to President George W. Bush says that President Trump will resign sometime in 2019, so he and his family can receive immunity from criminal prosecution.
Alan J. Steinberg, a former EPA regional administrator, wrote in the Star-Ledger on Tuesday that Trump’s chances of impeachment are low, but the criminal investigations swirling around him will cause him to use resignation as leverage to avoid charges.
“Trump will not be removed from office by the constitutional impeachment and removal process,” wrote Steinberg. “Instead, the self-professed supreme dealmaker will use his presidency as a bargaining chip with federal and state authorities in 2019, agreeing to leave office in exchange for the relevant authorities not pursuing criminal charges against him, his children or the Trump Organization.”
In addition to special counsel Robert Mueller‘s Russia investigation, which has led to several of Trump’s close associates pleading guilty to felony crimes, the president is also facing inquiries from the Southern District of New York, the New York attorney general and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office into his businesses and other involvements, nearly all of which include his three eldest children.
At the same time, Trump’s main bragging point — the economy — is fading. The United States is overdue for a recession, which tends to occur every eight years; the current economic expansion is now entering year 11. And the president’s self-induced trade wars and erratic behavior are not stoking investor confidence: 2018 was the worst year for stocks since the financial crisis of 2008, and December the worst year since the Great Depression. There are signs that Trump’s tariffs have begun to drag on corporations and the middle class alike.
Wrote Steinberg: “Aside from all the legal nightmares facing Trump and his presidency, it appears virtually impossible for Trump to be reelected in 2020. The economy appears headed for a severe recession, as evidenced by the recent plunge in the stock market, which appears on pace for its worst December since the Great Depression. There are only two years left in Trump’s presidential term. With his approval ratings in an abysmal state, and the forthcoming recession making it near impossible for Trump to stage a political recovery, it appears most likely that he will use the continuation of his presidency as a bargaining chip.”
On Thursday, Nancy Pelosi was sworn in as speaker of the new, Democratic-majority House of Representatives, which now holds subpoena power over Trump’s current and past dealings. In an interview with NBC News, she said it would not be impossible for a sitting president to be criminally indicted, and she did not rule out impeachment proceedings against Trump.