On the day his former campaign chairman and former attorney moved closer to prison, President Donald J. Trump appeared at a rally in West Virginia where the crowd chanted "drain the swamp" and "lock her up."


What that means, of course, is that the president's more fervent supporters will stick with him no matter what. They will continue to think the special counsel's investigation is rigged and the real culprits are Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

And while many of the president's critics have been reluctant to talk about impeachment as an issue in the approaching mid-term election, his supporters aren't nearly so shy.

"Today clarifies that November is a referendum on impeachment, an up or down vote," Steve Bannon, the president's one-time senior strategist, told Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs. "Every Trump supporter needs to get with the program."

Even the president is using the I-word.

"If I ever get impeached, I think the market would crash," he said in an interview on "Fox and Friends." "I think everybody would be very poor, because without this thinking, you would see … you would see numbers that you wouldn't believe in reverse."

In the center of it all are the legal issues surrounding Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen.

The president is correct in saying the charges against Manafort had nothing to do with the presidential campaign. What the president is worried about is what Manafort might do when the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison begins to sink in, and the president is doing all he can to ensure his former campaign chairman stays loyal.

"I feel very badly for Paul Manafort and his wonderful family," the president tweeted the day after Manafort's conviction. "'Justice' took a 12-year-old tax case, among other things, applied tremendous pressure on him and, unlike Michael Cohen, he refused to 'break' — make up stories in order to get a 'deal.' Such respect for a brave man!"

Cohen, on the other hand, has admitted conspiring with the president to cover up two extramarital flings.

The president doesn't deny his former attorney arranged payoffs to two women. He just claims the payoffs were legal.

Cohen's attorney, meanwhile, says his client has more to tell, something the president thinks "almost ought to be illegal."

"I know all about flipping, 30, 40 years I have been watching flippers," he told "Fox and Friends." "Everything is wonderful and then they get 10 years in jail and they flip on whoever the next highest one is or as high as you can go."

Could we have imagined two years ago that we would one day have a president who would be worried about his former associates flipping? Could he really be leading a Republican Party that once impeached a president for lying about sex with an intern?

Still, as long as he can keep his base happy, the president is likely safe.

Sure, the Democrats could move to impeach him if they take control of the House in November. An impeachment vote requires only a simple majority.

But removing the president from office would require the votes of a two-thirds majority in the U.S. Senate, and there is no scenario under which Democrats will win that many seats in this year's election. In fact, they could very well lose ground. Thirty-three seats are up for election this year, and only nine are currently held by Republicans.

So, don't get too excited about the prospect of impeachment. The odds are the president will be in office at least through 2020. Maybe longer if he can win re-election.

Kelly Hawes is a columnist for CNHI News Indiana. He can be reached at kelly.hawes@indianamediagroup.com.

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