This is not a political rant, even though it is about a politician.
President Trump has apparently determined on a tactic of ‘normalizing’ an outlawed behavior in an attempt to avoid being impeached. Here is how his strategy works. First, he assumes voters are stupid and gullible, which mostly we have proven ourselves to be.
Then, after being caught doing something he knew was illegal, which involved a conspiracy to cover up the illegal act (which is a second illegal act), he then tries to brazen it through by doing it again. And again. And again. Even on live television.
This is not original. Many a child with a hand caught in the cookie has attempted something similar. “Well Jennie did it too!” “You did not yell at me when I snacked on carrots, but that was against the rules too!” Sometimes it works – children using progressively more impolite language as they age, for example, or rudenesses which would have earned a ‘timeout’ as a toddler are somehow accepted as a pre-teen.
But it is different when one is president, and acting like a mobster on the world stage. The rule of law must prevail.
Remember when the Republican party pursued Bill Clinton for impeachment because he got a blow job from a consenting adult? They were right on one point – the President lied under oath, and that, from a President, was unforgivable.
Mr. Trump has admitted he withheld nearly $400 million from a foreign government to pressure them to investigate his domestic political rival.
And this was not the only government he and his administration had been pressuring to do this kind of investigation. And, by admission, he also indicates his administration has been obstructing justice in their efforts to initially cover-up, then to actively thwart investigation.
There are multiple illegalities involved in this. Despite Trump’s reported claims otherwise, the President is not above the law; he may not shoot someone in broad daylight and get away with it. Doing it again will not make the first act any less illegal. Doing it over and over kills a lot of people, but doe not change the act to anything other than murder.
It does make one a serial criminal, rather than first offender.
Under a rule of law we look at what was done, not who did it, or even (generally) why. Those come into play later. If what was done was contrary to law, then one is guilty. Like sausage there is a bit more to it than most people want to know about, but at its essence that is what the rule of law comes down to: was an action illegal.
Money promised to someone is their money. Stepping between and holding that money hostage is, in fact, illegal in the USA. It is also illegal for a foreign government to interfere with an internal election. It is also illegal to counsel someone to commit an illegal act.
Then there is intent. Was the act committed with intent to break the law? The president, and most everyone in on that phone call, knew these things were illegal prior to the call. It might be hard to prove intent to break the law for what happened during it.
But covering it up shows an intent to obstruct justice, in my experience.
It is that, the intent to obstruct justice, which makes this case serious. Nixon’s theft of political data was not what brought him down; it was his efforts to prevent investigation and impeachment which would, ultimately, have resulted in his removal from office. He chose to resign first, rather than be found guilty of the crime.
Trump will probably not resign. I expect he is like the little boy with the sticky face and hands, screaming his innocence all the way to the time-out chair. He will put us all through his misery, in spades.
In an effort stop us from enforcing the rule of law.