We can’t know what’s going to happen next from inside the story, but it’s possible we’re beginning the final chapter of Donald Trump’s stranger-than-fiction presidency. As a candidate, Trump proved bigger than any single scandal and even multiple scandals didn’t slow him down. He seemed content to continue slogging through the incoherence, incompetence, and corruption as President, while Republicans and Trumpets seemed comfortable slogging with him if it delivered their agenda. Granted, they’ve seemed less comfortable as obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and errors that threatened national security piled up, but still not uncomfortable enough to break with him. The appointment of Robert Mueller as Special Counsel may finally change that but the path ahead is still anything but clear whether his investigation finds criminality or not. There’s no index for the Trump story, and we are finding layer upon layer of connections and irregularities that will raise more questions along the way…
Let’s concentrate on just “the Russia Investigations” (meaning the FBI, Senate, and House inquiries). US intelligence agencies have been wrong before, but all 17 agree Russia interfered in the 2016 elections. Unless we accept Trump’s assertion they’re all wrong again, Russian interference is a fact. How they interfered and who was involved are just some of the details the Investigations are trying to establish. So far the probes have touched Manafort, Flynn, Kushner, Page, Sessions, and other less-well-known characters in Trump’s administration. Trump’s attempts to stop the probes led to self-inflicted wounds like the firing of Director Comey and the appointment of Special Counsel Mueller. Keep in mind that NO investigation has returned ANY findings yet, nor are they expected to for months or years. Politicians, the Media, and We The People have been responding to a drip-drip-drip of revelations with no context or conclusion. But serious breaches have been identified and everything so far points consistently to an Administration compromised on many levels and thrashing dangerously as the compromises become public.
I’m more interested in the possible Russian mob connections and Donald’s dirty money laundromat operation but, any finding of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia would infect the entire administration no matter who actively participated. So, while removing the orange tumor may reduce the damage incurred over the last 120 days, additional therapies would still be needed. With the Manchurian Candidate gone Pence would be advanced to power with his own, slightly less incoherent agendas. A lesson from Watergate could be useful… the hated Agnew resigned and was replaced before Nixon resigned, leaving the respected but inoffensive Ford to move up. Nixon’s resignation meant his scandal ended with him. A solution along these lines might more completely remove the Trump’s stain on the office but would require political will to implement. So far, we’ve seen no evidence that such political will exists. And that would still leave a Supreme Court, department heads, laws and orders all affected behind.
Even if we are seeing the end of this slow-motion coup the People at home and abroad will be left to sort through the aftermath. Trump voters had both legitimate and “deplorable” reasoning for supporting him, so what will their reaction be when their standard-bearer is cast to the streets or into prison? Will FAUX news twist his removal into a conspiracy of the sore-loser Left? Will they continue on the path Trump modelled and believe that prejudice, hate, and jingoism are acceptable, even normal behavior? Other domestic issues like healthcare, taxes, and infrastructure are reaching critical failure points; how will we make up the lost time in dealing with them? For global issues like war, human rights, climate change, environmental policy, foreign and domestic policy, pretty much every important international affair of our country, Trump is responsible for damaging setbacks and lost opportunities that will affect more than just the US population. Whether he and his ilk go or stay, the scars on our country and world will take decades to heal.
It was 2 years, 11 months, and 6 days between the burglary at the Watergate and Nixon’s resignation… 1071 days. We’re now just about 120 days into the Trump epoch but I think another countdown clock has started. While I’m hoping for a quicker and more positive conclusion, we know already the last chapter will be long and full of surprises. Let’s work to see that the sequel is never written.
Take Care and Make a Great Day!
Is The Comey Memo The Beginning Of The End For Trump? By David Remnick in The New Yorker, May 2017
Who’s who in Trump-Russia saga, by Sachary Cohen on CNN, Apr 2017