Citi thinks people should start to think about the “I” word when it comes to President Donald Trump’s presidency: impeachment.
Tina Fordham, chief global political analyst at Citi, said that the possibility of impeachment is still low. But, after the release of emails between Donald Trump Jr. and a music publicist believed to have helped arrange a June 2016 meeting with a Russian attorney in which Trump Jr. was hoping to get dirt on Hillary Clinton, the prospects of a Trump ouster are on the rise.
“Do these most recent developments, which suggest that key Trump advisers, including his son Donald Trump Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner met with a Russian lawyer (who had previously lobbied in Washington against the 2012 Magnitsky sanctions act), change the potential for impeachment?” Fordham wrote in a note after the news broke. “It is of course too soon to say, but we believe the risk of impeachment proceedings is now higher than before, even if still not our base case.”
The biggest thing getting in the way of impeachment is congressional Republicans. As Fordham notes, despite GOP lawmakers saying they are “troubled” by the Trump-Russia headlines, it is unlikely they impeach Trump while they have a majority in both chambers.
“With this in mind, despite remarks from senior Congressional Republicans suggesting unease with the Trump Administration, it would be highly unusual and indeed likely politically costly to the party’s electoral prospects to pursue impeachment proceedings against a president of their own party, particularly with Midterm elections a little over a year away,” Fordham wrote.
Despite this, Tuesday’s news does further the possibility that Republicans’ legislative agenda stays stuck in place. This means that items like the repeal and replacement of Obamacare, tax reform, and economic stimulus could be further off than the GOP wants.
The continued Russia-related headlines, according to the Citi analyst, could also cause the Republican brand to suffer damage going into future elections.
“Impeachment proceedings may never be brought, but the risk of reputational damage to the Republican party and those members of Congress up for re-election in November 28 Midterms will be a further risk factor to consider,” concluded Fordham.