What’s Next in the Trump-Russia Scandal

There is now proof of collusion with Russia, but that doesn’t mean Donald Trump is about to lose the presidency.

We have entered a new phase in the Trump-Russia scandal.

Not only did the president’s oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., met with a Kremlin-friendly lawyer last summer hoping to learn damaging information about Hillary Clinton; he did not seem at all surprised when a Russian contact told him Moscow was supporting his father.

This is the clearest evidence yet of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

Which, despite what Trump’s apologists in the conservative media are saying, would be a crime.

But that doesn’t mean Trump is about to lose his job.

Impeachment remains unlikely

Even if Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating Russia’s attack on the 2016 election, finds evidence that implicates Trump personally, it is extremely unlikely he will bring charges against the president. Against his underlings, yes. But the legal consensus is that the president could not be prosecuted while in office.

Which means it’s up to Republicans in Congress. They control the House of Representatives, where a simple majority is needed to file article of impeachment. A two-thirds majority in the Senate would then be required to convict and remove the president.

Given Trump’s enduring popularity with right-wing voters — 81 percent of Republicans and 88 percent of self-described conservatives think he’s doing a good job, according to Pew’s most recent survey — that remains an unlikely prospect.