Trump faces 'humiliation and possible imprisonment' if he won't leave after losing: CNN legal analyst
President Donald Trump responds to a question about Jussie Smollett (Screen cap).

Most polls suggest that President Donald Trump is on track to lose the 2020 presidential election -- but what happens if he tries to stay in office even after being defeated?


CNN legal analyst Paul Callan writes that things could get "ugly" if the president challenges the election results and refuses to concede, although in the end he expects that the president will not be successful in his efforts to cling to power.

"Were he to attempt such a maneuver, however, history suggests it would end with his personal humiliation, disgrace, and possible imprisonment on criminal charges," Callan explains. "In 1807 former Vice President Aaron Burr was tried for treasonous acts against the United States... though Burr was acquitted, it seems clear that an attempt to illegally seize and retain presidential power would violate a variety of criminal conspiracy laws."

Callan speculates that, if Trump is truly insistent about not leaving the White House, even the military could get involved to tell the president that it will have no part in participating in a coup.

Should Trump file a lawsuit challenging the results of the election, he could theoretically delay rival Joe Biden's inauguration -- but that would also backfire because it would make House Speaker Nancy Pelosi the interim president.

"While serving as interim president, Pelosi would undoubtedly order Trump's arrest and confinement in the Tower, the Trump Tower, under house arrest to await his treason trial," he writes. "Under such circumstances, despite the President's bluster about keeping his options open concerning presidential election fraud, Trump will pack his bags and head for his new low-tax Florida home if he loses the election."