The goal isn’t specifically impeachment and conviction. It’s for Trump to leave office.
The stretch goal is that he dies broke and in prison.
But we could settle for him going down in history as our worst President, as the worst person ever to become President, with the name Trump held in less esteem than that of Benedict Arnold, with Trumpism — that pseudo-populist white nationalism for the benefit of the super-rich — thoroughly loathed and seen for the brutish scam that it is.
I think there comes a point before an actual trial in the Senate where Republican leaders — in Congress, in the Cabinet, wherever — realize that Trump can no longer govern, and they tell him so and urge him to resign.
And I think he actually does resign at that point. He’s been through bankruptcy, and he’s shown that when there’s no path to winning, he’ll take the easiest route out of the situation, the route that leaves him the most status. He doesn’t have the stick-to-it-iveness to go to trial in the Senate: he’d quit.
I don’t know what it will take to bring Republican leaders to this point. Their ongoing cowardice is the real scandal — when faced with a threat to our democracy, they play along because they’re hoping for some goodies.
I don’t think they get to this point unless the public gets to this point, and so I look to the approval polls. If it gets below 30%, it’s probably there because of further revelations in the Russia affair, and it’s probably at the point where even cowards feel safe in doing the right thing — even if only to save their own necks, which will need saving.
But right now Speaker Ryan won’t even replace Devin Nunes as chair of the house intelligence committee. So there’s still a long way to go.