Impeaching President Trump would cost millions
- As election midterms roll out today across the country and Robert Mueller’s investigations continue, the possibility of impeachment is still on the table.
- Impeachment work on President Bill Clinton’s case in 1998 cost $1.2 million.
- With inflation, the cost of presidential impeachment today could be close to $2 million or more.
Democrats could take over the House as a result of the midterm elections, which raises the possibility of some politicians pursuing impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. Allegations by former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen — that candidate Trump directed him to make hush-money payments during the 2016 campaign to cover up affairs — and ongoing investigations by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into people associated with the Trump campaign are adding fuel to the impeachment fire.
In September 2018, Trump tweeted that impeaching him would cause the country to collapse:
It might not cause the country to literally collapse, but an impeachment would cost millions.
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The Cost of a Presidential Impeachment
In 1999, The New York Times reported that five months of impeachment work on former President Bill Clinton’s case cost $1.2 million, according to records from the House Judiciary Committee. Adjusted for the cost of inflation, $1.2 million in 1999 would be equal to about $1.8 million in 2018 dollars, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s consumer price index inflation calculator.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the individual legal costs connected to the Clinton case detailed by the Times:
- Payments to Chief Republican Investigator David Schippers: as much as $20,000 per month
- Payments to Democratic counsel Abbe Lowell: as much as $18,000 per month
In 2018 dollars, those costs would be:
- Chief investigator’s monthly salary: $30,179.05
- Head counsel to represent the president: $27,161.15
Theoretically, in the exact same circumstances today — that is, five months of congressional proceedings — it would cost around $100,000 more to pay the lead investigator and counsel in a presidential impeachment case than it did in 1999, when Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial concluded. Add to that an inflated cost of paying for the work of entire legal teams on both sides, and you have a considerable increase over 1999’s $1.2 million in impeachment costs.
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