Trumpster Diving

* Trump wants a show trial (for “exoneration”). Of course he does–but on his terms, which includes subpoena defiance. Whether it was firing contestants on “The Apprentice” or descending a Trump Tower escalator–as Deus Ex Machina Man–it’s always been about the show and accompanying, Trump-lionizing optics. But, yes, he will have to accept that Chief Justice John Roberts–not Judge Judy–will be presiding.

* It’s likely that Trump, however full of bluster and buffoonery, is not just irate over impeachment–but embarrassed. Tantamount to a pathological narcissist’s worst nightmare. For all his name recognition and MAGA branding, his obit lead will reference America’s third presidential impeachment, and he knows it.

* “Monica Zelenskiy.” That’s how a number of Ukrainians are expressing their disapproval and frustration over the way their president is handling the relationship with President Trump.

* Speculation persists that Mike Pompeo might resign to run for the Senate from Kansas. That was ratcheted up recently when the well-regarded Stephen Biegun, the American special envoy for Korean nuclear affairs, was nominated to become deputy secretary of state. Biegun could ease into an acting role if Pompeo decides to move on. As for Pompeo, maybe he doesn’t like what he foresees from the upcoming election. Or maybe he doesn’t like being trolled by Rudy Giuliani, who still wants to be secretary of state. Or maybe he’s approaching an epiphany and is actually embarrassed by foreign-policy chaos and yearns to return to his West Point ideals.

* Not that long ago–in2008–on CNN Trump said of Nancy Pelosi:I like her a lot.” But he was “surprised” that she hadn’t pushed to impeach President George W. Bush for “lying about the Iraq war.” Impeachment, he said–as only he can phrase it–“would have been a wonderful thing.” And for the record, he thought–at least back then–that President Bill Clinton’s impeachment was “nonsense.”

* Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., says he will be playing a role in the Trump Administration after announcing that he won’t be running for re-election. Last year he was rumored to be a candidate for chief of staff. That could still be in play and incumbent Mick Mulvaney–of “get used to it” fame–knows it.

* It’s still shocking to hear Trump-opposition sentiment that seemingly dreads Vice President Mike Pence more than Trump. As in, “If we impeach and convict Trump, we get Pence for president! No!” Pence, to be clear, is a sycophantic opportunist, an evangelical hypocrite and made-to-order material for “Saturday Night Live.” But he is not an unhinged, immoral existential threat to the world around him. Moreover, he’s nobody the Republican Party, now cult leader-enamored, could rally around in the next election.

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