It’s hard to believe but one week from the date on the front of this newspaper, our country will know who the 45th President of the United States will be.
Though Donald Trump supporters might argue the validity and bias in polling, Hillary Clinton is being reported as the frontrunner to win the presidency.
With the FBI re-opening the case involving the mishandling of classified information through the former Secretary of State’s email server, the U.S. finds itself in a sticky situation.
We might very well have a president-elect indicted before being sworn into office.
There are several scenarios that could take place.
The first couple are very unlikely…
• If Clinton is indicted before next Tuesday, then the Electoral College members could vote on their own. This is prohibited in about 30 states but her own party could pressure her to give up her candidacy at the last second.
• If she stepped down before the election, the DNC Bylaws lead to a committee meeting to discuss a vacancy on a national ticket to choose a new candidate. The chairperson will lead the meeting. A new ticket would have to be decided upon when the DNC meets on December 19.
Now if the former Secretary of State wins the election and is indicted before her inauguration in January, then things get really interesting.
These are actual scenarios that could play themselves out and it’s crazy to think just how close this could become a reality.
• If she wins, she would likely want to get sworn in before her case concludes. Let’s say she is indicted and convicted before taking her oath, Section 3 of the 20th Amendment could come into effect as she could be labeled as incapacitated. This means Vice President-elect Tim Kaine would be our new President. It’s important to note that our justice system will likely not move that fast. Think about it…how many years has it been since the investigation into Clinton’s emails started?
• Clinton could win the election and take the oath of office as there is a philosophy that would show presidents being immune to prosecution while in office.
An updated memo in 2000 by the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) noted a president being immune from indictment and prosecution for the duration of their time in office.
As for impeachment, the House of Representatives in 1873 said presidents cannot be impeached for offenses they committed before they took office.
Some experts say Article II of the Constitution would allow the newly elected president to pardon herself.
If an indictment comes soon after she possibly wins the election, the pressure may mount for her to step down.
If Donald Trump wins, none of this matters. If he doesn’t win, our nation could be heading into an interesting next couple of months. We can make educated guesses as to what the FBI finds in this new group of emails but we don’t know the full extent of what they’re looking at.
Could there be a “smoking gun” that forces the federal justice system to have no choice but to take swift action?
Could a president-elect have her security clearance revoked or minimized?
Could the former Secretary of State be cleared of any further wrongdoing?
Any of these scenarios are possible.