|WELCOME BACK TO POTTERSVILLE|
Well, America, haven't we gotten ourselves into a fine mess?
Donald Trump is president of the United States because of criminal conduct stemming from his beyond the shadow of a doubt collusion with Russia. He probably can't be indicted while still in office, so we face the possibility that he will run for re-election in 2020 to avoid going to prison. And pretty much the only way he can be stopped resides with the very people who got us into this fine mess in the first place. I speak, of course, of Mitch McConnell and the Vichy Republican congressional sycophancy.
The Founding Fathers worried from the jump that there would be attempts to subvert the infant American democracy. They believed that most likely would be efforts to install a homegrown George III, the very kind of regent the colonists had rebelled over and fought a war of independence against.
What they did not foresee in their bewigged wisdom was a batshit crazy real estate developer and reality TV star with evil in his heart and nothing between his ears conspiring with America's greatest enemy to steal the presidency and then cement his primacy by installing nose rings in more-than-willing Republicans. And so absent traditional values like shame and honor, the mechanisms to check and chuck a very bad president -- indictment and impeachment -- are being held hostage by the very people whose constitutional obligation is to get rid of the guy.
There is something approaching unanimity among legal experts that if Trump is voted out of office in 2020, which would be before the five-year statute of limitations on campaign finance violations runs out, he could find himself in deep legal do-do, hence the Big House reference.
But who wants to sit through two more years of a freak show in which Trump is methodically destroying the values that once made America such a terrific place to own a nice house with a white picket fence and raise two and a half children?
Republicans not only are in no rush to deal with The Donald, they pretend to not see what all the fuss is about since they have bought into the president's Orwellian belief that he is above the Rule of Law. You can look that up in the Constitution. Oh wait. The Constitution it says no such thing, although one of Trump's brighto lawyers has argued that the president cannot obstruct justice, to cite but one example, because he is the chief law enforcement officer under Article III of the Constitution.
This is a variation on my all-time favorite piece of legal pretzel logic, Mukasey's Law. Which according to Dubya's last of three lousy attorneys general and in the context of torturing enemy combatants, averred that lawyers cannot commit crimes when they act under the orders of a president and a president cannot commit a crime when he acts under advice of his lawyers.
(Do I need to mention that if the president was a Democrat -- say that Lock Her Up Hillary -- the Republicans would be in high dudgeon over the slightest legal lapse? No, I didn't think so. Oh, and Nancy Pelosi has bigger cujones than the mansplainer in the Oval Office.)
In the wake of two weeks of court filings detailing the Republican Dear Leader's criminal conduct before, during and since the 2016 campaign, Senator Orrin Hatch, the party's most-senior senator, trotted out a familiar meme.
"The Democrats will do anything to hurt this president," said Hatch.
Which is beyond rich because Trump's own Justice Department, not Democrats, is stating that he was party to two felonies -- the hush money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal to muzzle them as Election Day approached -- which happen to be violations of federal election law.
"OK, but I don't care," Hatch replied when inconveniently reminded of the facts. "All I can say is he's doing a good job as president."
Trump himself, having denied having affairs with the porn star and Playboy centerfold and then denying that he knew about the payments, let alone having anything to do with the payments, now talks about them like they're a pair of comfortable old slippers. He insisted in a tweet on Monday morning that sure there were payments, but they had nothing to do with his campaign.
I don't know if Hatch hates Trump, but it's a safe bet that the president doesn't provoke warm and fuzzy feelings among he and other party faithful, whose allegiance to the Dear Leader is based on equal parts fear and self-interest.
This, as well as the Dear Leader's mounting legal woes, is the backstory to the decision on Sunday by Nick Ayers, Vice President Pence's chief of staff and a Republican comer, to turn down the most coveted job in the swamp -- presidential chief of staff -- which should set alarm bells ringing for anyone who values a viable future for the Grand Old Party.
But back back to those hush payments.
Predictably, other Republican senators motored past Trump's several thousand lies and impugned the trustworthiness of the messenger, Michael Cohen, his former longtime personal lawyer and fixer, who is looking at serious jail time for making the once non-existent payments for Trump's once non-existent hanky panky at the direction of the then-candidate.
"As long as Cohen's a liar, I shouldn't give much credibility to what he says," opined outgoing Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley.
"Jesus loves him, but everybody else thinks he's an idiot," added Republican Senator Kennedy. "He's obviously a sleaze-oid grifter."
There is a certain bathos, not to mention unoriginality, in conjuring the name of the son of God since neither he nor the Big Guy are going to extract Trump from his world of self-inflicted hurts. Never mind what Evangelicals say.
Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal
and related developments.