The Impeachment Circle Game: If You Plant Ice, You're Gonna Harvest Wind
|TALKING POINTS MEMO|
Let us ponder on the cusp of House investigative hearings going prime time that the third impeachment of a president in U.S. history would not be imminent without the Blue Wave victories last November. The midterm vote, which handed Democrats the sizable House majority that is propelling impeachment, was foremost a referendum on Donald Trump and he lost badly. Incapable of changing his maleficent ways, let alone mounting a credible defense for his high crimes and misdemeanors, he still is losing badly. If the end of the Trump Nightmare does not come after a Senate trial, it certainly will in a fairly contested election, and that loss will be all the more devastating because of the deserving albatross of impeachment.
This circular sequence of events might seem obvious, but it is not.
Had Trump, in all of his maleficent awfulness, not set out to steal the 2020 election through his extortionate Ukrainian scheme as he had in 2016 with the help of Russia's grand theft, an impeachment inquiry probably would not have commenced and a vote to impeach would have remained an abstraction and not a sure thing despite that Blue Wave bump.
And had Trump's Ukraine scandal defense not been so awful, the Republican sycophancy in the House would not have backed themselves into a corner, forcing them to pull publicity stunts like a rodeo clown jumping up and down in front of a bull to try to let the thrown rider get away, as one pundit noted. House Republicans now are compelled to play by the eminently fair, due process-based rules approved overwhelmingly by Democrats or be left whimpering on Trump's stonewall -- itself a likely article of impeachment in the form of obstruction of justice -- as a very public parade passes them by.
Not a single House Republican joined all but two Democrats in supporting the resolution last Thursday outlining the next stage of impeachment proceedings despite having demanded such a vote, meaning that the accelerating impeachment inquiry will continue to be highly partisan.
But this also means that the day of reckoning for obdurate Republicans is merely postponed.
The evidence that Trump, with an assist from his consigliere Rudy Giuliani, subverted America's national security and the State Department for personal and political gain, denied Ukraine desperately needed military aid to fight Russian aggression and yet again did Vladimir Putin's bidding, keeps piling up, while behind the scenes some Republicans are said to be arguing privately that they should acknowledge the Ukraine quid pro quo while saying it was neither illegal nor impeachable.
Then there is the Mueller report on the Russia scandal, which zombie-like keeps being resurrected.
During Trump's infamous July 25 phone call with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, he again fixated on undermining the special counsel's work by asking him to dig up information that would advance the long-discredited conspiracy theory that the Democratic National Committee used Ukrainian server during the 2016 campaign. This was moments before he laid out the scheme to deny aid and postpone the White House visit that Zelensky craved unless Ukraine publicly said the Bidens were being investigated.
It was Paul Manafort, former Trump campaign chairman, who first floated the DNC-Ukraine theory, while Michael Flynn, Trump's short-lived national security adviser, tried to steer Mueller's investigators away from Russia as the source of damaging hacks against Democrats, according to newly released documents.
On Thursday, lawyers for impeachment investigators returned to court to press a federal judge to compel former White House counsel Don McGahn to testify about Russia scandal-related events that were a prelude to the Ukraine scandal after another judge ruled earlier that the Justice Department had to turn over previously undisclosed Mueller grand jury materials to them.
Trump, meanwhile, is giving up his lifelong residency in New York for Mar-a-Lago in Florida for tax purposes and because New York city and state officials have been really mean to him. The comparison is not entirely apt, but recall that O.J. Simpson changed his residency from Los Angeles to Florida after he was acquitted of the Simpson-Goldman murders to protect his wealth from his victims' families.
As the late Grateful Dead lyricist Robert Hunter wrote, if you plant ice you're gonna harvest wind. Neither time nor the Constitution are on Republicans' side, let alone Trump. The election may be a year away, but voters are noticing.
O.J. is still looking for the real killer. Trump is still looking for the real colluder. Maybe they should team up with Lev and Igor, who found Rudy and may get him sent to the Big House.
Thanks, Shaun – good summary.
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