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Friday, May 19, 2017

Impeachment Fever

Here in the U.S. we've got impeachment fever. Since Nixon, it comes about once a generation. Nixon resigned before he could be impeached, Clinton was impeached (but acquitted), and now Donald Trump, to the surprise of no one with half a brain, is on the road to impeachment.

Why do I know this? After all, most Democrats were thinking Trump wouldn't make it through his first term the night he was elected. His whole life has been based on sleaziness, such as intimidating people through lawsuits, not paying people who have done work for him (always get paid upfront with him) and settling lawsuits before the shit can hit the fan. One of his first jobs was intimidating black people not to buy in his father's real estate holdings. According to an article I just read, he was inspired by Nixon man Roger Stone, who taught him you can get away with anything.

So it was only a matter of time, but that we're talking about this not even half a year into his presidency is making short work. It is serious now, because I saw a clip of David Gergen, who is one of the smartest pundits on TV, say it was. Gergen, who I didn't even know was still on TV, is one of the few people who have worked in the administrations of presidents of both parties, showing he cares more the country than party.

Anyhoo, Trump has certainly committed two impeachable offenses of obstruction of justice. One, he fired FBI director James Comey, who was leading an investigation of Trump's associates of ties to Russia. Then, it was revealed, he asked Comey to drop the investigation of Michael Flynn, who was working as a foreign agent (for Turkey) when he was named National Security Advisor, a whopping conflict of interest.

So now we just wait and see how long this will take. Over the cries of "witch hunt!" Robert Mueller, former director of the FBI, has been made special prosecutor over this mess. There is the possibility that a smoking gun will be found that shows Russia, with Trump's knowledge, influenced the U.S. election. I don't know if it will go that far, but Nixon was ousted on far less serious a crime.

Probably this will drag on, at least until midterm elections, so the Republicans can lose congress and possibly the Senate. That will certainly grease the rails of Trump's removal. For now, we can't be sure if Republicans, who control both houses, would A: bring articles of impeachment, and B: convict. But if they see their seats on the line, they might.

Or there might be intense pressure on Trump to resign. I'm not sure if he would or not. He probably would if he could spin it so he was doing it on his terms--"I can't lead this nation with this kind of hostility" or maybe his ego wouldn't allow such a thing. Then again, he could resign and Mike Pence, who would become president, would pardon him.

That would mean a President Pence, who is a nightmare of a different sort. He would probably be the most insanely religious president we've ever had. one who puts his "faith" ahead of the Constitution. His presidency would see horrible things attempted against the LGBT community, and lots of problems for abortion providers. But he was a governor, so presumably he could at least be somewhat competent and perhaps keep the country from war.

And I don't know if any pundit has speculated on this, but I will, because it's fun: who would Pence choose as vice-president? He can choose anyone, who then has to be confirmed by the House. If the Republicans control the House, he could go the bat-shit crazy route and picked someone like Ted Cruz or Michele Bachmann. He could go with Marco Rubio, or Paul Ryan. All of these are terrible. There might be a lot of pressure to pick a woman, so in addition to Bachmann there's always Sarah Palin (but I doubt it) or some tea party Congresswoman. The most reasonable choice would be Maine senator Susan Collins, who is the only person who passes for a moderate Republican anymore. She could be the choice if the Democrats control the house. It would be great if they did and forced him to pick a Democrat. If Lincoln could do it with Andrew Johnson, so can Pence.

But that's way down the road. Mueller, who by all accounts is a capable and bipartisan man, will do his job and we'll see what happens. Trump's numbers will continue to decline, and there will be more insane tweets and general hysteria in the White House. As long as he doesn't start bombing North Korea, this will be a circus. Grab the popcorn.

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