Will Trump Be Impeached? Online Bets Assess the Odds
Policy + Politics

Will Trump Be Impeached? Online Bets Assess the Odds

Jonathan Ernst

Odds are that President Donald Trump will survive a growing brew of controversies, but bettors see his chances declining by the minute.

Online wagering sites have been busy taking bets on whether the 45th president will make it through the year. As the heat has intensified, more action has been going toward expectations that he will be impeached before the end of the year.

Related: Here’s Why Intelligence Professionals Are Horrified by Trump’s Russia Leak

As of mid-Wednesday morning, widely followed site PredictIt was indicating about a 27 percent chance that Congress would move to boot Trump out of office. While that's barely a 1-in-4 probability, it's up dramatically from as recently as May 8, when the probability was as low as 7 percent.

The developments come as Trump weathers yet another storm, this time over whether he tried to interfere in an FBI investigation of his former national security director, Michael Flynn. News reports that Trump tried to cajole former FBI Director James Comey into backing off an investigation into Flynn's ties with Russia have raised partisan ire in Washington and increased expectations that Trump, barely 100 days into his first term, won't make it through his four years.

It's worth nothing that PredictIt had Hillary Clinton as a roughly 82 percent favorite to win the Nov. 8 election. So the vagaries of gamblers aren't always terribly accurate.

Still, sentiment from PredictIt bettors mirror those on other wagering sites.

Related: The Real Problem With Trump’s Russian Revelation

U.K.-based Paddy Power is laying 3-1 odds that Trump is impeached in 2017, and those chances have been growing as well. Impeachment talk has dogged Trump basically since his Nov. 8 upset victory. At that time, PaddyPower already had 16-1 odds, which fell to 10-1 by his Jan. 20 inauguration.

Beyond impeachment, odds are 4-6, or better than even money, that Trump won't make it through his first term, according to Paddy Power spokesman Lee Price.

"We've been betting on impeachment for all recent U.S. presidents but, even at the height of the Lewinsky scandal, Bill Clinton was only ever 6-1 to be impeached," Price said. Clinton, of course, ultimately was impeached, though he survived trial and finished his presidency.

Paddy Power is taking wagers on what will be used as justification for Trump's impeachment. The most likely is treason (10-3), followed by tax evasion (4-1); perjury (7-1) and bribery (10-1).

Paddy Power received some notoriety during the 2016 campaign when it essentially called the race in mid-October and paid off on more than $1 million in bets on Hillary Clinton.

Another site, Sportsbook.ag, has shown rising odds of a Trump impeachment, though wagerers on the site still consider him the most likely candidate to win the presidency in 2020.

The experts weigh in

Those more intimately acquainted with the workings of politics and financial markets still believe Trump will survive.

"We view impeachment proceedings as still at this stage quite unlikely," Krishna Guha, economist at Evercore ISI, said in a note, though he noted that the "tail risk" of such an improbable event "has fattened" since the Comey reports surfaced Tuesday.

"Categorical proof of an intent to obstruct justice is not easily proven, in particular in the political arena," Guha added.

And Greg Valliere, chief global strategist at Horizon Investments and a leading voice on politics and the markets, said that from a purely political standpoint, Trump probably has enough Republican support to survive should an impeachment vote happen.

"To convict, it would take a two-thirds vote in the Senate, a very high bar to clear, since the Republicans have 52 seats," Valliere wrote. "As of this morning, we think Trump can hang on, but who knows what comes next?"

This article originally appeared on CNBC. Read more from CNBC:

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