In my excess of free time, I’ve paid a great deal of attention to the world stage as things are unfolding around Trump. It would seem as though we’re approaching the season finale of Mueller’s investigation and I can’t help but give some thought to what 2019 has in store.
Trump is now known as Individual-1, and in all likelihood is the central target in the redacted “President Donald J. Trump Criminal Investigation”. He’s now been identified as an unindicted co-conspirator in a case by the SDNY in which Coen has admitted to committing campaign finance violations at the direction of Trump for the purpose of influencing a federal election. I doubt they would’ve brought this case against the President if all they had was Coen’s testimony.
Impeachment exists for high crimes and misdemeanors, and it is Congress’s responsibility to provide oversight for the executive branch. They will be bound by duty and law to draft and pass articles of impeachment. I think it’ll get past the house, but I think the senate is a wildcard. If it’s only campaign finance violations, even if it was for paying off porn stars to keep quiet about affairs to boost your chances of winning an election, I’m not confident the republican senate will care. At least some will argue that it wasn’t to influence the election or that Obama had a campaign finance violation and he wasn’t impeached for it. Others will realize that the Republican landscape for the 2020 senate rate is a steep uphill battle and that choosing party over country during historic impeachment proceedings might be political suicide. Knowing Trump, he might just be able to create enough noise and disinformation to keep people within their party lines.
Enter season 2. I’m not sure what happens first: Mueller releases his report or the Democrats take the house. Whichever happens first, it’s likely going to kick off a rather dramatic series of events. If Mueller releases his report, it’s likely to show conclusive evidence that Trump was a criminal prior to his presidential bid, won the election through criminal means, and has been operating a criminal presidency. If the democrats take the house first, they’ll use their subpoena powers to obtain records like Trump’s tax returns, and probably leak them to the public shortly after. I would be surprised if it didn’t show direct or indirect ties to Russian money laundering. However this plays out, the first few months of 2019 will be a reckoning for Trump and Republicans by extension.
A lot of Trump supporters say that if Mueller had anything on Trump, they would’ve released it already. They suggest that an absence of evidence available to the public, is the same as an absence of evidence within the investigation. I would disagree. If Trump is the criminal that he appears to be, Mueller needs to deliver the most conclusive report possible. There’s a saying, something along the lines of, ‘if you’re going to shoot the king, aim for the head.’ It suggests that if you’re going to deliver evidence against the most powerful person in the world, suggesting that they should be removed from power and placed in jail, you’ll only have the one shot. The report needs to be so complete, and so conclusive, that it leaves no doubt in any rational person’s mind. And creates doubt in the minds of those who aren’t rational.
I don’t think the Republican party will survive that report. It’s going to be a very interesting demonstration of self-preservation. I suspect that multiple members of the Republican party were compromised via the Russian’s hack on the RNC email server. Those individuals will support Trump well beyond what most would consider to be reasonable. Then you’ll have those who are looking to tow the party line but are unsure about whether it’s the party of Trump or the party of Republican values. Then you’ll have conservatives who realize that their best chance of staying alive is to stand up for traditional American values again. I think it’s that latter group that can give the Senate enough votes to remove Trump from office.
Should Trump be removed from office for crimes relating to a fraudulent election, it wouldn’t make sense that his administration would be allowed to continue under Mike Pence. If I’m not mistaken, the chain of command actually falls to Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi. In a very roundabout way, 2016 may have actually given us our first female President.
I know a bit about her but not nearly enough to have an educated opinion. From what I’ve seen, it suggests that she’s a capable individual who could probably mind an interim-presidency. Should it pan out this way, I would encourage her to recognize her role, not one as leader of the American people, but rather as a custodian of the Presidency until the next election. And during that time, I would encourage her to focus on damage control. There are alliances around the world which need to be repaired, policy decisions which need to be undone, trade agreements that need to be redone.. all of it. I also think this would be a remarkable opportunity to truly drain the swamp. Republicans, democrats, lobbyists, dark money, foreign influencers… all of it.
It’s about time we cleaned things up a bit.