In politics, making predictions is pointless. But since these are such extraordinary times, and there are cosmic shifts in the political universe, let's do exactly that.
Former Trump personal lawyer Michael Cohen has pleaded guilty, and the Trump Organization's chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg, has been granted immunity by federal investigators. There is probably more uncertainty in Washington about the fate of the presidency than there has been in more than 40 years. So, what scenarios for the future look plausible?
Perhaps nothing will change. With President Donald Trump, it is possible that whatever jaw-dropping revelations appear next week will overwhelm this week's jaw-dropping revelations, and the cycle will continue. America's political divide could continue to simmer, but maybe there will not be an eruption.
With that said, I think Republicans will lose the House in the November midterms, and the results will yield enough angry Democrats for a majority of the House to vote for impeachment. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., might want to pretend that the election isn't about impeachment, but I'm not buying it. Impeachment in the House is more likely to occur than not.
But what happens in the House will still be a long way from the 67 votes in the Senate needed to remove the president from office. Remember, impeachment is more like an indictment. The Senate will be responsible for having a trial and reaching a verdict. It is possible that Trump is impeached in the House but not convicted in the Senate, and the 2020 elections will be left to resolve the question of Trump's future.
Yet, what if events cascade and the president is impeached and removed from office? Rudy Giuliani suggested last week that impeaching Trump could lead to a "revolt." I assume Giuliani meant impeachment and removal from office, not just impeachment in the House. Anyway, what would a revolt look like? Will the president and the president's supporters accept his removal from office as the democratic process working its course, or will they lash out and take to the streets?
What if, in a fury, Trump supporters think all of this is contrived by the swamp, illegitimate and the fruit of a tainted investigation that should never have happened in the first place? Would the president taunt his enemies and try to rally his supporters? And rally his supporters to do what, exactly? Will there be confrontations outside the White House and throughout the country between Trump supporters, the anti-Trump resistance and conflicted law enforcement?
Nobody knows. I'm not sure what Trump is capable of, and anyone who tells you they do is lying. The confrontational scenario seems far-fetched but less so than it did two months ago.
The Trump presidency has produced a growing economy and relieved the anxiety of countless middle-class Americans. But it has also ripped open fissures in American society. These are troubling times for our country, and even if Trump isn't impeached and forced to face trial in the Senate, things are likely to get worse before they get better.
Ed Rogers is a political consultant and a veteran of the Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush White Houses and several national campaigns.
Spend your days with Hayes
Subscribe to our free Stephinitely newsletter
You’re all signed up!
Want more of our free, weekly newsletters in your inbox? Let’s get started.Explore all your options
© 2018 Washington Post