US President Donald Trump sees impeachment as a “real possibility” when Democrats take over the House of Representatives in a month, amid the ongoing probe into the president’s ties with Russia, sources close to the White House say.
Despite publicly dismissing as a “hoax” the ongoing probe into his alleged “collusion” with Russia, Trump is worried that new breakthroughs in a related case regarding campaign finance violations could bring him down, CNN reported Monday, citing unnamed sources in the White House.
The investigation, led by US Special Counsel Robert Mueller, made headlines on Friday, after a court filing revealed that Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, had provided Mueller with “useful information” concerning certain discrete Russia-related matters core to his investigation.
Another source close to the White House told CNN that people inside the West Wing believed Cohen’s way of spending campaign donations was “the only issue that may stick.”
Trump earlier this year acknowledged repaying Cohen for the $130,000 he had secretly paid to adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels.
He had previously denied knowing anything about the payment, which is believed to have been taken from voter contributions.
Under US law, contributions to election campaigns, defined as things of value given to a campaign to influence voters, must be disclosed. Such payments are also limited to $2,700 per person.
On Monday, Trump again denied any wrongdoing on his part and shifted any blame on Cohen.
“There was NO COLLUSION. So now the Dems go to a simple private transaction, wrongly call it a campaign contribution, which it was not,” Trump tweeted. “But even if it was, it is only a CIVIL CASE, like Obama’s – but it was done correctly by a lawyer and there would not even be a fine. Lawyer’s liability if he made a mistake, not me. Cohen just trying to get his sentence reduced. WITCH HUNT!”
Democrats say Trump might have committed an “impeachable offense”and could receive some jail time once his term in the White House is over.
White House officials, however, still don’t see Mueller’s investigation result in impeachment. They also think that the campaign finance issue lacks the oomph to guarantee bipartisan support for impeachment in the House, let alone the Republican-dominated Senate.