Trump is the child with hand in the cookie jar

The Morning Call - - TOWN SQUARE - Robert Re­ich

Don­ald Trump will al­most cer­tainly be im­peached in the House, pos­si­bly as soon as Thanks­giv­ing. The odds are ris­ing that he’ll be con­victed in the Se­nate.

There are two im­por­tant ques­tions, and the an­swers to both are be­com­ing more ob­vi­ous to more Amer­i­cans ev­ery day.

The first is whether ask­ing a for­eign power to dig up dirt on a po­lit­i­cal op­po­nent is an im­peach­able of­fense. The an­swer is yes.

When the framers of the Con­sti­tu­tion gave Con­gress the power to im­peach a pres­i­dent, one of the high crimes they had in mind was ac­ced­ing to what Alexan­der Hamil­ton called “the de­sire in for­eign pow­ers to gain an im­proper as­cen­dant in our coun­cils.” James Madi­son ar­gued for im­peach­ment lest a pres­i­dent “be­tray his trust to for­eign pow­ers.”

The sec­ond ques­tion is whether Trump did this. The an­swer is also yes. In the pub­lished ver­sion of his phone con­ver­sa­tion with Ukraine’s pres­i­dent, Volodymyr Ze­len­skiy, Trump asks for the “fa­vor” of dig­ging up dirt on Joe Bi­den.

Ev­ery­thing Trump has tried to do to di­vert at­ten­tion from these two facts is fur­ther un­der­min­ing his case and his cred­i­bil­ity.

He’s been act­ing like the spoiled child who gets caught with his hand in the prover­bial cookie jar — deny­ing his hand was there, blam­ing the per­son who caught him, blam­ing the cookie jar, blam­ing the cookie, throw­ing a tantrum, dar­ing his par­ents to do any­thing about it.

Trump de­nies he ever asked Ze­len­skiy for help, claim­ing it’s all hearsay. He blames the whistle­blower. He likens the wit­nesses who in­formed the whistle­blower to “spies.” He blames it on a “po­lit­i­cal hack job.” He ac­cuses Adam Schiff, chair­man of the House In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee and the per­son now in charge of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion, of “trea­son.” He calls it a “coup” and sug­gests that if he’s re­moved from of­fice there will be a civil war. Trump dares the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem to stop him by pub­licly call­ing on China to help dig up dirt on Bi­den’s son.

Trump’s off-the-wall ac­cu­sa­tions, tantrums and de­fi­ance il­lus­trate the need for parental con­trol. Schiff and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are the adults, somber and re­strained.

A ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans now sup­port his im­peach­ment.

Trump re­fuses to al­low any ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial to ap­pear be­fore the House com­mit­tees con­sid­er­ing im­peach­ment. No mat­ter, be­cause Con­gress doesn’t need more ev­i­dence. The cookie is in plain sight. Ev­ery­one has seen Trump’s hand in the jar.

House Democrats will vote to im­peach, but will Se­nate Repub­li­cans vote to con­vict? Un­til now that seemed im­plau­si­ble. Democrats hold 47 Se­nate seats. If they all vote to con­vict, 20 Repub­li­cans would have to join them in or­der to have the nec­es­sary two-thirds of the Se­nate.

If the vote were held in se­cret, says Repub­li­can strate­gist Mike Mur­phy, 30 Repub­li­cans would vote for im­peach­ment. For­mer Repub­li­can Sen. Jeff Flake puts the likely num­ber at 35.

There are 23 Repub­li­can se­na­tors up for re­elec­tion next fall. Most are from red states that sup­port Trump. But in a few months they’ll be safe from pri­mary chal­lenges. They’ll be free to vote him out.

Others — Su­san Collins of Maine, Pat Toomey of Penn­syl­va­nia and Rob Port­man of Ohio, for ex­am­ple — are from pur­ple states where they’ll be chal­lenged by a Demo­crat and will have ev­ery in­cen­tive to vote Trump out.

Mean­while, Trump is los­ing sup­port among re­spon­si­ble Se­nate Repub­li­cans such as Mitt Rom­ney of Utah, who calls Trump’s ac­tions “trou­bling in the ex­treme,” and Ne­braska’s Ben Sasse, who urges col­leagues not to “cir­cle the wag­ons.”

Trump re­mains hugely pop­u­lar among Repub­li­can vot­ers, but most of them care more about the econ­omy than about Trump, and the econ­omy is slow­ing — in large part be­cause of Trump’s trade wars.

It’s un­likely Trump will be pushed out of of­fice be­fore the 2020 elec­tion, but the odds are ris­ing. And Trump knows it, which is caus­ing him to be­have more like a wild child who de­serves to be im­peached.

Tri­bune Con­tent Agency

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.