How Donald Trump can keep fighting his inevitable defeat until Joe Biden is sworn in


NOVEMBER 23: All swing state election results have been confirmed by this date

DECEMBER 8: Safe Harbor Deadline, which is the legal deadline for resolving controversial outcomes. If states followed the correct procedures, the result will be December 8th, even if one side still denies it

DECEMBER 14: The electoral college voters are selected and sworn in

JANUARY 5: Georgia runoff election for two Senate seats to determine who controls the Senate

JANUARY 6: Congress confirms the votes of the electoral college

JANUARY 20: Around noon, the new President is sworn in and assumes all powers of the Commander-in-Chief – including the ability to instruct the Secret Service and US Marshals to remove unwanted guests from the White House

Joe Biden, who takes the lead in Pennsylvania and Georgia, provides a strong indication of who will prevail on the electoral college and ultimately be elected president – but little clarity on how the chaotic 75 days will play out.

This is determined by a swirling mix of factors that include patchwork state and federal laws, the Constitution and its procedures, power brokers in the Republican Party seeking dominance, the courts – and an angry President Trump, who is with anger and loss finished, belong.


President Trump has made it clear in public statements that he has no intention of bowing to the Pennsylvania vote, which includes postal ballot papers. (The states won by Trump also include postal ballot papers, which are still tabulated today).

There were rifts among Republicans over Trump's initial stance of claiming he had "won" and waged a huge litigation war. So far, there have been cautious reprimands for retiring Senator Pat Toomey, ex-Senator Rick Santorum, both from Pennsylvania, and an allegation by Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell showing confidence in the vote and underpinning Trump's right to sue .

& # 39; Every legal vote should be counted. Illegally submitted ballots are not allowed, ”McConnell tweeted on Friday.

The president's family raised a loud defense, and son Donald Trump Jr. got Republican leaders to ask for more – a reminder of the potential political cost to Trump's grassroots sitting on the sidelines.

House and Senate Republicans had far better choices than many of them expected, including implementing a strategy to tolerate Trump's outbursts and avoid face-to-face confrontation with him. Publicly condemning Trump's false claim that he won would be a new approach.

Many high-ranking military officials of public standing have already distanced themselves from Trump.

The President's daughter, Ivanka Trump, a White House adviser, might weigh things up. Like other Trump children, she has both family and political stakes in what happens, as well as financial ones.

& # 39; Every legally cast vote should be counted. Any illegally cast vote shouldn't. This shouldn't be controversial.

"This is not a partisan declaration – free and fair elections are the basis of our democracy," she tweeted on Friday.

Trump claimed the election was "rigged" and falsely said he won states like Michigan that he did not wear

Trump spent election night with former campaign managers Kellyanne Conway and Corey Lewandowski, as well as former press secretary Sarah Sanders, who will all play a role in steering him for the next several months.

"He's not blind to the reality of the results and he's going to speak to his lawyers and he's going to be pretty frank with them," Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, a Mar-a-Lago member who speaks to Trump, told DailyMail. com.

He said he thinks Trump has a heavy legal battle in his election lawsuits. When asked who could bring bad news to Trump if he didn't get his way, Ruddy replied, “He has taken his own advice in the past. I think he will make his decision based on that. "

When Trump is advised by his inner circle, the relentless process of election counting and certification will continue.

There are important post-election day dates on the political calendar that at least provide a framework for what's happening.

Each state has its own deadline for counting and then certifying votes. In Georgia, which currently has a wafer-thin Biden lead, the Secretary of State certifies the governor's vote on November 20. In Pennsylvania, the county electoral board must file a declaration with the Commonwealth by November 23rd.

Officials in North Carolina are expecting a recount after November 20, a process that could take another week by itself.

December 8th is the legal deadline for the settlement of electoral disputes and the end of the so-called safe haven.

As the days go by and votes come in, the networks will call more races, which would presumably increase Biden's overall vote.

From this point on, the race, which looked closely divided on election night, will look less tight. Biden was even able to win up to 306 votes – the same lead from Trump in 2016 that Trump often passes off as a blowout. In the meantime, his voting margin will fill up, so Biden can continue to brag about winning more votes than any other candidate in history.

As Biden's lead grows, the potential political price to be paid for some of the more extreme measures in Trump's toolkit – namely, an idea that arose prior to the Pennsylvania state election of ignoring voters and filing a separate electoral roll.

Trump Jr. retweeted talk radio host Mark Levin when he was issuing a "REMEMBERING REPUBLICAN STATE LAWS". But it was an idea that was instantly shot down by the Pennsylvania Republican Senate Majority Leader.

His father followed on Friday morning to rally allies for his cause: "With the attack of the radical left Dems on the Republican Senate, the presidency becomes even more important!" he tweeted.


Biden will create more unstoppable moves by acting more and more like the duly elected candidate – as he did in a speech on Thursday speaking about a coronavirus briefing. The more he talks about his agenda, his cabinet and his team, the more he will take on the aura of the next president.

The Secret Service, which dispatches additional agents to protect it, is just one of many measures that will pump it up. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was the first high-level official to refer to him as "President-Elect".

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to the nation Friday night and has already taken steps to demonstrate that he is positioning himself for office

Former Vice President Joe Biden speaks to the nation Friday night and has already taken steps to demonstrate that he is positioning himself for office



The first daughter is his favorite child, but her tweet that "every legal vote should be counted" and her daughter flashing a V for Victory sign suggests she doesn't want to admit just yet


Trump has been known to listen to his wife's advice, but no one knows how she is doing. Previous leaked tapes and their campaign appearances suggest their views are more in line than people once thought


It is known that only the living former Republican President, but Trump despises him and even his father George H.W. Bush before his death. Country would listen, but would Trump?


There are only two living Republicans who ran for president and failed, and one is Mitt Romney. The other is 97-year-old Bob Dole, who supported Trump and has spoken for him repeatedly since then. He could be the only Republican who could break through to Trump


The Grim Reaper is the most highly elected Republican. If he sees Trump crush his party's hopes of routing the Georgia Senate, he could put his scythe in the oval. But he and Trump are not personally close


The vice president could turn when his own political prospects fade. So far he has appeared loyal, but has carefully nuanced his language so that he does not repeat the most absurd conspiracy claims


Trump's rise has been fueled by Fox & # 39; stars – Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Fox & Friends. So if they publicly tell him it's over, it may be impossible to ignore him. If Rupert Murdoch steps in directly, he could


Aides Hope Hicks and Dan Scavino are close to the family, and Kayleigh McEnany and former press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders almost fall into that category. If they tell him the time is up, it might convince him


Richard Nixon was asked by his cabinet to resign. Trumps is full of loyalists, but if Mike Pompeo turns around as he watches his own 2024 outlook evaporate and another loyalist like AG Bill Barr takes the floor, he may have to listen


Trump's true friends included real estate moguls Howard Lorber and Richard LeFrak, and investor Tom Barrack. He has been known to listen to them even when they failed before. Your advice to leave could be influential


The members of his Florida club are important to him. Newsmax's Chris Ruddy may offer him an instant TV platform. Billionaire Ike Perlmutter, the chairman of Marvel, may want to invest. The Palm Beach delegation could put together an attractive exit package


The Chief Justice cannot speak to Trump directly, but if the Supreme Court simply refuses to hear the challenges of his campaigning in the elections, it might be enough to end Trump's quest to remain in the West Wing

Trump can try to counter this with his own actions, but presidents always have the right to continue actions during a change of presidency.

Any move by Biden into looking "president" could force the split if Trump focuses most of his comments on his increasingly desperate legal strategy and complaints about the number of votes.

This is a disadvantage that the challenger always incurs in a recount or in a controversial electoral situation, even when there is a legitimate challenge. Trump had to ask a question during his angry statement to the press on Thursday evening whether he was a "sore loser".

A major unknown before the elections was whether protests or street violence would play a role in the vote. You didn't do it. But mass demonstrations could affect the count or even serve to spoil ballot papers in an extreme situation. The Brooks Brothers uprising in 2000 helped stop the Florida census.

There have been protests outside of the counting facilities in Detroit and Arizona. If Trump and Biden supporters believe they are being mistreated and taking to the streets, it could lead to chaotic scenes that Trump could add to his narrative about the extended count.

Since the election, there has been no signal from Attorney General Bill Barr whether he saw evidence of Trump's fraud allegations.

The court's options are running out and the walls are closing

The litigation will run its course in the fall and winter, but ultimately they will meet tough deadlines set by law and the constitution.

Recounts slow the process down, but don't stop it. A recount of Trump's campaign states that the Wisconsin claim will have to be paid for by the campaign – an estimated $ 3 million.

The RNC is now looking to raise $ 60 million to fight for Trump in court. These efforts are led not by a James Baker character, but by David Bossie, a recurring member of Trump's inner circle who was once ostracized over claims he benefited from the president's name but has now reconciled.

Trump's team has already attempted to get the Supreme Court to re-examine a decision regarding Pennsylvania's acceptance of ballot papers postmarked until November 3rd after that date.

But depending on the size of Biden's leadership, they may not even make all the difference in the race.

The court, which now has a 6-3 Conservative majority thanks to Trump's primary scramble to bring Amy Coney Barrett to court, traditionally shifts between states in setting their own electoral laws.

Trump's election campaign blew up email appeals for his electoral defense and a 1000 percent match against & # 39; FIGHT BACK! & # 39; Promised.

The cost of fighting anywhere with complex litigation adds up.

Meanwhile, Trump's legal troubles on another front are not going to ease.

Authorities in the Manhattan Attorney's Office have investigated Trump's finances and investigated whether he violated tax laws by overvaluing the value of assets, misleading lenders, or making millions in tax deductions to which he was not entitled.

Trump's son Eric filed a deposit a few days before election day, and the New York Times has reported a lot of information from Trump's tax returns received, including that he paid only $ 750 in individual income tax in 2016.

Trump initially resisted the handover of his tax returns by claiming that he was immune to investigation as president, which failed 7-2 at the Supreme Court. He tries to bring the case back to the Supreme Court, claiming he was the victim of a fishing trip.

He is also charged with defamation against E. Jean Carroll, who accuses him of rape, and an attempt by AG Bill Barr to take on the case has failed.

And there are questions about whether federal colleagues in the Manhattan Attorney's Office, the highly independent U.S. attorney for New York's Southern District, are looking at people around Trump who have already indicted Steve Bannon and Rudy Guliani's business associates.

Complex legal issues of whether a president can forgive himself will surely turn out to be Trump's approach for the last few days.

Trump could also seek blanket pardons for those around him who could be prosecuted, as he did when commuting Roger Stone's sentence when the longtime advisor was about to go to jail.

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks with Trump campaign advisor Corey Lewandowski (C R) on November 5, 2020 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Trump's lawyers are suing in multiple locations

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi speaks with Trump campaign advisor Corey Lewandowski (C R) on November 5, 2020 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Trump's lawyers are suing in multiple locations


Trump knows he is facing not only a legal battle but also a media war. His call to Fox News early that morning on election day involved repeated attacks on the network.

The station's polling station department pissed him off when they called Arizona, with still significant votes still being cast, even though Biden was still at the helm of the state on Friday.

According to Vanity Fair, Trump was so angry that he directly asked Rupert Murdoch to reverse the call – which the Australian billionaire refused.

Fox Evening Anchors have further determined that Trump has not yet presented evidence of his fraud allegations, including a campaign allegation that 10,000 Nevada voters were not registered to vote in the state and voted fraudulently.

The network showed Biden's leads in blue in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania on its ticker Friday, with Trump leading only in North Carolina in red.

Anchor Bret Baier continued to describe Trump on Friday as "allegations of irregularities".

"We see no evidence of widespread electoral fraud," he told Republican National Committee Chairman Ronna McDaniel.

Cohost Martha McCallum said, "Transparency and ballot papers are different from finding fraud … we just didn't see it."

"Biden leads in Pennsylvania, Georgia and Nevada," read a headline on Fox News Alert on Friday.

But until now, Sean Hannity, Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and "Judge" Jeanine Pirro remain in the group.

Trump previously listened to Carlson's advice not to bomb Iran and take COVID more seriously. If he or anyone else split, it would also destroy Trump's support base between their television station and their president.


No matter how much Trump litigates, a set deadline known as the "Safe Harbor" period will affect him.

This year it will take place on December 8th.

The deadline set in federal law states that in the event of controversial elections and if a state has followed its procedures to determine the results within the deadline – six days before the electoral college meeting – the results will be deemed final.

The Supreme Court issued its Bush v. Gore ruling on December 12, when the 2000 deadline came on the day of the deadline.

The elections were virtually frozen as the decision sent the case back to Florida for further processing but there was no time for it.

Florida's then Secretary of State Katherine Harris had already certified the state's voters for George W. Bush. The Democrat Al Gore admitted the following day.


The states meet separately so that their voters can vote.

This is the case when states that have Republicans in control can attempt to reverse the number of votes in states that have voted for Biden on the grounds that the vote is "corrupt".

The Pennsylvania GOP leaders, signaling that they will install the popularly elected voters, appear to be taking away one scenario – having a Republican legislature that will replace voting for Biden with their own resolve.

However, the move cannot be considered dead until after the date has passed.

Following Mark Levin's tweet promoted by Donald Trump Jr. about state legislation, Trump loyalist Sen. Lindsey Graham told Trump ally Sean Hannity on Fox News: "Everything should be on the table."

No state legislature has taken such a step since the 19th century. The law limits action to be taken in cases where voters "have not made a choice".

It was discussed in Florida prior to the Bush v. Gore ruling, but no serious Republican figure advocated it at the time.

Such a move would surely invite the judicial challenge won.

If it happened in states that ultimately call the race for Biden, like Georgia, Wisconsin or Arizona, states would send two rival groups of voters to Congress.

This could start political chaos when Congress meets.


Two runoff elections in Georgia, which determine control of the Senate, throw more uncertainty into the balance of power.

It gives tremendous power to the Georgia electorate and is waging a high octane political battle with massive fundraisers that are sure to follow.

The race could provide an incentive for Republicans not to overthrow voters' will for fear that they would pay a price in the elections in a live voting environment.


Congress will hold a joint session on January 6th to count the votes, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence.

If the electoral college meets in person on December 14th, which is legally defined as the Monday after the second Wednesday in December, Congress can have its say.

Here, in the event of a tie between 269 and 269 of the electoral college, there could have been a real fight that seems to have been avoided.

When states present their voters, there is an opportunity for lawmakers to appeal.

Such a move seems at least possible, given the loyalty Trump has seen among both House and Senate Republicans, and given how the GOP senators have supported his legal challenges to date.

A Republican protesting a state's vote could screw up Trump, who found eager defenders at the Capitol during the Mueller investigation and impeachment.

The joint session of Congress would then be briefly suspended so that each chamber could vote on whether to accept the objection.

However, it would have to be agreed by both houses to take effect – which gives the democratically controlled house the ability to block the GOP efforts to overthrow state voters.

The most daunting scenarios would emerge if the divided houses tried to approve different groups of voters.

It's clear that if the Democrats win in Georgia the day before, it's controversial – but if they don't, Mitch McConnell could get his own electoral roll through voting for Trump.

If so, Biden and Trump could claim they secured the presidency in a dark Washington Post scenario with unknown results.

After that, there is no playbook or law to turn to for an answer.

Far-right radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones gathers the crowd of Trump supporters who protested in the parking lot of the Maricopa County's tabulation and polling center as ballots continue to be counted in the building on November 5, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The protests likely will continue as Trump wages a legal war

Far-right radio host and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones gathers the crowd of Trump supporters who protested in the parking lot of the Maricopa County's tabulation and polling center as ballots continue to be counted in the building on November 5, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. Protests are likely to continue as Trump wages a legal war


The final days of an outgoing Trump administration have long turned out to be question marks.

Trump's advisors sent a signal by releasing a new FDA regulation the day after the election that House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi blew up on Friday. Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said his panel will continue to respond to Trump judges.

Even in the days leading up to the campaign, the government enacted new regulations on gray wolves and lifted Alaskan forest protection

Trump has already indicated that he may want to make personnel changes in the past few days.

He implied that Dr. Dismiss Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert at the National Institutes of Health, although Fauci does not report directly to him.

He has also grumbled about FBI Director Chris Wray, who was the subject of attacks by former adviser Steve Bannon and others.

Trump has also shown dissatisfaction with Attorney General Bill Barr, who has been silent since the election. A broader cleansing of the bureaucracy is possible.

The danger for Trump is making more enemies who may have information to use against him.

There were reports on Friday that the downgraded campaign manager Brad Parscale was buying a book and Trump endured a number of scrapbooks from disgruntled former aides, including some who had signed nondisclosure agreements.

President Donald Trump said he "won" the election but is now facing increasingly discouraging electoral math that creates chaos for 75 days before his term is expected to end

President Donald Trump said he "won" the election but is now facing increasingly discouraging electoral math that creates chaos for 75 days before his term is expected to end

When the NDAs are with Trump – not the government courts – they cannot stop a publisher from publishing, but would allow Trump to sue afterwards, which could lead to a possible conflict with the First Amendment.

NDAs with the government may be easier to enforce, but there has been no legal battle suggesting exactly how federal judges would land on a government official writing a book exposing a president's potential wrongdoing in violation of an NDA.

Trump can also use the days between now and January 20 to try to put more civil servants in political and career positions – turning his grievances about Deep State careerists upside down and trying to continue his politics after he has gone.

On Wednesday there was a signal that McConnell might try to stop Biden's cabinet secretaries. This shows how lower officials could exert influence long after Jan 20th.

Amid the machinations, the state of a coronavirus aid package with the potential to benefit millions of Americans remains bleak. Both Pelosi and Graham spoke about it as live articles on Friday, but Trump may have less incentive to spend billions on virus aid on his way out of office after claiming the nation had turned around.

The inauguration is planned according to its own schedule. Capitol employees will secure an area on the Eastern Front unless there is a radical change due to the coronavirus.

Presidential transition staple food plans are presented, including a capital wrapped in American flags, a traditional Capitol lunch, and a program that usually emphasizes shared values ​​of peaceful transfer of power.

As the inauguration approaches, Trump and his team will continue to have questions about whether he will show up, as Hillary Clinton did at his inauguration in 2017.

Es gibt auch ein traditionelles Foto-Op im Weißen Haus für den überholenden Präsidenten und den gewählten Präsidenten und eine gemeinsame Limousinenfahrt – vorausgesetzt, er geht zur Amtseinführung.


Biden wischte während des Wahlkampfs Fragen nach einer friedlichen Machtübertragung ab, als Trump sich weigerte, sich zu einer zu verpflichten. Trump sagte, er würde die Ergebnisse einer "fairen" Wahl akzeptieren – ein Begriff, den er diese Woche sicherlich nicht verwendet hat.

Biden hat sich zurückgehalten. "Wir werden in diesem Land Wahlen haben, wie wir es immer getan haben, und er wird gehen", sagte er.

Es gibt kleine Schritte, die Trump unternehmen könnte, um eine Nachricht zu senden.

Unpolitische Helfer kontrollieren das interne E-Mail-System. Agenten des Karriere-Geheimdienstes kontrollieren das Zulassungssystem des Weißen Hauses. Militärhelfer, die hochrangigen Offizieren Bericht erstatten, kümmern sich um den Nuklearfußball.

Demokraten haben vor einer möglichen Zerstörung von Dokumenten gewarnt, was im digitalen Zeitalter schwer zu erreichen ist.

Die kommenden Tage werden zeigen, welche Helfer bis zum bitteren Ende an Trumps Seite stehen.

Bei den letzten Rallye-Touren vor den Wahlen wurden diejenigen angerufen, die von Anfang an bei Trump waren, wie die ehemalige Pressesprecherin Hope Hicks, die Trump auf die Bühne rief.

Auch Sarah Sanders, seine Stimmverteidigerin als Pressesprecherin, wechselte sich ab. Der langjährige Adjutant Dan Scavino begleitete ihn durch das Land und hat weiterhin Zugang zu seinem Twitter-Account.

Schwiegersohn Jared Kushner war an Trumps Seite, auch wenn er bei den Rallyes im Oktober nur ungern zu YMCA tanzen wollte. First Lady Melania Trump war schließlich eine Vokalverteidigerin, nahm jedoch an einer einzigen Wahlkampfveranstaltung teil.

Pressesprecher Kayleigh McEnany war der einzige Berater von Trump, als er trotzig behauptete, er habe die Wahl im Weißen Haus am Donnerstag "gewonnen".

Alle Mitglieder von Trumps Kreis müssen nicht nur ihre Loyalität gegenüber dem Präsidenten und seine Wertschätzung für sie berücksichtigen, sondern auch ihr eigenes Erbe und ihre finanzielle Zukunft. Die Mitglieder des Lincoln-Projekts fordern diejenigen, die es Trump ermöglicht haben, außerhalb der Arbeit gebrandmarkt und abgelehnt zu werden. Alternativ könnten sie bis zum Ende in der Nähe bleiben, da die Verbündeten Pläne für eine Wiederherstellung von Trump oder einen Ableger der Trumpisten im Jahr 2024 aufstellen.

Der ultimative Albtraum von Biden ist, dass Trump sich effektiv im Weißen Haus verbarrikadiert, während der neue Präsident vereidigt wird.

In diesem Albtraum reitet Biden zurück ins Weiße Haus im Biest und muss sich entscheiden, was er mit seinem Vorgänger machen soll.

Bidens Wahlkampf verspottete die Idee am Freitag und sagte: „Wie wir am 19. Juli sagten, wird das amerikanische Volk über diese Wahl entscheiden.

"Und die Regierung der Vereinigten Staaten ist durchaus in der Lage, Eindringlinge aus dem Weißen Haus zu eskortieren."

Das ist wahr – der Secret Service, die US-Marschälle und sogar die US-Parkpolizei melden sich ab dem 20. Januar mittags bei Biden. Er kann sie einfach bitten, Trump – und wer auch immer bei ihm ist – aus dem Weißen Haus zu eskortieren.

Ein spezifisches Gesetz schützt das Weiße Haus und andere „beschränkte“ Bundesgüter – und die Strafe für das Brechen beträgt maximal ein Jahr im Bundesgefängnis.

In diesem Szenario könnte Trump also noch eine Weile Bidens Gast sein, nur nicht im Weißen Haus.

Könnte er ein Schnäppchen machen?

Ein Hintergrund für einen Großteil von Trumps Präsidentschaft war seine potenzielle kriminelle Enthüllung inmitten der Mueller-Untersuchung, einer Amtsenthebung und der Bundesanwaltschaft in New York, die seine geschäftlichen Handlungen durchkämmte, bevor er Präsident wurde.

Während seiner Aussage im Repräsentantenhaus erklärte der frühere Trump-Anwalt Michael Cohen, dass Trump den Wert seiner Geschäftsbestände erhöhen würde, um Kredite zu erhalten, während er die Finanzinformationen zur Steuerzeit niedrig hält.

Die New York Times berichtete über Informationen zur Steuererklärung, die Trump in Fällen von „regelrechtem Betrug“ durch Steuersysteme begangen hatte. Die Staatsanwälte in New York haben angegeben, dass sie Trump auf möglichen Bank- und Versicherungsbetrug untersuchen. Cohen verbüßt ​​Gefängnisstrafe, zum Teil wegen seiner Rolle bei der Erleichterung von Schweigezahlungen für Trumps Pornostar Stormy Daniels. Trump selbst wurde in Gerichtsdokumenten, die sich auf den Fall beziehen, als "Individuum 1" identifiziert.

Da sich Verfassungswissenschaftler darüber streiten, ob Trump sich entschuldigen könnte, um einer strafrechtlichen Verfolgung zu entgehen, bleibt ein Plädoyer-Handel eine Möglichkeit. Wenn Staatsanwälte glauben, dass sie Schwierigkeiten haben könnten, ein Verfahren gegen einen ehemaligen Präsidenten einzuleiten, haben sie möglicherweise einen Anreiz, eine Unterkunft zu finden. Die Situation in Bezug auf Trumps mehrjährige Prüfung durch die IRS bleibt trübe, und es ist unklar, ob die unabhängige Agentur überhaupt bereit wäre, noch offene Fragen zu klären, bevor der Präsident sein Amt verlässt.

Trump may have an incentive to put his legal house in order before Congress finally obtains his returns or potentially obtains government information Democratic lawmakers have been seeking for years without success.

Another unknown is whether Biden, as president-elect, would in any way consider a pardon or another signal of an end to investigations in order to induce Trump to relinquish power. When asked about his posture during the campaign, Biden has said he would leave it to career prosecutors at the Justice Department to decide what to do.

The start of Biden's Senate career coincided with Gerald Ford's controversial Nixon pardon, so he is familiar with the partisan fury it created. He also campaigned with a call for reconciliation and a return to bipartisan cooperation, although he must work with a Congress with an energized left and that is filled with members furious at Trump administration stonewalling and what its members say are crimes.

There is yet another opportunity to get his legal exposure wiped clean: get Vice President Mike Pence to do it for him. The strategy was laid out by Michael Cohen – who himself pleaded guilty to crimes – on MSNBC. & # 39;

'My theory is that if he loses, there’s still the time between the election and the time that the next president will take office. And during that time my suspicion is that he will resign as president, he will allow Mike Pence to take over, and he will then go ahead and have Mike Pence pardon him,' Cohen said. 'It’s a very Nixon type of event.'


Trump cannot retain power as a man alone in the White House.

If he has lost the support of even Mike Pence and his cabinet, there is a chilling possibility: they remove him through the 25th Amendment, finding him unfit to discharge the duties of office.

They would have to use the Section IV powers of the amendment which describes how the president can be removed from office if he is incapacitated and does not leave on his own.

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' must write to both the president pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House, saying that 'the President is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.'

The term principal officers of the executive departments would normally mean the cabinet secretaries.

So at least eight of the president's 15 most senior Cabinet members together with the vice president must agree that a president should be removed before any plan can move forward.

That group is made up of the Secretary of State, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Secretary of Defense, Attorney General, Interior Secretary, Agriculture Secretary, Commerce Secretary, Labor Secretary, Health and Human Services Secretary, Transportation Secretary, Energy Secretary , Education Secretary, Veterans Affairs Secretary and Homeland Security Secretary.

Notifying the House Speaker  – Nancy Pelosi – and the Senate president pro tempore – Republican Chuck Grassley – is the act that immediately elevates the vice president to an 'acting president' role.

The deposed president can contest the claim, giving the leaders of the bloodless coup four days to re-assert their claims to the House and Senate.

Congress then has two days to convene – unless it is already in session – and another 21 days to vote on whether the president is incapable of serving. A two-thirds majority in both houses is required to make that determination.

As soon as there is a vote with a two-thirds majority, the president loses his powers and is removed, and the vice president stops acting and is sworn in as president.

But if 21 days of debate and votes ends without a two-thirds majority, the president gets back his powers.

Alternatively, Congress could set up its own mechanism to decide if he is fit for office – maybe a commission, or a joint committee.

Pence would still have to agree with its conclusion and then write formally to the Speaker and president pro tempore.

Pelosi in fact took steps towards that, unveiling in October legislation both House and Senate would need to pass to create a commission made up of former presidents, vice presidents, and other figures including former secretaries of state, attorneys general or surgeons general.

The legislation went nowhere but if Trump was deserted by his party and Pence but not members of his cabinet, it could be rushed through in hours and the commission convened rapidly to force him out.

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