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'It would be a symbolic act': Eurasia Group US Managing Director on invoking 25th amendment

Eurasia Group US Managing Director Jon Lieber joined Yahoo Finance Live to break down the details on his thoughts of invoking the 25th amendment and what he sees in store for 2021.

Video Transcript

- We want to stick with the latest out of DC. And for more on that, we want to bring in Jon Lieber. He's Eurasia Group's US managing director. And, Jon, thanks so much for joining the program. We just heard Jess tell us the latest on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, also Senator Chuck Schumer, both calling for Trump's immediate removal. From your perspective, do you think the 25th Amendment should be considered and, then, if so, the implications of that?

JON LIEBER: I mean, "should be," I don't know. I'm not a cabinet member. I don't have the political savvy or skill to get to that level. But, you know, Trump has two weeks left in office, it would be basically a symbolic act. You could do it if you wanted to. Mike Pence has been extremely loyal to this president this whole time and he's clearly like a deer in the headlights right now, has no idea how to act in order to protect the republic or preserve his own political future. And, frankly, I think he's probably thinking about his own political future.

So we're two weeks away from the Biden nomination. The House may pass impeachment articles. I'd be really surprised to see them pass the Senate. And the president get convicted in the Senate. I think he's going to finish out his term either sitting in the Oval Office or beginning an early retirement in Mar-a-Lago. And then on January 20, Biden will become President.

- Jon, as we watch markets head into record territory, you know, we're roughly 50 minutes to the closing bell. It would seem, not financially, but from a national standpoint, we are quite vulnerable. I mean, it's as if the mad King George and nobody knows what to do. How do our allies and our adversaries react to the vacuum in leadership?

JON LIEBER: Yeah, I think that's the real risk of this next two-week period is that you've got a president who's-- his own cabinet members and I suspect people in the national security apparatus aren't going to be really too eager to listen to his orders. I mean, he's basically discredited himself, discredited the office. And I think that everyone in the bureaucracy in the US, the national security establishment is going to breathe a sigh of relief when he's gone. But, in the meantime, here he is. And if North Korea wants to do something, if Russia wants to do something, the US is, sad to say, in a very vulnerable position. So I think there's a real-- it's quite worrisome.

You know, you did see yesterday the National Guard being deployed, even without the president's explicit orders, because of the fact that they-- he had delegated authority to them to go ahead and do that. So I think that in many ways the US security establishment can, kind of, operate on its own. But, you know, in a worst case scenario, you've got nobody minding the store. His top national security advisors are starting to leave him and he's extremely weak right now.

- Jon, even with many people trying to distance themselves from the president, you do still have some people that are saying loyal to him. What does this tell you about his influence that he has and then also just the potential staying power of President Trump?

JON LIEBER: Yeah, it's very clear, yesterday, that there's a, you know, non-insignificant number of American voters who love the president, and love what he's done, and think this election was stolen from him. That he was not going to go away and President Trump's not going to go away. He's going to cast a long shadow both over the Republican Party and, unfortunately, over American democracy. I think where this plays out though, realistically, is in the 2022 midterm elections where Republicans have a number of vulnerable seats in swing-ish states where they're either held by Republicans or will be vacant. And the primaries there are going to be the battleground for the GOP going forward.

You know, interestingly, you have a dynamic in 2022 where the Republicans may be well-positioned to take back control of the House of Representatives, even as they lose seats in the Senate. And the people who are going to be taking back the seats in the House are probably, amongst that group, you're going to have some kind of traditional, you know, Chamber of Commerce-type Republicans, but you're probably going to have some even more Trumpy Republicans and this is just a phenomenon that's going to play out in the party over the year and midterm.

- Jon, what about the CEOs who have come out publicly in the last two weeks of the Trump administration against what he has incited? Would they remain angry with the congressman who allowed this, the 135 in the House of Representatives who tried to derail the counting of the Electoral College, or will we see their companies donate to those people in re-election?

JON LIEBER: That's an interesting question. I think-- you know, American CEOs have really struggled to understand the Trump era and they're wondering what happened to the good, old Republican Party that was pro-trade and pro-immigration? And, you know, a lot of these CEOs are themselves conservative, but they just have nothing in common with Trump's rural, populist, anti-elitist base. So, you know, the corporate donations-- I don't know, I don't think members have a lot of trouble raising money from outside conservative groups or from individual donors now, which is one of the, you know, unique features of our modern political landscape is that institutional donors matter a lot less. If you want to run as a Trump guy, there's going to be money for you to run as a Trump guy. And, ultimately, I think corporate CEOs just don't have the influence they once had in Congress.

- Hey, John, real quick, we only have about 30 seconds left here, and it's a lot to pack into the last question. But I'm curious because they haven't really talked about what happened in Georgia, Democrats there getting those two Senate seats. What do you think that by the Biden administration is going to be able to accomplish right away on the policy front?

JON LIEBER: It's all about fiscal policy with the two Georgia senators. It unlocks a much larger stimulus that may not have happened otherwise. And then down the road, it allows Biden to push through a health care agenda, plus a green energy agenda that's probably going to be financed with tax increases. And the reaction you're seeing in the markets is the expectation of increased fiscal spending early this year and they're kind of looking through the-- probably 2022 or 2023 tax increases that are coming.

- Jon Lieber, you're Eurasia Group's US managing director, our thanks to you for taking the time to join us.

JON LIEBER: Thank you.