"Mr. President, either you're not getting good counsel, or you're not following the good counsel you're being provided," Smerconish
said. "In case it's the former, let me give you some advice."
First up, the CNN host addressed this week's appointment of Robert Mueller
, the special counsel picked by the Justice Department to oversee the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.
Smerconish noted simply that if it is proven that Trump broke the law, he'd be "out one way or another -- impeachment, indictment or Cabinet removal under the 25th Amendment."
"I don't know if you've broken the law, whether you have impeded official investigations, but this isn't a 'witch hunt,'" Smerconish said, referring to Trump's tweet this week
on the matter.
Either way, Smerconish observed, there was "enough evidence" relating to Trump's former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and his relationship with the Russians
to cause "the extraordinary act of the appointment of an independent counsel."
Addressing Trump directly, Smerconish said the President's decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey
doesn't look good.
"You fired the person who was investigating Flynn -- and maybe investigating you -- after you allegedly first asked that investigator over a one-on-one dinner at the White House for a loyalty pledge," he said.
Then Smerconish, again speaking to Trump, offered a reality check.
"Understand this: You can't make what has happened go away -- not by tweeting, not by rallying the base or having your allies in Congress or the conservative media complain," Smerconish said.
'The truth will come out'
As for what practical steps the President could take now, Smerconish advised hiring a "criminal defense lawyer," and following that person's advice to the letter. Trump also should hire a political adviser willing to "stand up" to the President, he said.
The road ahead, Smerconish said, is actually "pretty clear."
"It is nearly certain that the truth will come out," he said. "If you committed crimes, you will be removed."
Smerconish insisted he isn't "pre-judging" the President and explained that to "talk impeachment" at this stage is "premature and inappropriate."
Even if the President can "get past" his legal issues, Smerconish said, Trump still must manage a central character flaw. "The only way, to save this presidency is to stop talking about this issue, stop being controlled by impulse, and instead be governed by discretion and the law," he said.
Trump's presidency, Smerconish suggested, can still "be rescued."
"President Reagan faced many dark days in his second term in relation to the Iran-Contra scandal, but he got through it by focusing on his work, not complaining and maintaining discipline," he said. "Pretty much the same thing happened with President Clinton, though that scandal was different."
"You can pull out of this downward spiral," Smerconish said. "But only if you have it in you to stay focused, stay on message, follow the rules, follow the law and follow good advice."