Donald Trump warns of market meltdown if he's impeached

TNN | Aug 23, 2018, 09.52 PM IST

WASHINGTON: US President Donald Trump warned on Thursday that "markets would crash" and "everyone would be very poor" if he is impeached, even as Americans weighed the conviction of two of his closest former aides, one of whom directly implicated him in campaign finance violation resulting from paying off a porn worker.

The legal setback is evidently keeping Trump awake at night. "NO COLLUSION - RIGGED WITCH HUNT!" he tweeted in all caps at 1 a.m. But as his defense collapsed under the weight of contradictory claims and statements he and his aides have made over several months, he was before 6 a.m. for a pre-dawn interview with Fox News, his go-to channel for comfort that faithfully airs his version of truth, arguing that any move to impeach him would be disastrous for the economy.

"If I ever got impeached, I think the market would crash, I think everybody would be very poor, because without this thinking ( deregulation, tax cuts etc), you would see numbers that you wouldn’t believe in reverse," Trump warned, as he bragged about the uptick in the economy that from all accounts has extended now into the largest bull run in history.

A bull run is traditionally considered to start once stocks rise more than 20 per cent from their low (similarly, a bear market low is considered to start when stocks fall 20 percent from their high) and the current bull run of 3,453 days ticked over the previous record from October 1990 to March 2000 on Thursday.

That is the #1 argument Trump has been making to circumvent political fallout from the legal setbacks, including the possibility that Democrats could begin impeachment proceedings, particularly if they recapture Congress in the November midterm poll from Republicans who currently control both the House and the Senate.

Regardless of the legal jeopardy he is in – Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe continues and Cohen’s lawyer Lanny Davis has said his client has information on the subject that would interest the FBI investigation - the US President appears intent on taking the battle to the people in November, making it some sort of referendum on his conduct and his performance. Despite the tawdry spectacle and the pervasive stink of corruption around his administration, Trump said he gave his presidency an "A plus" and projected "Had Hillary and the Democrats gotten in, had she been president, you would have had negative growth. We picked up $10 trillion worth…the economy is the best it’s ever been in history."

While political pundits weighed in on whether Democrats would have the nerve and the heft to put Trump through impeachment proceedings in a partisan atmosphere, legal and constitutional scholars argued about the bar for impeachment, whether a sitting US President can be criminally indicted (and is therefore above the law), and whether he can be prosecuted after he demits office. Most scholars appear to agree that the President cannot be criminally indicted while in office, but he can he impeached.

Trump supporters are literally daring Democrats to initiate impeachment, confident that their narrative of economic growth and the fight against illegal immigration will galvanize the Republican base to help to retain majority in Congress, and perhaps even help him win a second term. For now, Democrats remain cautious and appear to lack the nerve to go down the impeachment route, even though hardline sections are calling for it.