Betting Markets Move as Talk of Second Donald Trump Impeachment Grows

Impeachment is a heavy favorite

In the wake of Wednesday’s invasion of the United States Capitol Building by a mob of extreme-right Donald Trump supporters, encouraged and riled up by the President himself, talk of Trump’s possible removal from office has been ramping up. As such, the odds of both another impeachment and Trump’s ouster – even less than two weeks before Joe Biden assumes the Presidency – have been quickly changing.

On betting exchange PredictIt, the share price for a Trump impeachment has skyrocketed on Friday. As of 4pm ET, the latest “Yes” price on impeachment is $0.83 (maximum is $0.99), compared to $0.57 24 hours ago. This has been slowly climbing since news broke two hours ago that House Democrats plan to introduce articles of impeachment on Monday.

The market sees a much lower chance of Trump resigning during his first term, scheduled to end as of Biden’s inauguration on January 20. Current PredictIt shares are at $0.18, though this is still a jump from $0.07 on January 1.

Traders on PredictIt also believe that Trump will complete his first term, with shares sitting at $0.79.

Using traditional sports betting lines, Bovada has the odds of impeachment at -190 (thus, the betting favorite), of resignation at +330, and of completion of his term at -330.

Markets close to even on self-pardon

There has also been speculation that Donald Trump might pardon himself, something no US President has ever done. He has already pardoned a slew of people close to him politically, not because they did not deserve their convictions and punishments, but because they supported his political ambitions. Trump is also considering pre-emptive pardons for his children and those in his inner circle.

one of the most extraordinary and untested uses of presidential power in American history”

Legal scholars are not even certain if courts would recognize a self-pardon. If Trump does pardon himself, the New York Times said it would be “one of the most extraordinary and untested uses of presidential power in American history.”

Trump certainly thinks he can, going back two and a half years:

“Yes” shares of “Will Trump pardon himself in his first term” are currently trading at $0.57 on PredictIt, so the market thinks it is slightly more probable than not. It is a bit different on Bovada, where “Yes” is at even odds, while “No” is the favorite at -130.

In additional to the legal question of whether or not Trump can actual pardon itself, the bind it puts him in, should he do it, is that it means he is admitting to a crime.

First President to be impeached twice?

The betting markets specify that an impeachment (or lack thereof) must happen after January 7. This is primarily because the House of Representatives already voted to impeach Donald Trump once before, on December 18, 2019.

Keep in mind that impeachment is not the same as removal from office. The official impeachment is voted on by the House in a simple majority vote. The Senate then votes on whether or not to remove the President from office, requiring a two-thirds majority vote. In February 2020, the Senate found Trump not guilty of abuse of power by a 52-48 vote and not guilty of obstruction of Congress by a 53-47 vote. Senator Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote against Trump on the first charge.

Trump was just the third President to be impeached, following Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Both of the other two were acquitted. Richard Nixon would have been impeached, as the process had been initiated, but he resigned in August 1974.

Four other US Presidents – John Tyler, James Buchanan, Harry Truman, and Ronald Reagan – were subjects of formal investigations, but were not impeached.

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