* “Frankly, I want a trial.” That’s President Donald Trump’s acknowledged trump card, the one that is reliant on embarrassingly sycophantic Republicans in the Senate voting against impeachment conviction. Loathsome Lindsey & Co. will vote their party, Trump fealty and their political self interest. Then comes the rally-’round, re-election rhetoric of “witch hunt,” “hoax,” “fake news” and then the figurative spiking of the campaign football: “Exoneration!” As if.
The Trump-channeling base will drink the exoneration Kool Aid and ask for seconds. The rest of the electorate, which outnumbers the base, will have to be the ultimate jury after the Senate acquittal. Surely there are enough American voters, regardless of party or no-party affiliation, who have seen enough of Trump–both before and as president–to know that four more years of his unhinged, unethical faux populism and fraught authoritarianism is really, really bad for America. Surely.
* Arguably, the best response to defensive taunts of “hearsay” testimony is first-hand testimony. But the White House hasn’t cooperated–(no direct, under-oath input from Mike Pompeo, Mick Mulvaney, John Bolton et al)–and knows it could run the clock out on subpoena appeals. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff confirmed as much. “What we’re not prepared to do,” said Schiff, “is wait months and months while the administration plays a game of rope-a-dope in an effort to try to stall.”
* The impeachment process, although rare and sometimes misunderstood, will come down to a familiar legal scenario: Indictment (impeachment hearings), Trial (Senate vote), Appeal (2020 election vote).
* “I’ve seen things written like he’s going to throw me under the bus. When they say that, I say he isn’t. But I have insurance.”–That was Rudy Giuliani. Maybe he has photos.
* “If you don’t want liberal extremists to run your lives, then today we say welcome to the Republican Party. … We’ve done more for African-Americans in three years than the broken Washington establishment has done in 30 years.” That was Trump, possibly with a straightface, at a “Black Voices for Trump” rally in Atlanta.
* What you just heard may have been the sound of MLK turning over in his grave as his niece, Alveda King, acts increasingly like someone who is, preposterously, among Trump’s most loyal African-American supporters. Perhaps being “judged by the content of their character” just doesn’t resonate as it used to.
* “The time has come to investigate the investigators.” No, that wasn’t a Trump tweet–but the defiant response of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to formal charges of corruption. The two have more in common than we would like to admit.
* Fiona Hill for secretary of state.
* So there was President Trump last week in Austin, Texas touring a plant that makes high-end Apple computers. He was accompanied by the ultimate Apple prop, Timothy Cook, its chief executive. Trump was there, the president cluelessly suggested, for the grand opening–that very day. Only one problem: the plant that he was taking credit for had opened six years earlier. Cook, of course, didn’t correct him; he’s still lobbying Trump on trade and tax issues.
Trump then doubled down a little later by tweeting: “Today, I opened a major Apple Manufacturing plant in Texas that will bring high paying jobs back to America.” Talk about “fake news.”
* “We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi.” Whatever.
* Pre-President Trump Lindsey Graham: “If we nominate Trump, we will get destroyed. And we will deserve it.” Alas, the destruction–in the form of constitutional crises and non-white targeting to planet endangerment and foreign-policy chaos–should never have been about a political party. And while the solicitous, sycophantic Republican Party deserves its Trump-inflicted fractures and behind-the-scenes paranoia, the rest of us sure in hell don’t.