Updated Oct 7, 2019

Scoop: Trump's private concerns of an impeachment legacy

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Trump has told friends and allies he worries about the stain impeachment will leave on his legacy.

Driving the news: In a phone call with House Republicans on Friday, Trump articulated why he really doesn't want this. Impeachment, Trump said, is a "bad thing to have on your resume," according to a source on the call. Two other sources on the call confirmed the substance of the comment, but one said they recalled Trump phrasing it as "you don't want it [impeachment] on your resume."

  • After making the resume remark, Trump added, "But it's going to make Kevin speaker," these sources said, a reference to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's upside.

Why it matters: These two Trump quotes might seem like throwaways on what was a lengthy and discursive call with allies. But sources who have discussed impeachment candidly with the president say these comments perfectly encapsulate how Trump feels about it: He believes it could help him get re-elected and win back the House. But he doesn't want the history books recording Donald Trump as an impeached president.

Between the lines: Some prominent political analysts, including the New York Times' Ross Douthat, have speculated that the president might welcome articles of impeachment. Sources close to the president say this interpretation is dead wrong. Trump adamantly does not want to be impeached — because he cares, above all, about his legacy.

Behind the scenes: Many of Trump's advisers, both inside and out of the White House, have given him their unpleasant prediction that he will almost certainly be impeached by the House of Representatives. But they have also told him they believe there is almost no chance the Senate convicts him.

  • One person who spoke to Trump in the past 10 days said he seemed resistant to that prediction and said he thought he could stop Nancy Pelosi from getting the votes to impeach. The source said Trump seemed confident that he could pile enough pressure onto House Democrats in "Trump districts" (where he won in 2016 but Democrats took back in 2018) that those incumbents would cave on Pelosi.
  • But a second person who spoke to Trump in the last few days said the president "was not in denial" and understood that the House is probably going to impeach him.

Trump's re-election campaign and the RNC are reportedly spending $10 million on advertising targeting Joe Biden and Democrats supporting impeachment.

  • And Vice President Mike Pence will be piling additional pressure onto Democrats in Trump districts, where, per the NYT, "Mr. Pence's aides have argued that ... impeachment lacks strong support, especially when compared with kitchen-table issues."

Go deeper: Public support for Trump's impeachment is higher than it was for Nixon and Clinton

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Impeached and re-elected

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

It’s looking more likely by the day that President Trump will be impeached by the House for his dealings with Ukraine. But if he is acquitted by the Senate — and then goes on to win a second term — Democrats will face a predicament neither party has confronted in U.S. history.

Why it matters: If Trump survives politically and is re-elected to serve another four years, Congress likely would have nowhere left to go in the event of another scandal, legal and political experts say — not because the House couldn’t impeach him again, but because it might be politically impossible to do so.

Go deeperArrowOct 10, 2019

Exclusive: Kushner says Trump's "record of accomplishments is unimpeachable"

President Trump's senior adviser Jared Kushner told me during an exclusive interview with Israel's Channel 13 News that the president’s "record of accomplishments is unimpeachable" — and that "he hasn't done anything wrong."

Why it matters: Kushner is one of the officials working on the White House's impeachment strategy, per CNN — but this is the first time he has spoken publicly about the issue since the Ukraine scandal erupted.

Go deeperArrowOct 29, 2019

All 2020 Democrats want to impeach Trump

Julián Castro, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden. Photos: Getty Images

All major 2020 Democratic candidates have joined the call to launch an impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

Driving the news: Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Sept. 24 that the House will open a formal impeachment inquiry into the president.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 9, 2019