Online wagering sites are taking bets on whether Donald Trump, mired in controversies over the dismissal of FBI Director James Comey, will serve out a full term as the 45th US president or will be impeached before year-end.
Political stock market PredictIt is seeing record bets on contracts about whether Trump would still be president at the end of the year.
The contract “Will Donald Trump be impeached in 2017?” saw its popularity skyrocket after reports of a memo written by Comey that said Trump had allegedly asked him to shut down the FBI’s inquiry into ties between former NSA Advisor Michael Flynn, national security adviser to Trump, and Russia.
At its peak on Wednesday, the price of a ‘yes’ contract on the impeachment question reached a record 33 cents, implying a 33 percent probability that Trump would be impeached, as compared to only 7 percent last week.
The UK-based bookmaker Paddy Power said its customers had staked over £5,000 (US$6,470) Trump’s early departure. The odds are currently at 21-10 that Trump is impeached in 2017.
Impeachment aside, odds are at 4-6 against Trump’s survival of a full first term, Paddy Power spokesman Lee Price said.
“We’ve been betting on impeachment for all recent US presidents but, even at the height of the Lewinsky scandal, Bill Clinton was only ever 6-1 to be impeached,” Price said, as cited by brocker.org. Clinton, of course, ultimately was impeached, though he survived trial and finished his presidency.
British betting firm Ladbrokes also noted that the bookies had to cut the price of a Trump impeachment from 11-10 to 4-5, following controversies over Comey’s dismissal.
“Political punters are wondering how many more scandals can Trump overcome [sic],” Ladbrokes spokeswoman Jessica Bridge said in a statement.
“And despite the short price on offer, money has poured in for the president to be impeached, leaving us with little option but to cut the odds,” she added.
On Wednesday, US House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz demanded that the FBI turn over all documents about communications between Trump and Comey. His request came after the New York Times reported that Trump allegedly asked Comey to shut down the FBI’s investigation into national security adviser Michael Flynn, who stepped down in February over his phone talks with the Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak.
Flynn was forced to resign after he “inadvertently briefed the Vice President-elect and others with incomplete information regarding his phone calls with the Russian Ambassador,” he wrote in his resignation letter. His 24-day run on the National Security Committee was the shortest- ever stint as national security adviser.
“If true, these memoranda raise questions as to whether the president attempted to influence or impede the FBI’s investigation as it relates to Lt. Gen. Flynn,”Chaffetz wrote to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe.
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