Alan J. Steinberg—who served as an adviser to former President George W. Bush—wrote in an opinion piece published this week that he didn't believe President Donald Trump would be removed from office through impeachment.
Steinberg, a former Environmental Protection Agency regional administrator, said that he believed Trump would resign in 2019 in exchange for immunity.
"Trump will not be removed from office by the constitutional impeachment and removal process," Steinberg wrote in The Star-Ledger. "Instead, the self-professed supreme dealmaker will use his presidency as a bargaining chip with federal and state authorities in 2019, agreeing to leave office in exchange for the relevant authorities not pursuing criminal charges against him, his children or the Trump Organization."
Steinberg noted in the piece that should the House of Representatives impeach Trump, 20 Republican senators would have to break with the president to remove him from office—and that seems very unlikely. Steinberg wrote that the many legal challenges facing Trump—the investigation from special counsel Robert Mueller, the probe from the Southern District of New York as well as inquiries from the attorney general of New York and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office—could lead him to leave the White House, especially as authorities close in on his family.
Steinberg wrote for The Star-Ledger:
"Aside from all the legal nightmares facing Trump and his presidency, it appears virtually impossible for Trump to be reelected in 2020. The economy appears headed for a severe recession, as evidenced by the recent plunge in the stock market, which appears on pace for its worst December since the Great Depression.
There are only two years left in Trump’s presidential term. With his approval ratings in an abysmal state, and the forthcoming recession making it near impossible for Trump to stage a political recovery, it appears most likely that he will use the continuation of his presidency as a bargaining chip."
Steinberg is far from the only person who believes Trump will be out of office before his first term is up.
Former Republican Representative John LeBoutillier wrote that it seemed increasingly clear that Trump's presidency was going fully off the rails. Making predictions for The Hill, he wrote:
"1. Donald J. Trump’s presidency will not survive 2019;
2. The downward trajectory of every aspect of his tenure indicates we are headed for a spectacular political crash-and-burn—and fairly soon; 3. His increasingly erratic and angry behavior, his self-imposed isolation, his inability, and refusal to listen to smart advisers that he hired, all are leading him to a precipice."
The new year has begun with Trump fighting over his long-promised wall along the southern border of the United States. The president sparked a partial government shutdown when he refused to sign a spending bill that didn't include funding for the wall, and it's unclear when that shutdown might end.
"The Democrats, much as I suspected, have allocated no money for a new Wall," Trump tweeted this week. "So imaginative! The problem is, without a Wall, there can be no real Border Security - and our Country must finally have a Strong and Secure Southern Border!"
Trump, meanwhile, aside from his dedicated based, remains largely unpopular, with his average approval rating at 41.4 percent on Wednesday morning, according to the tracker from data-focused website FiveThirtyEight.