In fairness to Steve Bannon, he said there’s only a “30 percent chance” Trump will finish his first term. As in, according to Bannon, there is a greater likelihood that Trump is not President by the time 2020 rolls around. He’s not warning about impeachment, which is DOA as long as Republicans are in charge, but he is warning about a cabinet coup.
According to Vanity Fair, Bannon advised Trump ignore impeachment chatter, but there was a greater threat more immediately around him:
West Wing aides have also worried about Trump’s public appearances, one Trump adviser told me. The adviser said aides were relieved when Trump declined to agree to appear on the season premiere of 60 Minutes last month. “He’s lost a step. They don’t want him doing adversarial TV interviews,” the adviser explained. Instead, Trump has sat down for friendly conversations with Sean Hannity and Mike Huckabee, whose daughter is Trump’s press secretary. (The White House official says the 60 Minutes interview is being rescheduled.)
Even before Corker’s remarks, some West Wing advisers were worried that Trump’s behavior could cause the Cabinet to take extraordinary Constitutional measures to remove him from office. Several months ago, according to two sources with knowledge of the conversation, former chief strategist Steve Bannon told Trump that the risk to his presidency wasn’t impeachment, but the 25th Amendment—the provision by which a majority of the Cabinet can vote to remove the president. When Bannon mentioned the 25th Amendment, Trump said, “What’s that?” According to a source, Bannon has told people he thinks Trump has only a 30 percent chance of making it the full term. [Emphasis added]
Impeachment has always seemed unlikely, unless a real crime has been committed. Some Republicans threatened similarly empty promises to remove President Obama in the same manner, but that too was a partisan pipe dream. However, would any of the current cabinet officials, all of which were selected and signed off on by Trump, actually try to remove him from office?
The provision in the 25th Amendment concerning removal from office is specifically for health reasons, or even for mental health reasons, but Trump has no medical condition hat would warrant removal, despite what some of his opponents believe. It’s also worth noting that no President has ever been removed under the 25th Amendment, but that’s not going to stop some motivated Democrats from trying, according to McClatchy:
“It’s easier to impeach than invoke the 25th Amendment,” Rosen added, “which is why no president has ever been removed under the disability provision of the 25th Amendment.”
Still, more Democrats are beginning to warm up to the idea of removing Trump from office through the amendment. That includes Rep. Al Green, who on Wednesday read articles of impeachment for Trump on the House floor and called for his removal from office under the 25th amendment, according to Metro.
One California Representative already called for the action, back in August:
POTUS is showing signs of erratic behavior and mental instability that place the country in grave danger. Time to invoke the 25th Amendment.
— Jackie Speier (@RepSpeier) August 16, 2017
McClatchy also explains the specifics of the 25th Amendment:
Adopted on Feb. 1967, the 25th amendment says the president can be removed from office if the majority of their cabinet determines the president is “unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”
But that’s just the most controversial part of the amendment. The 25th amendment also lays out the line of succession for who will become president and says the president can send a letter to the Speaker of the House and President Pro Tempore of the Senate that he is temporarily unable to effectively act as leader of the U.S.
With the cabinet being chosen by the President, it’s not surprising this provision has never been used to remove a President from office. Well, that, and the fact that the law only dates back to 1967 which means we haven’t had a lot of time to test it. Those around the President are usually the most loyal, and they only have a job because the President gave it to them. The circumstances would have to be such that the country was seriously imperiled before any of them would consider it a duty to country, above loyalty to the man, to have him removed.
Some have argued, such as Rep. Speier, that we’re already at that point, but she’s still in a small minority who thinks it’s doable right now. Bannon, however, sees down the road as Trump’s presidency unfolds, and fears the enemies of Trump will continue to gain small footholds within the administration, eventually wielding enough power to boot him from office. It’s rather far-fetched, but it’s not unreasonable to say the President has enemies, especially within the White House when you consider the endless amount of leaks released with intention to damage him.
At this point, consider it a history lesson on a part of the Constitution you probably didn’t even know existed up until right now.