Political Bettors Predict Impeachment, But Say Odds Long of President Trump Conviction

Posted on: January 14, 2021, 12:49h. 

Last updated on: February 2, 2021, 10:30h.

President Donald Trump has been impeached for a historic second time. But political bettors say the odds are long that’ll he’ll be convicted in the Senate.

impeachment Trump odds conviction
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi shows the media the signed article of impeachment against President Donald Trump. It’s the House’s second time impeaching the billionaire president. (Image: AP)

The US House of Representatives yesterday voted 232-197 to impeach the president for a second time. No president in US history has previously been impeached twice.

The bipartisan impeachment charges Trump with one count of “incitement of insurrection.” Ten Republicans voting “yea.” No Democrats voted against the impeachment.

Democrats and the 10 supportive GOP lawmakers claim Trump incited the Jan. 6 storming of the US Capitol. The impeachment now moves to the Senate, where the upper chamber will, at some point, hold a trial.

Bettors successfully forecast that Trump would indeed be impeached for a second time. But they aren’t so sold on the Senate finding him guilty of the charge brought against him.

PredictIt’s market asking whether the Senate will convict Trump within the first 100 days of President-elect Joe Biden’s presidency has “yes” shares trading at 29 cents. “No” shares are the betting front-runner at 71 cents.

Trial Timeline

Biden will be inaugurated next week on Jan. 20. The 100-day timeline offered by PredictIt gives the guilty verdict deadline of April 29, 2021, at 11:50 pm ET.

For Trump to be convicted, a two-thirds majority of senators will need to find the 45th president guilty of the impeachment charge. While the Democrats took control of the Senate during the 2020 election thanks to the results of the Georgia runoff, they will only hold 50 seats, far shy of the 67 needed to convict.

The Trump trial will mark yet another first, as it will be the first time the Senate holds an impeachment hearing against a president no longer in office. Another potential first would be if he’s found guilty, as no president has ever been convicted on impeachment in the Senate.

Current Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will become Senate Minority Leader after Biden takes office, and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris becomes the 50-50 tiebreaker for Senate control. McConnell says he is no longer loyal to the current president but isn’t sure how he’ll vote in the trial.

“Will Mitch McConnell vote to convict on incitement by April 29?” has “yes” shares the underdog at 37 cents.

Legal Juggernaut

Constitutional scholars have mixed views as to what power a presidential self-pardon would afford an exiting Commander-in-Chief. Trump has floated the idea of pardoning himself before leaving the White House.

Oddsmakers say there’s a roughly 40 percent chance Trump will pardon himself before Jan. 20. Presidential pardons provide immunity to an individual from related federal criminal investigations and charges.

“I think it’s a very close question whether it would ultimately be allowed to go forward, but I think there’s a chance a self-pardon might be struck down and be found to be the only limit on the pardon power,” Kristin Hucek, a former lawyer in the Justice Department’s Office of the Pardon Attorney, told Politico this week.

Trump maintains that he did not incite violence at the Capitol.