One Harvard Law School professor has a big—and very far-fetched—dream for the American presidency. More than a year after Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 election, this professor still believes she could become commander in chief.
Lawrence Lessig, the Roy L. Furman professor of law and leadership at Harvard Law School, wrote an essay for Medium in October. In the essay, he outlined a series of hypothetical scenarios.
All his scenarios hinged upon a Russia probe discovering that the Trump campaign conspired with Russia to steal the election. If the probe discovers Trump did conspire with Russia, then the president “should resign, or, if he doesn’t, he should be impeached,” said Lessig.
From there, Vice President Mike Pence would have to either resign or also be impeached. This would make House Speaker Paul Ryan the president of the United States.
"Given that there is “no mechanism in American law for a new election,” nor “a mechanism for correcting the criminal results of the previous election,” Ryan ought to nominate “the person defeated by the treason of his own party, and then step aside, and let her become President,” summarized Newsweek.
On Wednesday, in an interview with Newsweek, Lessig said he believes this scenario is still a possibility.
“This is one way it could happen,” Lessig said about his highly improbable scenario. “But that’s very different from saying I think it will happen, or should happen, or [that] the evidence is there for it to happen.”
Since the essay was published, there hasn’t been “any evidence that’s come out that’s resolved the question, whether there was some conspiracy to steal the election,” the professor said.
“I don’t feel that we’ve seen anything that increases that probability,” he added.
However, if evidence that Trump and his team conspired to steal the election did emerge in the future, he firmly said the president would have to step down.
“Absolutely, he’s got to resign, and if he doesn’t resign, then absolutely Congress needs to impeach him,” he said of the hypothetical situation.
Lessig noted that the hypotheticals he wrote about in his essay would apply to only the specific scenario he described.
“The remedy that I…outline[d] only makes sense if you believe the election was stolen," he said. "If you don’t believe the election was stolen, there might have been a hundred other things [Trump] did that would lead you to believe he ought to be removed, but none of those justify the remedy I described."