Consider the following hypothetical situation for a moment: Special Counsel Robert Mueller proves that President Donald Trump and other members of his 2016 campaign team did indeed conspire with Russia and rigged the election for the Republicans. What happens next? Another election? Vice President Mike Pence becomes POTUS? House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as president?
Utter chaos in Washington, D.C.?
Harvard Law School professor Lawrence Lessig addressed this issue last October in a piece he wrote for Medium in which he laid out the scenario of Trump being proven guilty and impeached. All of this, of course, is laid out in the Constitution:
“[Trump] should resign, or, if he doesn’t, he should be impeached.”
Assuming that Pence is implicated in the conspiracy, he too would have to be impeached, Lessig continued, making Ryan head of state.
But then Lessig tossed out the proverbial curveball, noting that the U.S. Constitution has:
“No mechanism in American law for a new election [or] a mechanism for correcting the criminal results of the previous election… [Ryan should then nominate] the person defeated by the treason of his own party, and then step aside, and let her become President.”
And just like THAT, Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote by nearly 3 million ballots, would become president.
Professor Lessig is now revisiting his hypothetical scenario and says it still makes perfect sense, telling Newsweek:
“This is one way it could happen. But that’s very different from saying I think it will happen, or should happen, or [that] the evidence is there for it to happen.”
Lessig was also careful to point out that Clinton should only be named president if it could be proven that a conspiracy was responsible for tilting the election to Trump. Otherwise, his proposed solution would be invalid:
“The remedy that I…outline[d] only makes sense if you believe the election was stolen. If you don’t believe the election was stolen, there might have been a hundred other things [Trump] did that would lead you to believe he ought to be removed, but none of those justify the remedy I described.”
None of this means that Clinton will be named the president, but if the American people demanded such an outcome, would Congress be able to deny the White House to the rightful winner of the election? Time will tell.