Much of the country is suddenly aflutter over news that the so called president delayed military aid, then tried to browbeat the president of Ukraine into investigating spurious allegations against former vice president Joe Biden during a phone call.
Par for the course. This is how Trump has always operated, apparently throughout his life, but especially since he decided to run for president. Since at least the summer of 2016, we know that persons working with his presidential campaign have been in touch with Russians in order to secure their help in winning the presidency, help that failed of violating federal law only because of the ineptitude of Trump’s minions. The Stupidity Defense.
We found out about the notorious phone call with the president of Ukraine because the White House released a summary of it. Trump thought the summary would silence critics of his conduct. He thought that because he is entirely free of any understanding of law or legal procedures. He cannot conceive of the idea that laws exist that he has a responsibility to abide by and may suffer bad consequences if he fails to do so. Because he wanted to get help from the president of Ukraine and asked for it, it must have been acceptable — solely because it was Trump trying to gratify his own desires, which is the only standard Trump understands.
Much to Trump’s amazement, the summary had exactly the opposite effect. Democratic leaders in Congress, especially in the House, saw in the summary, and the conduct it described, clearly unlawful actions that merit impeachment. Finally.
The details of this specific incident are, as they always are, unique to this incident. Since the initial revelation about the phone call with the president of Ukraine, major news outlets have published stories about efforts by Trump and his always corrupt Attorney General, William Barr, to get help from other foreign governments in order to undermine the validity of Robert Mueller’s investigation and report.
But this is typical Trump from start to finish. Since he has zero sense of ethics or integrity, he regards Mueller as an enemy and Mueller’s investigation and report solely as attacks that he must respond to in kind. He literally cannot conceive of the idea that Mueller acted as a law enforcement officer whose goal was to find out what actually happened and determine if anyone committed any crimes. This is beyond Trump’s ken.
No one should find this at all surprising. Trump has consistently behaved this way since long before he ran for president. This should have been the frame which any rational observer would use in looking at Trump’s conduct from his initial campaign announcement through the most recent revelations about his various crimes. It is not at all clear why the leadership of the House of Representatives did not do so and use this frame to evaluate the claims in Mueller’s report, coming immediately to the conclusion that the report alone required impeachment.
The details are different, but the underlying impulse to ignore all legal constraints is just more of the same.
It is only because of the perverse good fortune of Trump’s stupidity that he did not think up the device, which likely would have worked frighteningly well, of attacking Iran or Venezuela, or Syria, or some other country, for the purpose of rallying the general public behind him, as it mindlessly does in times of apparent national emergency, as a way of making impeachment politically impossible.
We got lucky. The Democratic leadership got lucky.
Because Trump is too stupid to understand that he was committing crimes, and apparently some number of the people who work for him are equally stupid, they invited, almost demanded, impeachment by committing crimes and almost bragged about it, mistakenly thinking that their bravado would prove exculpatory rather than inculpatory.
No one has come out of the last week looking very good. The one redeeming advantage the Democrats have in this fight is that they at least understand the concepts of law and legal procedures well enough to invoke them on behalf of reason and minimally competent government against Trump and the forces of unreason and total incompetence.
Sad that our best hope now is continuing stupidity on Trump’s part that will lead him to commit yet more crimes, only now under the more watchful eye of the public and House Democrats, who are finally on the case.
Lucky us that he will almost certainly do just that.