The odds do not favor Donald Trump being impeached or indicted, but there is an unusual alternative without precedent. In 1963, following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, a bipartisan effort led by Senators Kenneth Keating and Estes Kefauver enacted legislation for a procedure to replace a president unable to discharge the duties of the office. Like impeachment and indictment, however, the use of the 25th Amendment is unlikely.
The frightening letter from a senior official in the Trump administration that appeared in the New York Times begs questions about the possibility of additional “misguided impulses” from the President that cannot be blocked. Unfortunately, there is a terrible precedent from the Nixon administration in 1973 during the October War, when President Richard M. Nixon was incapacitated and national security adviser Henry A. Kissinger recklessly and unnecessarily upgraded the nuclear alert to Defense Condition III.