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Today’s Impeach-O-Meter: What Fresh Hell Will Season Four of the Trump Show Bring?

Former campaign aide Corey Lewandowski boards Air Force One.
Former campaign aide Corey Lewandowski boards Air Force One. Saul Loeb/Getty Images

The Impeach-O-Meter is a wildly subjective and speculative daily estimate of the likelihood that Donald Trump leaves office before his term ends, whether by being impeached (and convicted) or by resigning under threat of same

Season Four of the absurd and often painful reality TV series that is now our national politics will apparently see the return of some old bit characters. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that President Donald Trump has been consulting with past advisors over what the Republican Party’s strategy should be heading into unfavorable 2018 mid-term election terrain. This included a Tuesday lunch meeting with one-time Season Three chief of staff Reince Priebus, during which the nondescript but absurdly named comic foil reportedly expressed concern about next year’s election. While it’s unlikely we’ll see a full-scale return of Reince—whose only entertaining moment on the show involved his ritual humiliation during his final episode—other characters are in play to come back in the new year.

The Post also reported that the campaign manager from Seasons One and Two, Corey Lewandowski, had met with Trump and White House political officials in the Oval Office on Wednesday. The meeting with the famously hot-tempered Lewandowski reportedly turned contentious, with the one-time CNN pundit apparently critiquing Trump’s current political director, Bill Stepien. That newer character joined the show in August from a similar format of morbid curiosity programming, but has seen little screen time since. Perhaps Season Four will involve Lewandowski, best remembered for the episode in Season Two in which he was charged with assaulting a reporter, attempting to take Stepien’s job. (Charges against Lewandowski’s character were ultimately dropped.)

That sort of palace intrigue has been a staple of the show in early seasons, but might be difficult to pull off next year considering Stepien’s relative anonymity and how past such plotlines have played out. In Season Two, Lewandowski was booted from the show in favor of Paul Manafort. That slicker, older, greasier character was then replaced with the flamboyant race baiter Steve Bannon once it began to emerge that Manafort was under criminal investigation for some of his performances in foreign markets. The payoff to that plotline has involved Manafort being charged with a number of crimes in an investigation that could ultimately reach Trump’s inner circle of characters. The problem with trying to bring Lewandowski back now is that he appears to have been potentially ensnared in hard-charging, no-nonsense Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign and its potential involvement with Russian spies. (Though, frankly, this plotline has always felt derivative of other shows that got there first, like Homeland and The Americans.)

Either way, Lewandowski’s proximity to that investigation could be enough to keep him off of Season Four, unless maybe he turns on Trump. That is reportedly the case for a possible upcoming plotline featuring grim-faced one-time Season Three national security advisor Michael Flynn.

Meanwhile, Lewendowski and Bannon, it was reported on Friday by Bloomberg, have been called into testify before the House Intelligence Committee investigation of the Russian affair.

Far more likely than Lewendowski making a comeback, would be Bannon playing a major role next season, as he has continued to do even after his firing from the main cast in August. On Thursday, Vanity Fair released an interview with Bannon in which he suggested that Trump son-in-law and preppie princeling Jared Kushner sought to collude with the Russians. (Kushner denied this to Vanity Fair through an attorney.)

Bannon, who has faced criticism for allegedly making anti-Semitic comments in the past as well as for his patently white nationalist side project Breitbart, has been sparring with the Jewish (and more moderate politically) Kushner for months. If Bannon were to testify against the series fixture that would be quite a turn indeed.

Which is all just to say next season should be dramatic, but there’s still no way to tell if it could end in a blockbuster impeachment story arc. Still, what will happen in 2018’s series? Will Lewendowski again be accused of physical assault? Will John Kelly teach the president a very special lesson about the importance of sharing? Will there be a wedding episode, and if so, will it involve Bannon?

While it can be fun to speculate as to what might happen next, it’s important to also remember that every day this show stays on the air is another day real people are being badly hurt by the star’s long transparent xenophobia and other prejudices.

Today’s meter is unchanged.

Today's Impeach-O-Meter is at 55 percent.

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