Trump keeps getting away with more and more high crimes as he prepares to steal the election that’s supposed to save us
Congress will return to work in September with a majority of its members prepared to ignore the litany of new impeachable crimes Donald Trump committed over the summer.
Yes, more than 130 Democratic members of the House have come out for impeachment — about three dozen since Robert Mueller testified. Meanwhile a half dozen Republican members have announced their retirement.
But the faith the Democratic establishment has in using the 2020 election as the sole remedy for Trump’s spree of high crimes remains unshakable, despite all the evidence that Trump is actively seeking to steal the presidency, again.
People may comfort themselves by imaging Nancy Pelosi cannily waiting for the mythical “smoking gun” that will sway even Republicans to the cause. But either way, we’re just waiting out the clock because the strategy is to wait out the clock. It’s a strategy that more or less worked in 2008, when there wasn’t a man willing to steal the presidency seeking a second term.
If you think it’s savvy and I should shut up because I’ve never won anything in my life, not even “Best Hair” in my high school, congratulations. You’re going to get test your hypothesis.
But if you’re not happy with this strategy, if you’re not anxious to abjure your duty to at least document this man’s crimes for history before he possibly wins a second term — a term that he’s already “joked” will never end — here are three high crimes from this week any other president would have led to any other president’s impeachment.
1. Stock market manipulation.
Trump’s trade war is about to cost the average American family around $460 a year, largely because Trump failed to bring an allies into a collective strategy that had any hope of working, as Steven Greenhouse told us.
But it could be paying off big for Trump and his rich pals, much like his failed $2 trillion tax scam.
Trump flashed signs of optimism this week that the trade war could be resolved, saying he’s received calls from Chinese officials saying they wanted to restart talks. Though Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin insisted there had been “communication,” aides privately conceded the phone calls Trump described didn’t happen they way he said they did.
Instead, two officials said Trump was eager to project optimism that might boost markets, and conflated comments from China’s vice premier with direct communication from the Chinese.
The stock market quickly regained most of the losses recently incurred from Trump’s trade saber rattling.
Who benefited from this blatant stock market gaming?
Trump? We can’t see his tax returns.
The members of Maralago or his other clubs? We have no idea who they are.
2. Whatever the hell is going on with Ukraine.
At the G-7, Trump acted as Vladimir Putin’s lawyer both publicly and privately — making the case that Russia invading its neighbors was fine because Putin had “outsmarted” Obama so Russia should be welcomed back into the G-8. This continues Trump’s incessant efforts to reward Putin’s efforts to elect him in 2016 in preparation for 2020.
It was such a breach of international order that Mike Pence is quietly cleaning up the mess in Poland, where he went so Trump could golf and insult Deborah Messing.
Meanwhile, Trump’s “lawyer” continues to pressure Ukraine to feed attacks on Joe Biden. And the Trump Administration seems to be withholding aid in effort to make sure Ukraine’s president helps in the effort to destroy the front-runner for the 2020 Democratic nomination.
3. Using pardons as bribes to help build the wall.
Randall D. Eliason, who teaches white-collar criminal law, explains:
This week, President Trump reportedly told aides that he wants to expedite construction of his border wall and that if they have to break any laws to get it done, not to worry: He will pardon them. Democratic members of Congress vowed to investigate this alleged abuse of power. The White House quickly responded that Trump was just joking, the apparent go-to defense whenever the president is caught saying something outrageous or potentially criminal. But, if serious, Trump’s offer would be more than a flagrant abuse of the pardon power — it could also violate federal bribery law.
Osita Nwanevu puts this high crime into the proper context as a singular violation of the Constitution that sums up Trump’s vast criminality and unfitness for office:
The Post has given us not a story about this administration, but the story about this administration—the part that contains the whole, the line running under all that troubles us about this era, rendered in bold: the president’s fomenting of racial and cultural hysteria and blows to the rule of law are aimed at enriching the already wealthy in ways already too familiar to us. The politicians of the Republican Party are not just complicit in this arrangement, they are its primary guarantors. The allegations make both our national situation and the sensible course of action plain.
But, hey, let’s just wait for 2020.
Surely, a good, clean election will fix everything.
[Photo by the great Anne Savage.]