21 May 2017

Will Donald Trump Be Impeached?

Recently, I suggested that intelligence agencies (a.k.a the National Security State) were gunning for Donald Trump and I concluded that he was toast.

Since then you could see on an almost daily basis one crisis after another engulfing this administration.

In fact, this looks like the leakiest administration in US history. Every week there is a new scandal and all of them gain traction thanks to the way these revelations are fed to the corporate media.

The New York Times described it like this:
What unnerves Mr. Trump and his staff the most is the eerily familiar tempo of these disclosures. It is as if some unseen adversary has copied Mr. Trump’s own velocity and ferocity in an attempt to destroy him, several people close to the president said. Sources are shuttling all kinds of information about Mr. Trump to reporters at a pace the White House cannot match.
There is indeed an unseen adversary attempting to destroy him.

The Anatomy of a Trump Crisis

First step is a damaging piece of information shared by anonymous sources.

The White House scrambles to come up with a coherent message. Melissa McCarthy reads some talking points off a paper and Trump associates are dispatched into the wilderness with The Message.

But as soon as they get on Fox News or CNN with that meme, another piece of the puzzle is leaked to contradict their explanation.

Sooner or later, Trump gets on the twitter and offers a whole new line of defense, making his team look incompetent and dishonest and himself highly unhinged.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Take the last fiasco, namely the firing of James Comey and the sharing of codeword-classified intelligence with Russian minister of foreign affairs Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

To get rid of Comey, the White House had asked the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to come up with a memo that indicated problems with Comey's leadership. Rosenstein dutifully prepared the document.

So the official reason for the dismissal was Comey not doing a good job as determined by his supervisor.

Nothing to do with the fact that he had just asked for more resources for the Trump-Russia investigation. Or the investigation itself.

As the White House was pushing that line, Trump bragged that it was his decision and nobody else's. That was because Comey was a showboat, he said. No one liked him.

Then, he showed up on a TV show to acknowledge that he fired him because of that Trump-Russia thing.

He added that he never interfered with the investigation. In a day or two, an earlier Comey memo surfaced indicating that Trump asked him to stop the Flynn Russia inquiry.

The day after the firing, Trump invited Lavrov and Kislyak to the White House with only the Russian media present. As Lavrov put it, "no fake media" referring to American journalists.

A couple of days later someone leaked to Washington Post that in that meeting, Trump disclosed highly classified information to the Russian.

White House issued a denial. National Security Adviser MacMaster declared that he was in the room and nothing like that happened.

As soon as the denials were issued, media outlets found out that Homeland security assistant to the president Thomas Bossert called the CIA and NSA after the meeting to warn them off the breach. In other words, it became clear that classified info was passed on.

To the Russians.

With deniability gone, Trump tweeted "yeah, I did it because I could."

This time anonymous sources mentioned that the disclosed intelligence came from Israel making Trump look especially bad, as both the conservatives and evangelicals for reasons of their own adore the Jewish State.

Trump took to Twitter to claim that the whole Russia affair was a made up story and there was never any contact between Russians and his campaign.

Next thing you know, the headlines informed us that there had been at least 18 undisclosed contacts between Russians and Trump campaign.

With nowhere to go, Trump doubled down and maintained that he never tried to stop the Russia investigation.

The following morning we learned that in the Lavrov, Kislyak meeting.Trump had told them this:
“I just fired the head of the F.B.I. He was crazy, a real nut job,” Mr. Trump said, according to the document, which was read to The New York Times by an American official. “I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”
At that point, a senior White House staffer and a friend of Donald Trump who worked in his campaign put it like this: "I don't see how Trump isn't completely fucked."

Will He Be Impeached?

Even though I ended my last post on the subject with the verdict that the Orange Man was toast I don't think he will be impeached.

There are many good reasons for that.

Trump is not an ordinary politician.

He ran to prop up his brand and he really didn't expect to win. He won the GOP nomination because the field of candidates he faced were pitiful and CNN and Fox News gave him $2 billion worth of free media time.

And he won the elections due to the massive unpopularity of his opponent, the helping hand of anonymous hackers and above all because he legitimized institutionalized racism by giving up GOP dog whistles in favor of clearly racist statements.

Normally, a man who makes money by selling his name as a brand should not be in the polarization business, as he loses, by definition, half the market.

But Trump saw a clever way to turn this into a major business opportunity.

Here is the plan: Trump will give the GOP everything they want, like rolling back every piece of regulation enacted by Obama, appointing judges who think Scalia was a communist, undertaking yuge wealth transfer from the bottom to the top and taking away the health care plans of tens of millions of people.

In exchange, they will remain quiet about his gigantic conflicts of interest which will be translated into billions of dollars.

He doesn't have to do anything. Since he took office the whole family, including Ivanka and Kushner, have been doing very well and I am not even talking about the doubling of the annual dues for the Southern White House.
The White House has been a remarkable boon for the Trumps. Business, as they’ve noted, is hotter than ever. Ivanka Trump’s brand saw sales through the roof in February, and her new book debuted last week at No. 4 on The New York Times best-seller list. And the Kushners, whose name once evoked an image of an embarrassing political scandal now elevates them to one of the most powerful seats in the world. 
The president himself is not doing too badly either. Here is the most recent crib sheet of his conflicts of interest.

The Republicans were and still are very happy with that deal especially because Trump is and remains a popular president in the eyes of those who voted for him. Those mid-40s approval numbers that everyone cites as indicative of a problem actually correspond to his share of the popular vote in the election and there is hardly any buyer's remorse.

They proudly stand by their man.
Pew Research Center poll last month found minimal Trump voter remorse, only 7 percent. 
A subsequent Washington Post-ABC News poll found even fewer regretful Trump voters, 4 percent. In fact – wait for it – far more voters regretted casting their ballot for Trump’s opponent, Hillary Clinton, 15 percent.
You may be surprised to find out that,
In a hypothetical rematch of the November election, Trump easily defeats Clinton in the popular vote, 43 percent to 40 percent.
Moreover, the GOP is a tribal party. Unlike the Dems, they do not throw one of their own under the bus. As one blogger put it, for that to happen Trump would have to push hard for single payer health care policy.

High crimes and misdemeanors won't do.

And don't hold your breath for a Democratic Congress after 2018 doing something about it. First, it is not certain that they will take the House back with all the gerrymandering in place. Second, even if they did, impeachment requires a simple majority in the House and a two thirds majority in the Senate.

So my answer is that impeachment is highly unlikely.

In fact, if it wasn't for his stupid feud with intelligence agencies Trump might have been more or less OK.

But now I believe that he will not be able to finish his first term and he will have to resign at some point.

I will explain my thinking in my next post.

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