With calls for Donald Trump’s impeachment intensifying, so are fears about what the US president will do to cling on to the most powerful office in the world.
Two Republican senators have now pushed for Trump to resign immediately as efforts mount to prevent him from running again for president after the wake of deadly riots at the US Capitol last week.
They’ve joined Democrats’ call for Vice President Mike Pence to exercise the 25th Amendment to remove Trump and place himself in power for the remaining 10 days.
Pence, who has reportedly not spoken to Trump since Wednesday, opposes the idea, an adviser said.
Aides have not, however, ruled it out explicitly, keeping the option on the table in case Trump takes further action that might warrant discussion.
House Democrats are expected to introduce articles of impeachment on Monday (local time) and vote as soon as Tuesday. The strategy would be to condemn the president’s actions swiftly but delay an impeachment trial in the Senate for 100 days.
Donald Trump: What will he do next?
Cut off from Twitter and Facebook, which have been a lifeblood of his presidency, and shunned by former allies and members of his own party as he faces his second impeachment, Trump doesn’t have many fighting options left, US Studies Centre Associate Professor Brendon O’Connor told Yahoo News Australia.
With no plans of resigning, he will likely go on the offence and continue to try and reach his supporters through other avenues, Assoc Prof O’Connor said.
“I suppose his tactic normally is to try to to get mob support,” he said.
“Having been taken off Twitter and Facebook makes it harder, but he’s still got a network of people to try and whip up his most loyal supporters.
“It’s his main weapon at this point – apart from denial and stonewalling.”
Why Democrats are pushing for an impeachment
Despite inciting the Capitol riots, an impeachment will be hard to achieve because it will require 67 out of 100 votes during the Senate trial, Assoc Prof O’Connor said.
With so few days left, some people may think what’s the point, but an ex-president can still be on trial, and if he is impeached, he will never be able to hold an elected office ever again, he said – a key detail in the plan as it would effectively render Trump’s influence over the country’s politics null and void.
“He’s a poison to the body of democracy of America. To have that possibility removed would be a vaccine against him,” Assoc Prof O’Connor said.
“It’s complicated and the Republicans may just want to move on so impeachment will require a lot of cooperation, which hasn’t been a feature in American politics as of late.”
One of the other aims of those who want impeachment is to “get people on the records saying [Trump] was lying and that he was distorting the truth”, Assoc Prof O’Connor said.
‘Trump will play the victim’
The president can fight back during the impeachment trial, drawing out the process, and may turn to Rudy Giuliani to defend him, two White House sources say.
Mr Giuliani, 76, led the legal team that tried unsuccessfully to overturn Trump’s election defeat.
It failed to produce any evidence of significant fraud and lost dozens of court cases in key battleground states and at the Supreme Court.
“He plays the victim – that will be his defence,” Assoc Prof O’Connor said.
The associate professor said he doesn’t believe any legal charges will be brought against Trump over the riots as well.
“It doesn’t seem likely that it would go down a criminal route.
“The preference would be to treat it as a political crime because it has a much heavier consequence of not being able to run for office.”
If he his is impeached, Trump will also lose his post-presidential luxuries such as a pension and security detail.
Trump to spend last days ‘lashing out’
Trump is planning to lash out against the companies that have now denied him his Twitter and Facebook bullhorns, sources have told The Associated Press.
While his legacy will surely forever be stained by last week’s violence, aides nonetheless are pushing Trump to spend his final days trumpeting his policy achievements.
He will begin with a trip to Alamo, Texas, on Tuesday (local time) to highlight his administration’s efforts to curb illegal immigration and border wall construction.
Trump’s decision to travel to Alamo — named after the San Antonio mission where a small group of Texans fighting for independence against the Mexican government were defeated after a 13-day siege — served as a symbol of his defiance as he faces the most volatile end of any presidency in modern history.
with Reuters and AP
Do you have a story tip? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.