Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci has said that President Donald Trump could be forced to resign if key administration officials are made to testify in his Senate impeachment trial.
Speaking on the BBC Radio 4’s Today show, Scaramucci argued that Trump’s looming trial could be so punishing and make his position so untenable that lawmakers would not even need to remove him from office.
The House approved two articles of impeachment against the president Wednesday in a near party-line vote. Speaker Nancy Pelosi will now have to deliver the articles to the Senate for a trial to be held.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer are already wrangling over the format of the trial, with the Democrats pushing to bring key witnesses from within the administration.
Figures like acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and former National Security Advisor John Bolton did not testify to House investigators. If Schumer can win the support of four Republican senators, his 51-strong group will be able to force witnesses to appear.
Scaramucci—who has become a prominent Trump critic since leaving the White House—told the BBC that this is vital in ensuring “a fair process and a fair trial in the Senate.”
Scaramucci said the president is “pulling a party along with him” and “doesn’t either understand the morality of the position that he’s in or he doesn’t understand the laws that he’s breaking.”
“There’s a level of shamelessness about him that I find horrifying,” he added. Scaramucci said he hoped a handful of GOP senators would work with Schumer, noting senators like Mitt Romney and Lamar Alexander have “been around a very long time” and “understand what President Trump is doing.”
“I think they could say, ‘Hey look, it’s got to be country over party and personal power,'” Scaramucci explained.
If they do so, the Democrats could make the Senate trial extremely uncomfortable for Trump, Scaramucci said. If figures like Bolton, Pompeo, Mulvaney and the president’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani testify, “they’re going to have to tell the truth about what happened,” he predicted.
Citing the explosive testimony given by European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland, Scaramucci said he does not think “any of them want to go to jail for Donald Trump.”
Their testimony could mark the end for Trump, even before senators are asked to vote to remove or acquit, Scaramucci argued. “I think that would force the president to resign. I think it would be over.”
“Don’t think about the 18 or 19 senators that you need to convict him,” he said. “He’s not going to be able to withstand an intense trial with Justice Roberts as the judge overseeing that trial in the Senate.”
Despite his vociferous opposition to his former boss, Scaramucci said that no one in the U.S. “is in love with the idea of the president getting impeached.” That said, he argued that this particular president “is a lawless criminal” and must be removed.
“Oh my god, with his removal we’d probably have to have a national holiday,” he said. “It’d be like another Fourth of July in the United States.” Though he acknowledged there would be “pockets of anger,” he argued there would be “in general, relief around the country.”
“This is like the Night King being killed in the Game of Thrones,” Scaramucci explained. “Once this guy is removed from office, it’s a personality cult. All that false idolatry of a personality cult will dissipate. And so, at the end of the day, people will look around and say, ‘What were we doing?”
“You can’t support this level of lawless…this isn’t even early-stage fascism anymore, this is like mid-stage to sort of full-blown fascism,” Scaramucci claimed.
“The fever is breaking. It’s classic demagoguery…I think it flames out and when it does, the fever breaks, you’re gonna look around and say, ‘Where was I? Was I nuts? Why was I supporting the guy?'”
Scaramucci, of course, was one of those who previously supported Trump and even served the administration, if only very briefly.
“I have to own the fact that I was supporting him, but at least I was smart enough to say, ‘OK, wait a minute, this is really lawless and this is crazy,'” Scaramucci told the BBC.
Scaramucci fully abandoned the president over his attack on Democratic women of color and his response to the mass shooting in El Paso. His subsequent public criticism of the president apparently rankled Trump, sparking a war of words between the two men.
Trump said in August that Scaramucci was “quickly terminated” from his White House role after proving himself “totally incapable.” Trump added his former staffer “now seems to do nothing but television as the all time expert on ‘President Trump.'”
In his BBC interview, Scaramucci also addressed concerns that Trump may not agree to cede power if removed by the Senate or defeated in the 2020 election. “When you have a full-blown demagogue, it usually ends in the tears of nihilism and destructiveness,” he said.
“Full-blown demagogues that operate the way Donald Trump operates, they don’t go down easily. It always ends in tears with some level of mania and craziness.”