|© RICHARD CODOR
The president of the United States made an extraordinary declaration the other day: He'd welcome help from Russia in a New York minute if it would like to sabotage his opponent in the 2020 election as it did with Lock Her Up Hillary in 2016. This was a double-edged acknowledgment that Donald Trump will do anything to get re-elected and that likely won't happen without the Kremlin again helping.
"I like the truth. I'm actually a very honest guy," Trump told an incredulous George Stephanopoulos in interview excerpts aired last Wednesday. That, of course, was, a lie.
But what was so extraordinary about his admission to ABC News's chief political correspondent is that
It is the most outrageous example to date of a particularly pernicious phenomenon -- when Trump actually tells the truth it can be even more disturbing than when he lies.
Trump's declaration that he would again welcome those Ruskies with open arms quickly sank like a stone without a trace into the bubbling cauldron of shit that is his presidency.This disappearing act occurred with a gut-wrenching inevitability after only a couple of news cycles of obligatory finger wagging among the liberal punditocracy, canned Democratic outrage and unusually, some Republican tut-tutting. Then there was Trump's inevitable walk back on Thursday, which coincided with a report that Russia is up to its old tricks and had conducted a textbook disinformation campaign before European Union elections last month to suppress voter turnout.
Nothing to see here folks, it was just a practice run for 2020.
In the meantime, Trump has pretty much exhausted us, and his truth-telling about welcoming Russian help should have been a signal moment for the Resistance to rise up -- you know, our friends and neighbors who propelled the Blue Wave election victories that flipped the House and saved Obamacare by packing town hall meetings -- was instead an exercise in weary head shaking and wonderment over what awful thing he'll do to America next.
Next arrived on Friday when the White House announced it was planning to detain 1,400 migrant children separated from their parents -- some still babies -- at an Oklahoma military installation once used as an internment camp for Japanese-Americans during World War II.
On Saturday, as The New York Times reported that Trump had not been briefed in any detail about a stepped-up U.S. cyber campaign to place software code that can be used for surveillance or attack inside the Russian power grid because he is a security risk who might discuss the operations with foreign officials or countermand them, nationwide demonstrations demanding that Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic leadership move on impeachment bombed. The crowds were embarrassingly minuscule, like the dozen or so people and one chihuahua that showed up in one Southern California city.
Then on Sunday Trump tweeted the possibility of staying in office longer than two terms, suggesting that his supporters might "demand that I stay longer."
The blame for this dire state of affairs also is double edged.
There is Trump's incompetence, deceit and criminality. But there is also the refusal of Pelosi and her minions to stop dithering -- that is, continuing to gather evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors ad nauseam when there already is more than enough evidence -- to initiating impeachment proceedings at a time when America is on its collective knees and more vulnerable than that Russian power grid.
Trump is running scared. You can see the fear in his weird body language and hear it in his voice. It's why he keeps accusing Biden of being a mental and physical cripple. ("I have to tell you, he's a different guy. He looks different than he used to, he acts different than he used to, he is even slower than he used to be. So I don't know.")
Although there are a number of reasons for Trump to be panicky, two predominate and they are perversely interconnected. You'd expect nothing less of anything having to do with the Deviant in Chief:
Trump knows that if he doesn't win re-election, he will be indicted in connection with one or more of the staggering 29 investigations targeting he, his family and business. White House to jail house.
Although it's early in the game, Trump's own internal poll numbers show that he is lagging behind Joe Biden in key states such as Pennsylvania (16 points), Wisconsin (10) and Florida (7).The polling numbers had been disputed by Trump for weeks. In fact, he blithely told Stephanopoulos when he brought up the lousy numbers, "No, my polls show that I'm winning everywhere."
That lie was undercut when someone in the campaign -- although the long knife brigade in the West Wing can't be ruled out -- leaked the poll to ABC News. It revealed that the president is in deep trouble in all of the states he needs to win and is barely leading in reliably red Texas. The numbers would be even worse if the campaign wasn't using something called an "informed ballot" in which poll respondents are screened based on their answers to loaded questions.
You get the idea.
Trump's state of mind, never mind the polling numbers, should be yet another wakeup call for Pelosi, who has kicked the can down the road so many times that those satin pumps she is so fond of wearing must need new toes.
Pelosi, as we know all too well, is convinced impeachment would be "divisive," besides which the Republican-led Senate would never convict Trump, who smells her weakness "like a beagle can smell a treat in your pocket," as Andrew Sullivan put it.
Pelosi's can kicking may make some kind of political sense, but putting that over her constitutional duty is, in its own way, just as bad as congressional Republicans' appeasement of Trump.
No, it's worse.
Like the headline says, democracy is not going to save itself from Donald Trump.
Click HERE for a summary of ongoing Trump-related investigations.