Traditionally the Sunday article’s subject matter is the biggest political news story of the week just ended. You pick it; I certainly can’t. Therefore I’ll briefly comment on several of the candidates. Let’s explore.
I’ll start in Europe. The EU, as anyone paying attention would have assumed, rejected Boris Johnson’s latest proposal. Boris can’t you get it through your head that a no deal exit is all you have available? The UK was in the EU (think: club) with a sweetheart deal to start. Now you want to quit the club and still have privileges. This is real life, not right wing mythology; it simple doesn’t work that way. The current exit deadline is October 31st which happens to be Halloween. Boris is going to the party as dressed as an idiot. The costume is an old fat white guy in a suit with a too long tie. The costume is popular in the UK and the US.
In America all the major stories revolve around impeachment. I am (gladly) not a news source so if you want up to the minute details I suggest you try several of the major television networks or daily newspapers’ websites. That being said I want to briefly cover a few developments.
It appears a second whistleblower is emerging. To me that is about as unexpected as a 3-0 fastball. The original whistleblower outlined early in their complaint that the events depicted were gleaned via second hand knowledge. It is very possible that corroborating whistleblowers may have firsthand knowledge of some events. It’s not going to get any better for Trump and associates.
It is also becoming apparent that (again predictably) some honest career government employees that were charged with doing Trump’s bidding are now coming forward and essentially “turning state’s evidence”. Most Americans are at least somewhat dependent on their job. When your boss tells you to do something it is very difficult to say no. However there comes a point where the orders become a “bridge too far” and/or you realize you got in over your head and are looking for a “life preserver”. It appears that some government employees have reached that point. To be the first one coming forward takes tremendous courage. As the numbers grow it becomes easier. I think the floodgates may just be starting to open and the pace will increase exponentially.
The main crux of the impeachment seemed to have settled on Ukrainegate. Since impeachment is a political act and its success is based on public opinion I think that will remain the focus because it is relatively easy to understand. However don’t totally discount some of the other aspects of Trump’s organized criminal enterprise.
On the emoluments front – which Ukrainegate is actually part of, rather a large enough portion of the public comprehends that or not – a whistleblower on the tax returns front has gained new public awareness. This one is still very much developing with many details as yet unknown to the public. Trump always said he couldn’t release his taxes because they were under audit. Past presidents including Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have released their taxes while under audit. Furthermore this whistleblower (and publically available details are incomplete) is alleging that a Trump appointee attempted to interfere with the auditing of Trump and/or Mike Pence’s tax returns. As you ponder this also consider that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin illegally blocked the release of Trump’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee in a clear violation of federal statute. There are a lot of dots there. Do they connect? If they do it’s not a pretty pattern.
The CIA’s top lawyer made a criminal referral to the Justice Department with Trump as the suspect. It appears the Justice Department deep sixed it because they were confused as to the format the referral took. Bill Barr is acting more like a mob consigliore than a U. S. Attorney General. This is like the local police not investigating a serious crime because the tip came in on the non-emergency number instead of 911.
Here is an interesting one that has an odor I have yet to completely identify, but I know it stinks. It became an open secret that Energy Secretary Rick Perry is planning to resign before the year’s end. He also declared that he will cooperate with Congressional investigators. Perry headed the American delegation to the inauguration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky replacing Mike Pence who Trump told not to attend. This was intended to increase the pressure on Zelensky and also made Perry the delegation’s head. That means Perry relayed Trump’s words to Zelensky. What were those words?
Speaking of Pence, it appears he may be more involved than many thought. Also and importantly it appears Trump is anxious to throw him under the bus. There may well be two motivations for this. Trump cares about himself and possibly his daughter Ivanka and that is it. That is motivation number one.
Motivation number two is a bit more complicated and infinitely more interesting, however it circles back to motivation one – Trump caring about Trump. If Pence were to be impeached along with Trump it would result in President Pelosi. That would be unacceptable to many Republicans some of whom serve in the Senate. Effectively Pence is removal from office insurance for Trump. Most Republican Senators really don’t like Trump (that is an understatement) but they fear him. They also loath Pelosi and don’t want to surrender the White House. Remember Spiro Agnew was forced from office before Richard Nixon was.
Here is a possible deal I see. Pence is impeached. That leaves the office of Vice President open. Section two of the Twenty-fifth Amendment states that the president – in this case Trump – gets to nominate a new vice president who must be confirmed by a majority (note: not two-thirds) in both chambers of Congress. If Trump were to nominate a suitable Republican enough House Democrats could back the nominee and the Republicans already have the majority in the Senate. In exchange for the Democratic support for the nominee in the House, 20 Republican Senators could vote to remove Trump and they would still retain the White House.
The Democrats get rid of Trump and don’t have to endure Pence. The Republicans get rid of both while avoiding Nancy. Then they all fight it out in the 2020 election. Trump is a drag on the GOP and while the Religious Right, who loves Pence, is important to the Republican Party they know Pence is not a great national candidate. If the case for removal can be made compelling enough the Religious Right will have to tolerate it. They have no other politically viable place to turn other than the GOP.
Admittedly my scenario is a bit wild but it is conceivable. (Ironically, it just dawned on me that this is a different 25th Amendment solution.) The largest impediment I see is time. There simply may not be enough time left before the conventions to make it happen.
Well, I covered what I could today and certainly left you with things to ponder.
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