President Donald Trump has become widely unpopular in record time compared to preceding commanders-in-chief. And he could make history again by being the first U.S. president to be impeached and removed from office. So far, only Presidents Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton have been impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives. But both were acquitted by the Senate, so they got to finish their terms. That means The Donald could set a new precedent by being the first commander-in-chief to get turfed.
Here are ten things that could lead to impeachment.
1. Interpretations of the Constitution
Technically there are only three grounds for impeachment. According to Article II, Section 4 of the U.S. Constitution, "The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and conviction of, Treason, Bribery, and other High Crimes and Misdemeanors."
The first two conditions are fairly clear, but that last point is open to much interpretation. After all, starting a Twitter war with every member of the United Nations could be considered a "high misdemenor" (and one that's not out of the realm of possibility for President Trump).
But given The Donald's other scandals, it doesn't seem like Congress will have to twist the Constitution if they want to find grounds for impeachment.
2. The Generals
In an opinion piece published in The Guardian, writer Jamie Weinstein sees General James Mattis (Secretary of Defense) and General John Kelly (Secretary of Homeland Security) as being key to an eventual Trump impeachment. As Weinstein writes:
Trump may have actually boxed himself in by picking highly respected generals such as Kelly and Mattis to helm top posts in his administration. Even conservatives who publicly stand by the president latch on to the appointments of Mattis and Kelly as their best evidence that Trump’s presidency will not be as problematic as his temperament and actions sometimes suggest, or some of his more troubling White House advisers portend.
Citing reports of unrest in Trump’s government over key appointments in the defence department and the implementation of Trump’s travel ban. Should Gen. Mattis or Gen. Kelly be pushed past their limits and resign in protest, that could be the beginning of the end of the Trump administration as we know it.
3. The 25th Amendment
Article 4 of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution reads:
Whenever the Vice President and a majority of either the principal officers of the executive departments or of such other body as Congress may by law provide, transmit to the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House of Representatives their written declaration that the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office, the Vice President shall immediately assume the powers and duties of the office as Acting President.
In other words: the executive branch would be able to insist that Trump is not fit to serve as president. It's a very unlikely scenario, but it's plausible. While he denies that it's linked to Trump, Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz is reportedly weighing legislation that would require presidents to have an independent medical examination - including for mental health.
Last month, the U.S. Intelligence Community released a report concluding that Russian leader Vladimir Putin interfered in the 2016 election to help Trump win. That's a huge allegation unto itself, but it would be even bigger if President Trump knew about or even aided the conspiracy.
For the record, there is currently no evidence to suggest such a connection. But there has been much speculation -- thanks to Trump. While on the campaign trail last summer, he stoked rumors of being in cahoots with Putin when he called on Russian hackers to find Hillary Clinton's missing emails. Which is basically encouraging foreign espionage against a former secretary of state.
So it's not surprising that some wonder if Trump is resisting calls to investigate Russia's involvement in the election because the trail might lead back to him.
5. Russia Part II
Treason comes in two forms, according to the U.S. Constitution. According to Article III, Section 3 says, "Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort."
Some think that Trump has already violated that part about giving comfort to enemies. Last December, John Shattuck -- former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor -- wrote an opinion article for the Boston Globe that said, "By denigrating or seeking to prevent an investigation of the Russian cyberattack Trump is giving aid or comfort to an enemy of the United States, a crime that is enhanced if...he is in fact seeking to cover up his staff’s or his own involvement in or prior knowledge of the attack."
Since then, Trump has acknowledged Russia's interference in the election. But he still hasn't pledged to launch a full investigation. Until then, speculation about his possible involvement in the hacks will continue.
6. War with Mexico
It could take a big fiasco to bring about Trump's impeachment. And one might already be brewing between America and its southern neighbor. The Donald still wants to build a giant wall along the Mexican-American border. And he still wants Mexico to pay for it. Meanwhile, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto still insists that he won't pay for it. So the showdown is on.
Right now, there's speculation that a trade war has already begun between the two countries. And some worry that the issue could turn into a full-blown conflict. According to Georgetown University Professor Rosa Brooks, "prominent Mexican leaders say that Trump’s border wall plans 'could take us to a war — not a trade war.'”
And Trump's term in office could become a casualty. After all, it's hard to imagine that Congress -- whether dominated by Trump's fellow Republicans or not -- could turn a blind eye to Trump warring with the country's third biggest trade partner.
7. The Emoluments Clause
Trump could get evicted from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue because of the Emoluments Clause -- which he might already be violating. Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution says that "no Person holding any Office of Profit or Trust under them, shall, without the Consent of the Congress, accept of any present, Emolument, Office, or Title, of any kind whatever, from any King, Prince, or foreign State."
That means Trump can't do any personal business with foreign states while serving as president. But he already is, according to The Brookings Institution, which recently released a lengthy report concluding "that Donald Trump’s diverse dealings violate both the spirit and the letter of this critical piece of the U.S. Constitution."
And that's after Trump allegedly divested himself of interests in the business empire that bears his name. Earlier this month, Trump turned the company over to his children in an agreement that Jeremy Venook of The Atlantic says is little more than a pinky swear that he won't compromise the Oval Office by chatting with them about business.
And whistleblowers are already taking action. Earlier this week, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a lawsuit against Trump over the Emoluments Clause. So The Donald may already be on the road to impeachment.
8. Conflicts of Interest
On top of interests in other countries, the Trump empire has a number of properties and venues in the United States. That means businesses or lobbyists could try to get special access to the president by staying at one of his establishments. Like the Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Springs, a members-only club complete with over 100 guest rooms in a building attached to the estate that Trump has dubbed his "winter White House." So there's now an extra incentive to being a club member -- cozying up to the commander-in-chief.
This situation is much different than charity dinners or fundraisers hosted by sitting presidents, as Jeremy Venook of The Atlantic has noted. "[T]here’s a long history of wealthy citizens paying large sums of money to attend events where they may have a chance to bend a politician’s ear. What makes this case different is that, while such events usually benefit a charity or campaign, here, Trump himself will be the beneficiary."
9. Pending Lawsuits
President Trump owns the unenviable distinction of having more open lawsuits against him than any other incoming commander-in-chief. When he was elected, there were over 70 pending cases against him. And there have been another 34 since then, including allegations of sexual assault.
And as Alsion Durkee of Mic noted, these cases could result in "uncovering scandals or information that political opponents could use against him." In other words, trials could lead to dig up more fodder for impeachment proceedings.
Another potential source of scandal is Trump's taxes. The Donald broke with tradition during the 2016 election by refusing to release his tax returns, which every previous candidate has done since Gerald Ford. The decision has left people wondering what Trump has to hide.
And we might find out if the CREW lawsuit is successful. On top of calling out Trump for violating the Emoluments Clause, the lawsuit demands that the president release his tax returns. Perhaps there's nothing but bogus business dinners in there. Or maybe there's evidence of shortchanging the government or another scandal that could be the beginning of the end of The Donald's presidency.
At the end of the day, nothing impeaches a president automatically. The House of Representatives can take that action for whatever reason the House thinks is worth it. So if there were enough support, the House could -- in theory -- impeach the president for wearing mismatched socks at a state function.
Or as former President Gerald Ford once said, "An impeachable offense is whatever a majority of the House of Representatives considers it to be at a given moment in history."
So it seems unlikely that President Trump would get impeached so long as the Republican Party controls both chambers of Congress. But when/if the Democrats take over in 2018, impeachment proceedings could begin for any of the scandals involving Trump. And based on his wild first week in office, they'll probably have lots of material to work with.
America has always prided itself on being a government of the people, by the people and for the people. So it makes sense that you -- the average American citizen -- can be an important factor in Trump's possible impeachment. Right now, Free Speech for the People's petition to impeach The Donald has already grossed over 500,000 signatures. That alone won't lead to Trump's impeachment, but the more people sign, the more pressure the petition puts on Congress to act.
So if you want to feel like you've done something to stand up against Trump, check out the petition here.
Banner image: DECEMBER 15, 2016: President-Elect Donald Trump and Vice President-Elect Mike Pence shake hands on stage at a Thank You rally held at the Giant Center.