President Donald Trump has been deeply worried that he could be impeached when Democrats take over the House, as CNN reported on Monday. The source said Trump sees impeachment as a real threat to his presidency. But Trump isn’t certain it will happen, the source added.
A separate source close to the White House told CNN that aides inside the West Wing believe the crux of the impeachment proceedings will be hinged on the campaign finance violations tied to former Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s payouts to Trump’s alleged mistresses.
Impeachment talk has ratcheted up in recent days following a blockbuster filing from prosecutors in the Southern District of New York. In that filing, prosecutors directly alleged for the first time that Cohen was being directed by Trump to deliberately break the law during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Democrats are suggesting it is an impeachable offense and could be sent to prison when his term in the White House expires.
The incoming chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Jerry Nadler, said Sunday the allegations, if proven to be true, amount to “impeachable offenses.”
Cohen first made the allegation in court in September that he was directed by Trump to make the payments to the two women, Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.
Prosecutors endorsed the allegation in a sentencing document for Cohen on Friday, in which they said Cohen should receive a “substantial sentence” for the crimes he committed, which included campaign finance violations for the payments to the two women, tax fraud and lying to Congress.
White House officials, at the moment, still don’t believe special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible collusion will not be grave enough to commence impeachment process.
Officials are also comforted by their belief that the campaign finance issue is not seen as enough to galvanize bipartisan support for impeachment.
Another separate source said Trump remains unfazed at this point that, while he could be impeached in the House, he doesn’t believe he would be convicted in the Senate as the GOP remains in control there.
The campaign finance issue tied to the alleged mistresses is viewed as not weighty enough to trigger a bipartisan vote for conviction and removal in the Senate, the source said.
These beliefs about the politics at play in impeachment proceedings are based on what White House officials believe Mueller has on Trump right now. It’s still unclear exactly which direction the special counsel’s probe could swing.