Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
USA | By Kelli Rowe

Donald Trump says he fired James Comey because he was 'unpopular'

In the wake of the firing of FBI Director James Comey and other recent events, impeachment has become a more realistic scenario than before, says Steffen Schmidt, a politics professor at Iowa State University, and many more Republicans are seeing "a much less risky Pence presidency as a real opportunity".

Pence has kept an incredibly low profile during the turmoil surrounding President Trump.

It was the third time Pence had been forced to answer for public statements he made on behalf of the Trump administration that later turned out to be false. Once again this week, Pence emerged as a crucial player - either as a willful participant or an uninformed bystander - in the allegations that followed the revelation that Michael T. Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, had informed the White House weeks before the inauguration that he was under federal investigation for secretly working as a paid lobbyist for Turkey during the campaign.

"I'm not even - there's not even a point making a comment on that". Republicans who didn't face primary challenges from Trump-inspired candidates-or the full weight of pro-Trump conservative media-would have to deal with angry and dejected voters, unwilling to back a Republican Party that abandoned their president. "No problem - elect Trump then impeach him".

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But asked in March about what he knew as the head of Trump's vetting apparatus, Pence insisted he had just heard the news. Pence told the audience there's no better time to invest in America and assured the business community that no matter what is happening in Washington, Trump will never stop fighting for good jobs and opportunities.

Even with the Department of Justice's appointment Wednesday of a special prosecutor, Trump's early departure - by impeachment, resignation, or the invocation of the 25th Amendment - is a not sure thing, or even a likelihood.

And while many Democrats loathe Trump and would love to see his ouster, there's chatter bubbling up on the left as well, suggesting that more even-tempered Pence could be way more risky to the progressive agenda.

New York Observer Columnist Cliston Brown wrote 'The Liberal Case for Not Removing Trump'.

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It boiled down to the political potency of Pence. But the status quo of the Trump administration is going to do more long-term harm than good. The quiet, barely discussed specter of President Pence looms over the GOP in Washington.

Meanwhile, as Brown put it, the Democrats are 'like the basketball player that can't create his own shots; he only scores when the other team coughs up the ball and gives him an open layup'.

The numerous scandals clouding Trump's presidency, including, the most recent - firing the FBI Director James Comey coupled with his alleged leak of classified information to Russian officials, and reports that he asked James Comey to drop the Flynn investigation have raised a strong possibility that the president could be removed and replaced by his VP Mike Pence. If Pence aligns himself too closely with Trump, he could wind up being forced out of politics along with him, or worse.

Most presidencies do not end ahead of schedule, but presidents do die and leave office for other reasons, and the prospect of a vice president becoming president is hardly an academic one: It has happened nine times in American history.

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