President Trump has threatened to take legal action if Democrats try to impeach him, musing that he’ll “sue.” He has peppered confidants and advisers with questions about how an impeachment inquiry might unfold. And he has coined his own cheeky term — “the I-word” — to refer to the legal and political morass that threatens to overshadow his presidency as he heads into his 2020 reelection campaign.
As Democrats struggle with how to handle calls from their liberal flank to impeach the president, Trump himself is eager to avoid such proceedings — while also fixated on his belief that Democrats can’t impeach him because he has done nothing wrong, according to interviews with 15 White House aides, outside advisers, Republican lawmakers and friends, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to share candid conversations.
The president is intrigued by the notion of impeachment but wary of its practical dangers, one outside adviser said. Trump remembers how Republican impeachment proceedings in the late 1990s against President Bill Clinton seemed to boost Clinton’s approval ratings, and Trump is at his best when battling a perceived foe, several advisers added.