The redacted Mueller report was released last week and now, for me, it’s the morning of Good Friday, and already Trump supporters are comparing Trump to Jesus and comparing calls for his impeachment with calls for crucifixion. If, in the unlikely event he is impeached, convicted and removed from office, what would they think would be equivalent to the resurrection? A major book deal? A job as commentator at Fox News? A lucrative position in the Kremlin?
For a week now we’ve been told by Trump and his administration that the Mueller report exonerated him. So, of course, the report says quite plainly on page 182 of Volume II that it does not exonerate him. And, in the preceding chapter, it goes on at some length saying it wouldn’t hurt to investigate Trump some more.
The reason, says the report, that Trump wasn’t charged with obstructing justice was not lack of evidence of obstruction of justice, but that Mueller’s investigation couldn’t determine whether Trump was “motivated by corrupt intent.” But the report clearly indicates that a congressional investigation could determine that.
In fact, all the pieces are in place to settle the matter. Trump tried to end the Mueller investigation by having Mueller fired. His own staff stood in the way of his efforts to make that happen, and as soon as Congress subpoenas the unredacted report, the House will have everything it needs to know who to call as witnesses and figure out Trump’s motivations.
A good idea of what his motives may have been is this quote from Trump, quoted by Sessions’ Chief of Staff: “Oh, my God, This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency. I’m fucked,” he said, as he learned that the Mueller investigation had begun.
This brings up the eternal question: “Should we really impeach Trump, when Mike Pence is standing right behind him waiting for his chance to wreck the country his own special way?”
I say yes. First of all, it would be better entertainment.
I remember the Nixon and Clinton impeachment hearings. Naturally, I preferred the Nixon impeachment, for obvious political reasons. Yes, yes, I’ve always leaned left, you know it, it’s no secret. But both impeachments were a hoot, even Clinton’s. “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.” “I did not have sex with that woman.” That’s classic comedy material right there.
Second, there doesn’t have to be any big rush. Trump has been president now for two years and three months. He’s got one year and nine months left in this term. I’m sure Democrats in the House would love to take the time to investigate Trump’s conduct with all due caution and concern for the truth. This is no time to be hasty.
If I were in Congress, I would definitely want to see all the witnesses questioned under oath at length, some of them repeatedly, until we really got to the bottom of this mess. I’m thinking impeachment hearings should at least last until late October 2020. In time to schedule a vote on impeachment sometime on or after Wednesday, Nov. 4.
I mean, it would make good sense to wait until after the federal election, so a vote to impeach wouldn’t influence voters. That would be wrong. That would be like an October Surprise.
But let’s say that it doesn’t work like that and somehow the Republicans succeed in getting the impeachment hearings wrapped up early. What would happen then?
He would be impeached — that’s pretty clear to me, as things stand now, barring a Burning of the Reichstag-like event.
So the Senate would have to vote on the charges, unless Trump does a Nixon and resigns. They either will vote to convict or vote to acquit.
If Trump either resigns or is convicted we get stuck with Mike Pence serving out the rest of Trump’s term. By this time, through all the impeachment hearing, the administration will be more short-staffed than ever. Pence will have to recover and build an administration from close to nothing. He won’t be in a position to run an effective election campaign. He’ll be gone in a few months.
If Trump stays on and is acquitted, we’ll get to see, after all the impeachment hearings, if he can pull off a repeat of 2016.
I’m going to guess that a Senate acquittal won’t save his presidency at the polls after the public gets a good, long look at what his presidency has really been.
Dr. Wes Browning is a one time math professor who has experienced homelessness several times. He supplied the art for the first cover of Real Change in November of 1994 and has been involved with the organization ever since. This is his weekly column, Adventures in Irony, a dry verbal romp of the absurd. He can be reached at wesb (at) realchangenews (dot) org
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