President Barack Obama and his top officials developed a plan to counteract Donald Trump’s efforts to undermine the result of the 2016 presidential election in case he lost and rejected the outcome, according to a new report from New York Magazine.
And some of those same officials now say they’re worried about what would happen if Trump were now impeached and removed by the Senate — but he refused to go.
Former senior aide Ben Rhodes and Communications Director Jen Psaki spoke with the magazine about the plan in an article published Wednesday. According to the report:
The Obama White House plan, according to interviews with Rhodes and Jen Psaki, Obama’s communications director, called for congressional Republicans, former presidents, and former Cabinet-level officials including Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, to try and forestall a political crisis by validating the election result. In the event that Trump tried to dispute a Clinton victory, they would affirm the result as well as the conclusions reached by the U.S. intelligence community that Russian interference in the election sought to favor Trump, and not Clinton. Some Republicans were already aware of Russian interference from intelligence briefings given to leaders from both parties during the chaotic months before the election.
Psaki told the magazine that Trump likely wouldn’t accept impeachment, adding: “He’s laying the groundwork for delegitimizing the process now — questioning our institutions, attacking their leadership. This is all fodder for his supporters to work with in the event that things go down a dark path for him.” And Rhodes argued that the country could find itself in a “worrisome political situation” if Trump encouraged his supporters to reject the result of impeachment proceedings.