Time to impeach Trump

The Mueller investigation continues to dig up dirt on members of the Trump administration, and now The Donald seems to have gotten soiled himself. According to today’s New York Times

Federal prosecutors said on Friday that President Trump directed illegal payments to ward off a potential sex scandal that threatened his chances of winning the White House in 2016, putting the weight of the Justice Department behind accusations previously made by his former lawyer.

The lawyer, Michael D. Cohen, had said that as the election neared, Mr. Trump directed payments to two women who claimed they had affairs with Mr. Trump. But in a new memo arguing for a prison term for Mr. Cohen, prosecutors in Manhattan said he “acted in coordination and at the direction of” an unnamed individual, clearly referring to Mr. Trump.

In another filing, prosecutors for the special counsel investigating Russia’s 2016 election interference said an unnamed Russian offered Mr. Cohen “government level” synergy between Russia and Mr. Trump’s campaign in November 2015. That was months earlier than other approaches detailed in indictments secured by prosecutors.

And in a separate case on Friday, the special counsel accused Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s campaign chairman, of lying about his contacts with an individual they accuse of ties to Russian intelligence, and about his interactions with Trump administration officials after he was indicted on criminal charges.

Together, the filings laid bare the most direct evidence to date linking Mr. Trump to potentially criminal conduct, and added to an already substantial case that Russia was seeking to sway the 2016 election in his favor.

Mr. Trump sought on Friday to dismiss the news, claiming it “Totally clears the President. Thank you!”

As you may know, impeachment charges are brought by the House of Representatives, which will be majority Democratic in January, but the impeachment must be voted on by the Senate after a hearing in that chamber. A two-thirds Senate majority is required to successfully impeach someone, and of course, the Senate is a majority Republican chamber.

Conviction in the Senate simply removes a President from office, but he—Trump in this case—may also face criminal charges. Those are usually brought after the President is out of office because of the general feeling that there should be no criminal prosecution of a sitting President.

Now Trump’s removal would make Mike Pence President until 2020, not the best outcome. However Pence isn’t a good candidate for President, and if the Democrats can field a good candidate in two years, then we stand a chance of gaining back the White House. (Many names are already being mentioned, including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden).

This all, of course, depends on the willingness of the Democrats to bring charges, of the Senate to convict, and, most of all, on the evidence that Robert Mueller has that Trump colluded in the Russia affair, made illegal payments for silence, lied to Mueller, and so on. I’m betting that the evidence is sufficient to bring an impeachment (impeachment, of course, is just the bringing of charges and the trial, not the conviction).

Let’s take two votes, just for fun. You don’t have to answer “yes” to the first one to answer the second one, which is simply your guess about what would happen if Trump is impeached. And, of course, you can weigh in below.

and this one:

 

 

260 Comments

  1. Posted December 8, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    trump will attempt to pardon himself.

    • yazikus
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Indeed he will. Poll results are interesting so far. I am thinking he won’t be impeached, but if he were – I do think he’ll be convicted. I’m in the minority!

      • Simon Hayward
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Then we are a minority of at least two with that combination

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        I expect the evidence to be incontrovertible. Unlike Nixon, trump won’t resign for the good of the party. It’s gonna get crazy.

        • yazikus
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

          trump won’t resign for the good of the party

          For all the loyalty he demands, he himself has none (other than to himself).

          • Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

            What part of NPD don’t you get?

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 9, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

              Unless you mean “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”, none of it.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 9, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

          Unlike Nixon, trump won’t resign for the good of the party. It’s gonna get crazy.

          Trump wouldn’t understand the concept of “the good” being a group that doesn’t include him benefiting. He is just a narcissist. With his hand on the nuclear “football”.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        There are two great unresolved issues of constitutional law applicable to our current predicament: whether a sitting president can be indicted and whether a president can pardon himself.

        The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has issued a (non-binding) opinion that a sitting president cannot be indicted. Robert Mueller is the ultimate by-the-book kinda guy, so I don’t expect him to try (and, if he did, he wouldn’t get approval for the move from his overseers at Main Justice).

        I think Trump will eventually endeavor to pardon himself, so we are likely to have that issue resolved by SCOTUS, by the time this long national nightmare is over.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          There is that old saying, if it means anything anymore. No one is above the law.

  2. Mike T
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I don’t think he’ll be impeached because the Dems in the House know that keeping him dangling gives them a stronger platform to run on in 2020. I also don’t want him removed before January 2021 because that would allow a President Pence (and I just threw up a little in my mouth) to pardon him.

    I want him to rot in prison, pale and bald and lonely. No golfing, no porn mistresses. Only cinderblock walls and a white porcelain toilet without a lid, none of the faux gaudiness of his properties.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      “… pale and bald and lonely …”

      That’s what he is already, underneath the pancake makeup, the frou-frou comb-over, and the pomp and circumstance of the presidency.

      • Sastra
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Oh, come now. With his glorious self for constant company, how could Trump ever be “lonely?”

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Your wishes are I think acceptable. Not acceptable are wishes of violence. But the stark prison you describe won’t happen, of course.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      It’s actually a stainless steel toilet sans lid, with a tiny sink built into the top, as I happen to know. A far cry from the gold-plated ones he’s accustomed to.

      Someone should create a meme of him thus “enthroned”.

    • pablo
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Dems also thought Trump was the weakest and therefore best candidate to run against. Dems have terrible political instincts..

      • Diane G
        Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:57 am | Permalink

        Plenty of Republicans thought so as well. Even when the polls started suggesting otherwise, many were convinced there was no way in hell the US would vote for such a _________ [fill in the blank].

    • David Coxill
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      If he did get impeached and convicted ,he would spend hardly any time in jail .
      Only the poor in America spend any time in the clink ,with a few exceptions of course.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      “Impeached” in the US just means that the House votes to hold a proceeding; it doesn’t mean that the president is necessarily removed. So it’s possible for the president to be impeached by the House, yet given a pass by the Senate. Noting the party alignments of these bodies, I think that’s the most likely scenario.

      I don’t agree with PCC(e) that now is the time for impeachment. That should wait until Mueller files more documents. But I’m not worried about President Pence, because (a) Republican dominated Senate and (b) loyalty exceeding intelligence. (It would probably be smarter for them to dump Trump, but I don’t think they’ll figure that out.)

      • David Coxill
        Posted December 9, 2018 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        As a Brit i thought it was the worst thing that could happen to a POTUS .

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 9, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      a white porcelain toilet without a lid,

      Last I heard, they’ve been using stainless steel for a while. Much harder to break, and tough in the sense that it doesn’t produce sharp-edged weapons for rioters. No lid to rip free and use as a projectile either.
      Just think of those cold roughened steel surfaces caressing his tender pampered backside. Then “Big Stu” doing the same.

  3. Posted December 8, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    In my opinion, and as much as I’d like to see Trump brought to justice, it would be a strategic error for the House to vote impeachment without being assured of the votes in the Senate to convict. That’s going to require some strong, conclusive evidence — more than what’s been revealed so far.

    • yazikus
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      That’s going to require some strong, conclusive evidence

      Out of curiosity, what do you think it would take?

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        The pee tape might do it. Short of that, and more likely, proof of a long standing criminal association between Trump and Russia. Mueller probably has that.

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

          Imagine the enormous splash that would be!
          Others can add to the imagery.

          • rickflick
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

            I’m imagining a tape of a conversation establishing a quid pro quo between Putin and Trump. They end the conversation with a toast – Putin with vodka, Trump with a chocolate shake.

            • Mark Sturtevant
              Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

              I was thinking more along the lines of how pee tape would cast a warm, yellow light over the division and sniping in Washington. That sort of thing.

            • Mark R.
              Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

              Like Trump, Putin is also a teetotaler.

              • rickflick
                Posted December 8, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

                Well, in that case, a glass of warm bear’s milk for Putin.

              • Nicolaas Stempels
                Posted December 9, 2018 at 1:42 am | Permalink

                Never trust those teetotalers!

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

              A chocolate shake in a paper cup from Burger King.

              • rickflick
                Posted December 8, 2018 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

                The waxy paper is half the fun.

        • Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          I agree that Trump will not be impeached without strong evidence, but I don’t think Mueller has that evidence. I think, when it comes to ensuring plausible deniability for criminal acts done by him, Trump is the past master, otherwise he’d have been in prison before he ran for president.

          Mueller may have something on Trump, which would explain why Trump is spinning so hard against Mueller, but if Mueller had anything fatal, Trump would already have shut down the investigation.

          • Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

            You might be right but if Trump never planned to win, he might have miscalculated. After all, they wouldn’t look at him so hard if he had lost. I doubt President Hilary Clinton would still be leading cheers of “Lock him up!” at her rallies.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Why do you think it be a strategic error to try him unsuccessfully on articles of impeachment before the senate, Stephen?

      A trial before the senate would focus the nation’s attention on all Trump’s manifest misdeeds and force the Republican senators — including the 22 GOP senators up for reelection in 2020 — to take a stand on Trump (who, between his exploding scandals and a shrinking economy, will likely by then be in an all-time popularity trough).

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        And give the currently supportive Republicans a chance to abandon him like rats from a sinking, orange ship.

        • Posted December 8, 2018 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          I was thinking the same thing. He has no real friends there, just ass-kissers, and they will turn on him if they see a good chance to be rid of him.

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        History. It didn’t work out well for the Republicans when they impeached Clinton and failed to convict. Clinton was re-elected. Failure to convict Trump along partisan lines would give weight to his claims of exoneration and that it was a political witch hunt, at least among his supporters.

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

          I for one can see the point. His base is clearly impervious to all manner of outrage. And it can well be that enough Republicans will not move to impeach unless they have a recording or written note from the Prez directly showing that he did something impeachable.

          • Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

            And what will happen when Trump resigns to do whatever, and Pence pardons him? I see years of lawsuits and turmoil caused by his faithful mob.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

          Clinton was reelected in 1996, well before the Lewinsky scandal and Clinton’s 1998 impeachment. The next presidential election was won by Republican George W. Bush (at least in the only vote that ended up mattering, the one that took place in the US Supreme Court).

          I think it’s the consensus view that the Lewinsky scandal, and the resulting impeachment proceedings, did grave damage to electoral prospects of Al Gore.

          • Mark R.
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

            Plus these circumstances are much graver than consensual “sex” in the oval office and lying to Congress about it.

            • Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

              Graver than running an illicit email server?

              • Mark R.
                Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

                Butter Emails!!!

    • ploubere
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      There is nothing that would convince his core supporters that he had done anything wrong. He will continue to blanket deny everything as fake news, and they won’t believe any amount of evidence. They see it as an elitist conspiracy.

      So the result is that in Trump-majority districts Republicans have to stand with Trump in order to get reelected.

      This is mass delusion of a religious form, in which Trump has achieved sainthood.

      • Sastra
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

        I agree. And I think Trump also stands as an embodiment of the populist belief in the Power of Positive Thinking. He keeps saying “I won” when he did nothing of the sort, and the confidence alone is worshipped like a form of magic — both by him, and his followers. Name it; claim it.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          Well, the Donald does claim to have attended Norman Vincent Peale’s church as a kid.

          • Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

            Not just claimed — he kept up the contact throughout Peale’s life and invited him to his first wedding. And (as @Sastra has pointed out here in earlier times) his belief that he can create his own reality is straight up ‘power of positive thinking’ philosophy. His refusal to plan or inform himself before going into meetings is part of this too, as is his hatred and fear of losers like those who created hurricanes or bushfires, or any fighter pilot who got themselves shot down in enemy territory. He fears such ‘losers’ because he thinks their loser-ism might rub off on him.

            And it’s no coincidence that this positive thinking philosophy quite exactly mirrors a psychopathic mindset.

            • Sastra
              Posted December 9, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

              Exactly. Which is why it’s particularly frustrating when its proponents frame New Thought as an upbeat, progressive, liberal philosophy (and its critics as unhappy, retrograde, and mean-spirited.)

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

          Trump, as a narcissist, can’t handle not winning so he just refuses to see it any other way. I’ve watched narcissistic people fail spectacularly then turn around and say “oh well, they were still impressed with me” and walk it off.

        • Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

          He keeps saying “I won” when he did nothing of the sort

          He did win by the rules of the US Constitution.

          • Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

            Only if collusion with a foreign power is in the Constitution. High crimes and misdemeanors!

            • Posted December 8, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

              We don’t have any evidence of his collusion with a foreign power. Mueller might, but I’d be surprised if he has enough evidence to persuade Congress to impeach – or the Senate to convict.

              • Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

                We’ll see, as Trump is fond of saying.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted December 8, 2018 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

                There’s plenty of evidence of collusion — from the “Moscow project,” to the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting, to Trump’s call-out to “Russia, if you’re listening,” to the change in the GOP’s 2016 platform regarding the Ukraine, to the communications with Wikileaks, to the shenanigans with Russia during the presidential transition period.

                What’s missing so far is a “smoking gun.” And, judging from his recent tweet, that appears to have become Trump’s last line of defense.

              • Nicolaas Stempels
                Posted December 9, 2018 at 1:49 am | Permalink

                I’d say there is a lot of evidence, but it is basically circumstantial. Mueller might indeed have more.

              • Posted December 9, 2018 at 4:54 am | Permalink

                Sorry Ken but the things you list are not evidence of a specific charge of collusion between Trump and a foreign power – that means the president himself and Putin’s government.

                I think, for the whole thing not to backfire, there has to be certainty, not “Trump said it in a speech” or “some aides of Trump talked to Russians” or “Wikileaks talked to Russians”.

                Maybe Mueller has that evidence, but I think, probably not. I think if Mueller had the evidence and Trump knew he had it, he would have been shut down already.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

                @jeremy

                I think what we will see when all the evidence is in is that the “Moscow project” Michael Cohen was working on and the effort to rig the 2016 election were two sides to the same coin. I suspect Trump avoided direct communications with Putin (and Russians acting on his behalf) through a series of “cutouts” — Roger Stone, Jerome Corsi, Michael Cohen, possibly Paul Manafort, and, certainly, Wikileaks (which has become nothing but a front Russian intelligence) among others.

                Despite this lack of direct communication, I think the evidence will be overwhelming that there was a conspiracy to interfere in the 2016 encompassing Trump and Russia — the same type of evidence of conspiracy on which Americans are convicted on every day of the week in US federal courts, and for which they are then sentenced to substantial time in federal prison.

              • Posted December 9, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

                I’m thinking Trump is familiar with the “cutout” concept and its purpose in a criminal enterprise but, as with much he attempts to do, he lacks the self-control needed to execute it properly. He wouldn’t be able to resist having meetings or phone calls with his henchmen to make sure it was going the way he wants and to perform frequent loyalty checks.

              • rickflick
                Posted December 9, 2018 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

                Cutout concept? Please enlighten us.

              • Posted December 10, 2018 at 12:03 am | Permalink

                Merriam-Webster defines it as “an intermediary in a clandestine operation”. It allows the mob boss to keep his hands clean, assuming no one rats him out.

              • rickflick
                Posted December 10, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

                I haven’t seen the word used but it sounds precisely relevant to tRumpian shenanigans. I’ll watch for it. Thanks.

          • Sastra
            Posted December 9, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

            Trump claiming victory for achievements which are dubious at best is habitual. If there are a few things which he may arguably have won (the election,) there are many things which he did not (the popular vote) yet says otherwise. Take your pick. It’s a fertile field.

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        I agree, but I’d also note that “core supporters” might be numerous enough to win another nomination vs. another Republican, but they’re not enough to win a general election. In the general elections, centrist voters actually matter.

    • Harrison
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      If the House attempts to do something and it dies in the Senate, that puts the burden on Senators to answer for it. This is the same reason why incoming Dems are already preparing new healthcare, jobs, and renewable energy legislation despite knowing none of it has any chance of passage in the next two years.

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        I think that is smart of the Dems. They need to show the people that they have real solutions to real problems and that we could have them but for Republicans and Trump. I’m crossing my fingers that they will leave the identity politics alone.

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        If a Democrat House impeaches a Republican president and the Senate fails to convict, it’s not going to be on the Senate unless the evidence leaves no room for doubt whatsoever. If there is any room for doubt, the result will be spun as a partisan attempt to sabotage the legitimately elected President.

  4. Simon Hayward
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Should he be impeached, yes. Will he be impeached, probably not. Is it a good idea to impeach him….I’m not sure but would err on the side of saying no, it seems to me that it might be better to have him removed by the electorate. Also we might be better with a dysfunctional Trump White House than a predictably malignant and probably more effective Pence White House.

    There is a good chance that Trump’s actions have already caused the beginnings of an economic downturn that will topple him in a couple of years. Months, ago the folks on 538 predicted that his days would be numbered when Fox News turns against him, so I’ll cite Tucker Carlson’s recent comments

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Yes, I think Tucker Carlson and his(actually relatively mild criticisms) are a sign that things are beginning to crumble politically for Trump. That the magical self-confidence balloon that’s been keeping him afloat for so long is just beginning to run out of wish-fuel.

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

        Perhaps we have made the transition from “Is Trump guilty?” to “Of what crimes is Trump guilty?”

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

          If Tucker Carlson and his little bow-tie has turned then Trump’s in trouble. Carlson is fantastically good at offending anyone who isn’t his audience, while remaining completely, tediously conformist when it comes to his own audience. If he thinks it’s safe to go after Trump then there’s blood in the water and it won’t be long before the rest of them join in.

          Except for Hannity of course. He’ll be there in the bunker with Trump at the very end, the Eva Braun to his Hitler.

          • Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

            Yes. I especially like Hannity as Eva Braun. Good one. I hope SNL picks it up.

            • Harrison
              Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

              Rumor has it that Trump actually doesn’t like Hannity too much on a personal level because he’s just a bit too eager to brown-nose. Maybe it’s part of his sadistic streak. He likes when people kiss up to him, but only if he knows they’re uncomfortable doing it. And Hannity’s just too eager to debase himself. It’s no fun. He’s still a reliable propaganda minister though.

              • Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

                Having read Fear in the Whitehouse, I’d say Trump doesn’t like anybody on a personal level.

                Somebody said it’s like you start with 100 points when you first meeting and you lose points as you go along each time you make a mistake or do something Trump doesn’t like. You never get points back. One day, your total reaches zero and then you are out.

            • David Coxill
              Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

              No, hannity as joseph goebbels ,his present wife would be Eva Braun .

              Another gem from The producers .
              “That whole third act will have to go ,they are losing the war ,so depressing ”

              Not forgetting this one.

              Roger De Bris : Did you know, I never knew that the Third Reich meant Germany. I mean it’s just drenched with historical goodies like that..

              • Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

                Heather Nauert, nominee for UN Ambassador: “Tomorrow is the anniversary of the D-Day invasion. We obviously have a very long history with the government of Germany, and we have a strong relationship with the government.”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, Trump has been getting credit as some type of economic idiot savant whose bumbling around has led to a boom. If (as some are predicting) the US economy falls into a recession, more and more people will get a gander at the emperor’s nakedness.

        • Randy Bessinger
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

          +1

      • Harrison
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

        Trump’s only value is as a brand. Now that brand has been tarnished with the stink of “loser” since the midterms. This is what will ultimately cause his base to abandon him, probably for someone equally venal and stupid if not moreso. They want to be associated with a winner.

        • GBJames
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          I would like to agree but I can’t. Trump’s base is not capable of recognizing his loser-ness. They will see it all as persecution.

          • Sastra
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

            Maybe, but keep in mind that having a loyal following based on stoking their sense of resentment is dangerous. They’re likely to turn if some arbitrary thing the leader does shifts their Apologetic Mode into another direction. Just as the way to fight a conspiracy theory is to offer up a conspiracy theory *about* the conspiracy theory, any sufficiently popular pro-Trump pundit (or set of pundits) could get the crowd chanting “Lock him up!”

            The only thing Trump’s fan base is unalterably consistent about is life being unfair to them.

            • GBJames
              Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

              There’s one more thing they have been unalterably consistent about… supporting Donald J tRump.

              The question is how long it will continue. They would need to feel betrayed by him. The only thing that would cause that, IMO, would be if he suddenly started supporting the rule of law and Democratic policies. (Big “D”.) I don’t see it happening.

              • Sastra
                Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

                Trump’s base doesn’t care either way about the rule of law or Democratic policies as such. But you know they’d turn on Trump like jackals if he so much as hinted at chipping away at the 2nd Amendment, or taking away their guns.
                The only way Trump would be that stupid is if he felt sure of his base but wanted to court praise from new fans. Which is conceivable.

            • Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

              Yes, a significant number of Trump voters must come out of this thinking they made a mistake or all hell will break loose. They don’t have to admit it in public, of course, but they do have to think and vote differently in the future. It must be accepted as a lesson.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

            Trump is looking weak on China, weak on North Korea, and weak — especially — on Saudi Arabia. That weakness, more than anything else, could cost him with his base.

            Which is why I fear, as the walls close in around him, Trump might start a war to burnish his strongman image.

            • Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

              +1

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

              I’m afraid of a war as well. Like a mix up in Iran or, even worse, N Korea. My luck, he takes it out on Canada.

              David Frum predicts something is coming out soon so I guess we will see before the end of the year.

              • infiniteimprobabilit
                Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

                I’m fearful for the people of Iran, who are blameless in all this. What have they done to deserve Trump? Absolutely nothing. They’ve got their own Ayatollahs to contend with, they don’t need the Orange Idiot screwing them as well, just to satisfy his warped ego.

                cr

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 9, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

              Which is why I fear, as the walls close in around him, Trump might start a war to burnish his strongman image.

              “I fear” implies that there is some sort of doubt.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

                I had hoped that Gen. John Mattis’s strong and steady hand on the tiller at the Defense Department might dissuade Trump or otherwise avert a war.

                I no longer think that Trump is listening to Mattis or anyone else, save National Security Advisor John Bolton, this nation’s most bellicose warhawk.

                Abandon all hope ye who enter here.

  5. Christopher
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    I would like to note that while I voted NO on both, this merely reflects my belief that republicans will not ever choose rule of law over party loyalty and that I seriously doubt any president will ever face criminal charges for fear of disrupting the Washington gravy train too much. Granted, if he was a Democrat, he’d already have been strung up by his thumbs or other parts while crowds of #MeTooers and republicans bayed for his blood. But, yes, he OUGHT to be impeached and he OUGHT to be tried and probably convicted of a wide variety of crimes. I won’t hold my breath.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      This encompasses my beliefs on the manner as well.

      • Diane G
        Posted December 9, 2018 at 3:27 am | Permalink

        Me too.

  6. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    The first question appears to me to be not prediction but prophecy. So I answered “no opinion”

    Second question seems more clear cut.

    That’s my no-thinking reaction.

  7. GBJames
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I answered “yes” and “yes”, but I did so half-heartedly. While I suspect it will be nearly impossible for the House not to impeach him, I fear that Republicans in the Senate will never be able to stand up against their base. This is not, IMO, a good way for this to play out.

  8. BobTerrace
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I said yes to impeachment and no to conviction. The evidence already shown/implied far exceeds the evidence used to impeach Bill Clinton. I surmise that Mueller will come up with a very strong case for conviction in the senate but the Republicans will hang on and ignore the evidence. If that does happen, I think that could be the death of the Republican party.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      The Dems would be fools to not indict, and the Gops fools to not convict.

    • Jon Gallant
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      In other words, Trump has done and will continue to do wonders for the Democratic Party. Maybe Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin isn’t so smart, after all.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Putin is ruthless and conniving and completely amoral. Smart, in the sense of having a vision of the long-term, worldwide consequences of his moves — that’s something I’ve seen no evidence for.

        • Harrison
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          I’ll echo this and say that I think some on the left have given Putin too much credit as a mastermind. I think he’s made the best of the chaos that Trump has created, but it’s pretty clear that what Russia wanted from the guy was a lifting of economic sanctions, and they didn’t get it. And on top of that the world’s intelligence agencies are scrutinizing Russian activity more than ever. It’s starting to look like Vlad bet bigly and lost.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think it is all Putin’s vision but the Soviet vision from decades ago that is ingrained in many Russians of that era, Putin included. In other words, he didn’t come up with a new vision, he’s just executing the playbook for a vision of 20-40 years ago.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

            True, Putin rues the end of the Soviet Union. But I think his “vision” for Russia goes back even further, to the days of Ivan the Terrible and Catherine the Great. Putin’s favorite “thinker” is reputed to be neo-Fascist Aleksandr Dugin.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 9, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

            he’s just executing the playbook for a vision of 20-40 years ago.

            That is so different to the American habit of harking back to the 1950s.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        Putin is in it for the long game.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 9, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

          Someone with a plan longer than the 5 years electoral cycle (four years in the US)? That is literally incredible – it is not something I can believe of existing. In a system with an electoral cycle.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 9, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

            How’d those “5 year plans” work out for the former USSR?

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

              Well they’re doing a good job of trying to destroy the UK at the moment.

  9. Historian
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    There is no doubt that Trump deserves to be impeached and removed. Once he leaves office, for whatever reason, he can be indicted not only for his crimes as president, but the many he committed as head of his crime family. While I would bet that that there is a better than fifty percent chance that he will be impeached by the House, the odds of him actually being removed by the Senate are quite low. It would take 20 Republican senators to join the 47 Democratic senators (assuming all voted to remove) for conviction. For this to happen, there would have to be a significant drop in support from his cult. This has yet to happen. Even if it does happen, the impeachment and removal process will take so long that we will fast be approaching the 2020 election when politicians will turn their attention to getting re-elected. So, unless Trump resigns or is defeated in the Republican primaries by another candidate (both unlikely in my view), the most likely scenario is that he suffers a crushing defeat in the 2020 election, which could perhaps return the Republican Party to a center-right ideology.

  10. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    It is interested to note that most opinions ignore any mention of history in their remarks. If we review both the Clinton impeachment and the Nixon vote by the house judiciary to impeach, Trump has already surpassed both in charges against him. Eventually, after the Mueller report comes in his crimes will make Nixon and Clinton look like boy scouts. I believe he will be impeached but not until after the investigation has reported. It is always possible that Pence could pardon Trump but that would certainly be suicide.

    Think how close we were to having Agnew as president after Nixon. And Agnew was a bigger crook than Nixon by a good margin.

    • GBJames
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      I don’t think history provides a very good guide here because impeachment is a political process and the politics of today are so different from what it was like during Watergate and the Clinton era.

      But you’re right. Trump makes Nixon, et al, look like Boy Scouts.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

        History is all we have to make a more objective judgement on these matters. The politics are not so different. Go back to Andrew Johnson and say we were not as divided back then as now. They certainly took a shot at impeachment back then and came within one vote. They had very little on Johnson. The attempt at impeaching and removing Clinton revolved around perjury and sex. Again not much. Only Nixon was up for some serious wrong doing and first on the list was obstruction of justice. They already have a boatload of obstruction on Trump. They have two dead bang crimes that include bribery, campaign finance and sex. Cohen has already be nailed for these. The final piece of history I am looking at is – What made Nixon take the helicopter ride? He threw in the towel because the republicans gave up on him finally. The evidence (the tapes) pushed them over the edge from their pathetic loyalty. If the Mueller report shows conspiracy with the Russians to throw the election to Trump, and I think it will, the game is over.

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

          Only if there are tapes or something equivalent.
          Sometimes history does repeat itself, and when it does we say “See? History repeats itself!” But history sometimes does not repeat itself.

          • Mark R.
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

            Some intel experts have speculated that Flynn was wired before he was fired. That’s also a reason Mueller suggested no prison time for Flynn; he flipped early on.

            If that is true, there is no doubt in my mind Trump will be impeached.

            • Randall Schenck
              Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

              Wired by who? Mueller? I don’t think so. Later, after he become a cooperator he may have been wired. He basically agree to do anything in the plea deal with Mueller.

              Also, the Mueller team seems to be pretty lenient with anyone who cooperates. The southern district of New York is not the same. They are the ones who want Cohen to serve some heavy time.

              • Mark R.
                Posted December 8, 2018 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

                I googled it since you were asking. I got it wrong…”they” speculate he was wired by Mueller afterwards and/or phone tapped, but he was still in contact with the WH after his firing. Anyway, there are a couple articles on the topic if you google it. I’m still skeptical, there’s a lot of shit flying around to be sure.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 9, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

            What are the odds the Trump doesn’t even know what the evidence that caught Nixon was? After all, Nixon was clearly a total “loser” (in Trump’s mindset), and there is no reason what-so-ever for “Big Winner” people to pay any attention to how losers lose. Because that’s not going to happen to them, because they’re Winners.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      It is always possible that Pence could pardon Trump….

      Fat chance. Pence would sell his own grandmother.

  11. pablo
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    This has to be the most corrupt administration in American history.

    • yazikus
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      And to think I used to have to go watch the delightfully trashy The Borgias on netflix for my scandal, corruption and evil fix.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      And its supporters think it is the most righteous.

      • Sastra
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        Its supporters have seemingly bought into the idea that corruption itself can be righteous in a good cause. Kind of like how God can order mass genocide in the OT and Christians excuse it by explaining that it had to happen for God’s People to get the land which had to be there so Jesus could eventually die for our sins.

        Without God, humanists have no way to refute “the ends justifies the means,” however …

        • Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

          Yes, this is why “the press is the enemy of the people” is so dangerous. If he is successful at painting himself as the victim, all kinds of awful things can be justified.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

          Yes, when corruption benefits their causes and supports their beliefs it’s not corruption but necessary measures.

  12. Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I think impeachment proceedings should start. Will be good if people care about the law, ethics and honesty.
    That theybwill not result in impeaching or impeachment seems obvious

  13. Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Just to put things in perspective, the United States isn’t the only country facing a serious constitutional crisis right now. On Tuesday, the British Parliament will likely vote against Prime Minister Theresa May’s deeply unpopular Brexit deal, plunging Britain into a political crisis on a scale not seen since World War 2. The consequences are serious enough that the government is actually making plans to stockpile food and essential medicines that are imported from Europe, in case the free flow of imports ceases on 29 March 2019, the day Britain formally leaves the European Union.

    So, as fascinating as the possible impeachment of Donald Tr*mp undoubtedly is, at least you’re not facing food and medicine shortages.

    • GBJames
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      Indeed. It is remarkable how much damage countries can do to themselves.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      As atrociously bad as May is, if she falls, you all end up with your version of Pol Pot.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        That’s a silly comparison. Corbyn is an ineffectual, charmless, dogmatic berk. He’s not a mass-murderer in waiting.

        • Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          True, but he has a record of supporting mass murderers — Assad, the Iranian regime, Hezbollah, Hamas.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

            Absolutely. He’s a political cretin, and he’s an anti-‘imperialist’ who’ll support any country so long as it’s pitted against the big bad west.

            But Pol Pot he is not. It’s a ridiculous comparison.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      France is not doing a hell of a lot better.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

        I can’t help wondering whether a lot of this “Me Me Me” unrest is fuelled by observing the antics of tRump’s support base.

        If so, the sooner the Orange Idiot falls, and the more grievous the humiliation he is subjected to, the better.

        cr

  14. Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Can a president be impeached for crimes he allegedly committed before he was president?

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Good question. Let’s ask Bart O’Kavanaugh.

    • Historian
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      You raise an interesting question and I don’t know if there is a definitive answer. I am guessing that if such a question should ever arise, it most likely would have to be settled by the Supreme Court, which could work in Trump’s favor. If forced to make a guess (and it is nothing more than this), I would say the answer is yes. I say this because much of the Mueller investigation is focused on whether Trump colluded with the Russians prior to the 2016 election. If Mueller finds conclusive evidence then it is highly likely that the Democrats would use this as at least as part of the rationale to impeach him. We also know with almost absolute certainly that Trump the candidate directed Michael Cohen to violate the campaign finance laws prior to the election. Again, this would be used by the Democrats to support impeachment.

      Whether his criminal business activities could be used to support impeachment, I don’t know.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        I think impeachment is a political issue within the sole province of the House of Representatives, so the answer is likely “yes.” (I think SCOTUS would abstain from reviewing the House’s decision under the “political question” doctrine.)

        In any event, I’m all but certain a president could be impeached for fuckery committed during his own election (which is the “core issue” being addressed by the Mueller investigation).

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        I really don’t see that question as a problem. If he committed crimes during the campaign, prior to election or taking office and the crimes caused election manipulation, they do not simply disregard that. Besides the obstruction continued massively after he took office. Just like Nixon, the cover up went on throughout. Trump continued to lie in public on the sex payoff scandal after he was in office. We now know that the lying continued on the Trump tower deal in Russia until June 2016 and the lying on this continued until Cohen admitted to this. Another thing about all of his lying – Russia knew he was lying and that means he was compromised. Most people do not consider this and how serious that is. Remember, the bank that was going to finance the Trump building project in Russia was under sanction by the U.S. So removing the sanctions, which Russia was after in a big way was also what Trump needed for his deal. His lie on all of this was just more compromise and it also shows Quid Pro Quo. Get the sanctions lifted and get your building.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted December 9, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

          Russia knew he was lying and that means he was compromised.

          We still don’t know what компромать Putin has against Trump. Or, for that matter, whether it is something that can be activated against other politicians who may come into the circles of power with Trump’s fall. As someone said up-thread, at least Putin has a long-term plan, and doesn’t have to bother with trivialities like elections. It would be irrational to believe that he doesn’t have plans in hand for when the current round of puppets are hanging in their strings.

          • Posted December 9, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

            We do know some things Putin had over Trump. He knew that Trump was desperately seeking a Trump Tower in Moscow deal. If the American public would have known that during his campaign, it would definitely have hurt Trump, especially if it was revealed after he had spent a lot of time saying that he had no deals in Russia and that he wanted to have a more positive relationship with Putin and Russia. It would have blown up his Russia motives and shown him to be a liar about things that matter and a money grubber.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

              Trump has been doing dodgy deals for however many decades. That’s nothing terribly embarrassing. Nope, I bet Putin has got something really good on Trump.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

      “Can a president be impeached for crimes he allegedly committed before he was president?”

      Bill Clinton would like to have a word with you about a condominium project in Arkansas called “Whitewater.”

  15. Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Surely Republicans must realize that if trump does not get the GOP nomination in 2020, he’ll run as an independent? A wounded trump is more dangerous to them than an impeached one.

    • Sastra
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      IMO Trump will not run again, impeached or not.
      1.) It’s too much work.
      2.) It’s too much criticism.

      Faced with a viable option of becoming a full-time rabble rouser and Man of Leisure, Trump is going to jump on it. Given his rather astonishing ability to declare victory from within the jaws of defeat, he’ll remain true to form. “I meant to do that!” and “That never happened!” He thinks he can rewrite the past. He’ll want to do that from an easier chair than the one in the White House.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        I think, if he had his druthers, Trump would walk away from the presidency right now. Aside from his Nuremberg rallies and state visits with autocrats, he doesn’t seem to be having much fun. And the presidency may not have proved to be as lucrative as he’d hoped. Only thing holding him back is his morbid lifelong paranoia about looking weak and being labeled a “loser.”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        I think, given his druthers, Trump would walk away right now. Aside from his Nuremberg rallies and state visits with autocrats, he doesn’t seem to be having much fun. And the presidency may not have proved quite as lucrative as he’d hoped. Only thing holding him back, I think, is his morbid lifelong fear of looking weak and being labeled a “loser.”

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        I suspect he didn’t even want to run in the first place because of the risk of losing and therefore being a loser. But Putin made him do it.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

        Yeah and his excuse will be that he didn’t like it, there are too many losers, the system is rigged, he wants to do more interesting business things. Etc.

  16. veroxitatis
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    No to both. What ought to be of real concern to the Democrats is to get a contender for 2020 that they can all get behind and who will have a real chance of the nomination. Giving Dump his just deserts can wait (although I do hope that death does not intervene!)

  17. Mikeyc
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    My predictions

    The Dems may be able to impeach him but Trump will not be removed from office as the Senate will not convict him. As a result, politics will get even nastier, the nation will become even more deeply divided and the evonomy will tail spin into a recession. Because it is the Democrats running the impeachment process they will mishandle it and the fall out as they always do and Trump will be a strong candidate in 2020 for re-election. He will likely lose but he will never face prosecution after leaving office.

    • Historian
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

      If Trump is defeated in the 2020 election, I think the chances of him being prosecuted once he leaves office are high. Assuming he can’t get away with pardoning himself, criminal prosecution on the federal level can’t be ruled out. I think that New York State could indict him for his many business crimes, which will become public knowledge by then. In desperation, Trump may resign the day before his term runs out with the expectation that Pence, president-for-a-day, would pardon him. He still would be open to state charges.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        The master weasel will weasel out of it somehow…

        “In desperation, Trump may resign the day before his term runs out with the expectation that Pence, president-for-a-day, would pardon him.”

        …this sounds like just the kind of jury-rigged solution he’ll hammer together if he’s in a pinch, and I can see everyone being so utterly sick of him and embarrassed about the whole affair that they just ignore it out of sheer gratitude that he’s finally going away.

  18. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    I’m reasonably confident the House of Representatives will vote articles of impeachment against Trump. I just don’t think it would be wise for the House to rush headlong into it. They should re-activate the dormant investigations into Russian interference in the intelligence and judiciary committees, but they should do it in conjunction with an investigation by the government oversight committee into all Trump’s other malfeasance — from his larding his cabinet with swamp-monsters to his sucking up to Mohammad Bone Saw. And they shouldn’t pull the impeachment trigger until Special Counsel Mueller has wrapped up his investigation and made his report.

    I voted “no opinion” on whether Trump will be convicted in the senate. The odds are against it, given the senate’s composition. But I think there’s still a not insignificant chance he’ll be removed (or resign in lieu of removal).

    I think most people fail to appreciate the depth of the low-grade enmity most Republican senators feel for Trump. The only reason they stick by him is fear of the wrath of his frenetic white-nationalist base — and, initially, the hope that they could use him to enact Obamacare repeal and fat-cat tax cuts, the Republican wet dreams since they took control of the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014. (They accomplished the latter, but have no chance with the former, or with any of their other legislative goals, now that the House is about to go over to Democratic control.)

    None of the Republicans in the current senate endorsed Trump during the 2016 Republican primaries, and many of them openly opposed him. Most of them were ready to dump him from the ticket after the release of the Access Hollywood hot-mic tape a month before the presidential election.

    Republican senators know that Trump’s been an arrant embarrassment to the nation since taking office, and that he poses an existential threat to the long-term well-being of the Republican Party. Hell, he’s not even a real Republican, at least not by the traditional standards most Republican senators were initially elected on. Thus, they have no personal or party loyalty to him. And, if they should ever come to see that they have more to fear politically from the mainstream American electorate than they do from Trump’s wingnut base, they will abandon Trump for a president Pence in a DC second.

    • Historian
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Your analysis is based on the premise that Trump’s cult, the base of the Republican Party, will desert him. So far that has not happened. If it should happen then I would agree with your conclusions.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

        I think Trump’s dead-end deplorable base constitutes about 25% of the electorate, or about 50-60% of the Republican Party faithful. If his popularity were to shrink to those numbers, Republican senators may well decided they have more to fear from the general electorate than they do from being primaried by a candidate from the wingnut Right. In which case, they would dump Trump with alacrity (although I agree with you, there won’t be more than a couple Republicans in the incoming senate, if that, who would vote to do so on principle or conscience, words they no longer appear even to comprehend).

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

          I think both of you are overlooking present history on this. Look at the 2018 election. The democrats have gained 40 or 41 seats. The vote favored the democrats by several million votes. It will likely be much worse in two years. The Senate will go democrat for sure. All of this is happening even if nothing is done to Trump. The only thing left for the republicans is what they are attempting to do in Wisconsin and Michigan and North Carolina. Deciding whether to hang with Trump or separately is hardly relevant.

          • Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

            Totally agree, though I would say “much better” instead of “much worse”.

  19. Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    We do have to wait for ALL the crimes to be revealed before talking about impeachment. Furthermore, I don’t think he should be impeached for “process crimes”, such as lying to the Special Prosecutor or Congress, or campaign finance violations. The crimes have to be serious enough that the majority of the people want Trump to go. Without that, it will be thought of as a coup and will result in chaos. In that case, it is far better to vote him out.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:50 am | Permalink

      “Process crimes” is a bullshit neologism just cooked up by conservative pundits. Obstruction of justice is a serious crime (for which many people in the US are doing serious prison time) and constituted the leading articles of impeachment against Clinton and Nixon.

      Don’t fall for this smokescreen!

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

        Amen on that. Lying by the way, to congress or to the FBI is a pretty serious crime. I think some people are going to feel the heat on this as soon as the democrats call them back into testify soon. Lying by Kirshner, Trump Jr. and several others is already a sure thing. Last I checked they are not presidents and can be indited for their crimes. Trump will likely want to go on a pardon spree and will just obstruct justice some more. His pile of obstruction is already several feet thick. He makes Nixon look like a beginner. Removing Comey, and then the Sessions business. Simply tweeting all the stuff out of his mouth about Mueller and the investigators and Sessions and Comey and on and on is Obstruction. When a president Makes public comments to influence it is obstruction.

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

        I’m sure “process crimes” is going to be used as an excuse by Trump supporters to portray them as not real crimes but I think it has some validity. First, they are real crimes from a legal point-of-view. I’m certainly not disputing that. However, they are going to be seen as lesser crimes because they would never have occurred if there hadn’t been a “witch hunt”. Also, they are laws meant only to enhance the authority of the investigators and prosecutors. They are the only victims. Finally, lying to the enemy to protect oneself is never going to be seen as a serious crime, at least by Trump voters.

        If, after we have Mueller’s final report, Trump is only accused of process crimes, certainly many people will consider him innocent of what the Special Counsel was created to go after. Many will say with some justification that the whole thing was a witch hunt. We know that paying off porn stars is never going to convince Trump supporters.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

          In his sentencing memorandum regarding Michael Cohen filed yesterday, Robert Mueller identified four areas in which Cohen’s cooperation has proved critical. The first involved Cohen’s “own contacts with Russian interests during the campaign and discussions with others in the course of making those contacts.”

          The second was providing the special counsel’s office with “useful information concerning certain discrete Russia-related matters core to its investigation that he obtained by virtue of his regular contacts with [Trump] Company executives during the campaign.” (emphasis added). What is “core” to the Mueller investigation is the Trump campaign’s cooperation with Russians in rigging the 2016 presidential election.

          I believe we will see criminal charges against people from Trump’s inner circle (and, eventually, articles of impeachment against Trump himself) alleging “collusion” — viz., a Trump-Russia conspiracy to unlawfully influence the 2016 election (in addition to obstruction of justice, perjury, and a host of other criminal charges).

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

            Yes, this is where Mueller is going. Cohen material provides some of the most important areas of Russian contact by Trump people during the campaign. I also think this Roger Stone/Wiki-leaks connection is important if it can be resolved.

  20. DrBrydon
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I voted “no opinion” and “no”. Impeachment is a political, not legal, process. If there isn’t much broader support for removing the President than there appears to be, it would be a huge mistake that would further and much more deeply divide the country. From what I’ve read, I think the Democratic leadership recognizes this. Much as I would like to someone else to be President, I don’t want the trumpenproletariat to be further embittered and empowered.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      How about the idea that impeachment is a duty of congress. I think the democrats recognize this as well.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        Exactly. If a report furnished to congress by the special counsel, and the investigation by the House’s own committees, both reveal serious criminal conduct by Donald Trump, I think the House will consider itself duty-bound to vote articles of impeachment.

        To do otherwise would be political cowardice.

        • Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

          I don’t think its the Dems who have to worry about being accused of political cowardice. They are right not to impeach unless they sense that the public and the Senate would convict. To attempt to impeach and lose would waste a lot of time and energy that would be better spent on real legislation, even if the Senate and Trump veto it. It would also label the Dems as solely Anti-Trump. I might change my opinion of Mueller’s report is particularly scathing and the GOP still want to ignore it. Still, it would be unwise if the majority of the public weren’t behind it.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

            If all the Dems end up with is the campaign-finance violation alleged by the Southern District of NY, I wouldn’t fault them for demurring.

            But if Mueller delivers the goods, on collusion and/or obstruction, the Democrats will go forward with articles of impeachment, and they have the votes in the House to pass it. Let the senate do whatever the senate may. If the goods are there, I see no downside to putting Trump on trial and making the Republican senators vote to keep him in office notwithstanding.

  21. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    I’ve felt from the start that no matter what happens, whether he’s indicted or not, there’s no way Trump will end up in prison. I don’t believe this on any particularly rational grounds and I can see the reasons why people think he’ll end up in an orange suit, but the one defining characteristic of his life is his complete inability to accept responsibility for anything that goes wrong. He is simply a world-class, Jedi-master-level weasel. He will weasel out of it in the end, somehow.

    Aside from which, I’m beginning to believe that he has the beginnings of a serious neurological degenerative disease, the kind of disease that would make it difficult for anyone to prosecute him, both for legal and political reasons. I hope he doesn’t, because I wouldn’t wish something that awful on anyone, but I can see his presidency and the charges that may eventually be made against him simply fizzling out when it’s discovered that he has dementia. No Democrat would go after a guy with a degenerative disease and I don’t know whether a court would be able to level the full charges against him if he can plead diminished responsibility and if he can claim he’s been suffering from it since before the start of his campaign.

    I’m not pulling this diagnosis out of a hat for spite, or to mock his intellect: I genuinely think there’s something wrong with him. Too many people close to him have said the same thing, and he’s made too many mistakes characteristic of someone in the early stages of such a disease. I think it’s possible that serious illness may end up curtailing his presidency and getting him off the hook, albeit in a f—ing awful way.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      The Justice Department says that a sitting president should not be indicted, but what about after Trump leaves office? Perhaps no one will want to prosecute crimes that relate to his presidency but there are bound to be all kinds of other crimes that will be revealed by the intense scrutiny he is getting. I suspect that Republicans will want to ignore them but they don’t control all the jurisdictions under which these crimes fall.

      There’s a story going around that Trump really didn’t think he would be elected so his focus was on making money the same way he has all his life. He realized when he won that it would bring such scrutiny but he had no choice but to endure it. I suspect he killed a lot of deals once he knew he was going to be president. Of course, he will spin this as a good thing but it won’t protect him.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        I just get the feeling he’ll wriggle out of it. I think he’ll spin it politically, and that he’ll still have sufficient leverage with a big chunk of Americans, even after he’s gone, that prosecutors will have to tread carefully. It’ll be akin to the OJ trial in terms of politicisation.

        If he leaves after four years he’ll magic up some new reason why he was cheated of a second term, and he’ll push it like nothing else; his Twitter account isn’t going to go away just because he’s not POTUS. Prosecuting him after he’s left might end up being even more politically fraught than prosecuting him before he’s left.

        If he leaves after eight years, then he’ll have presumably made it through Mueller unscathed.

        If he leaves because of illness the possibility of prosecution becomes even more distant.

        I just can’t see Trump ever being made to face up to his crimes. It’s in his make-up – his first thought in a crisis is ‘who can I shiv in the back on the way to the exit?’. This is a guy who has a lifelong history of screwing people over and lying flatout to customers, clients, partners, the government, the IRS; when a bank called in a nine figure loan in the noughties he just refused to pay it. He said it was the bank’s fault because they’d caused the financial crash and then he tied them up in legal objections for so long they just gave up. He was blacklisted by pretty much every bank in the western world, so he just started borrowing from Russian banks and Saudi banks.
        What was the result of three decades of dodgy financial schemes, bankruptcies, con-jobs, shitty products and bad loans? He became president. Someone who’s that good at walking free of trouble is going to be very tricky to pin down.

        He has no moral guidelines to hem him in and narrow down the possible escape routes. He’ll do anything to get out of facing justice, and people like that, who’ve spent their lives getting away with things, tend to be very good at it.

        • Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          I don’t see any way Trump will win in 2020 unless he’s able to pull off some kind of massive election fraud. Now that real crimes have come to light, though relatively minor, I really don’t see how we will get the votes. The magic he was supposed to pull off on the economy is already being shown to be a fraud, even to Republicans. Same for his trade wars and for his foreign policy. Even if there were a 9/11-style event, I can’t see anyone rallying around Trump. He’s just not a uniter.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

            I agree. I think it’s beginning to come apart. People are just utterly sick of him, and the magical appeal of his most potent weapon, ie. his ability to annoy liberals, is beginning to wear off. Liberals aren’t as outraged by him anymore, so much as bored and disgusted, and since pwning libs is his USP the fervency of his support is beginning to waver.
            I’ve said all along that this was a president who was elected to spite liberals. Sure there were other reasons, but mainly Trump supporters just wanted to piss us off. Once that’s gone there really isn’t anything left.

            • Nicolaas Stempels
              Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:33 am | Permalink

              I think there is more to it tha\n just spiting ‘Libtars’, although that is certainly part of it. I think he’s seen as a kind of messianic figure that will save ‘white’ America from the brown hordes, among the less educated white voters (the core of his following).
              I think his systematically employing -and underpaying- illegal immigrants might, in the end, weigh heavier than any ‘Obstruction of Justice’ charge. He is betraying his hard core constituents there.

              • Saul Sorrell-Till
                Posted December 9, 2018 at 6:06 am | Permalink

                Did any of his voters really believe that they were going to ‘get their country back?’. That they would see America washed clean of dirty skin colours? Maybe they did. I don’t think they could have possibly believed that, I think they just liked that he promised it, or something like it.
                But the animating principle of his supporters, the thing that inspires tribal devotion towards him, is his ability to piss off liberals. Without that he’s just a cheap con-artist and pseudo-billionaire who lies all the time.

                They love him because he so thoroughly riles the people they resent most: educated people, liberals, ‘elites’, uppity minorities. Once the outrage value of his schtick wears off, and it’s beginning to(the capacity to outrage people is subject to the law of diminishing returns), they’ll drop him. They’ll do it quietly, and they’ll pretend they were never that keen on him, but they will drop him.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

            That’s for sure. He hasn’t tried, for a single second, to expand his support. The idea of him trying to unite Americans in the face of a serious crisis is absurd. You had the natural disaster in Puerto Rico, a brilliant opportunity to go over there, take it seriously, get as many good photo ops as possible and get some really great press coverage of him helping poor minorities in their hour of need.

            He thought it’d be better to get into an argument with the Puerto Rican authorities about the number of corpses they’d had to deal with.

        • Posted December 8, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

          I disagree. Prosecuting him now is a political act. Once he’s left office it will not be. It will just be state and federal prosecutors going after a crook.

        • Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

          Maybe Russia will offer him asylum.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 9, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

            9mm asylum. Single round.
            Putin may have pretty dubious taste in horse-riding attire, but even he’s not going to want to spend more time in the same country as Trump than necessary.
            OTOH … I could see Trump getting a short lesson in “how the other half live.” That other half being front-line soldiers in Syria.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

      I agree that he has health problems. I definitely believe he shows symptoms if the beginnings of dementia. There are several types and dob’t know which type he has, but it is there and getting worse.
      Regan has it and showed symptoms while he was still in office. It can take years to fully develop.
      Trump’s father died from it and it runs in families.

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        My guess, based on observing him for years on TV and on his history revealed more recently, he still has the personality and behavior he’s always had. He is personable in one-on-one situations but a brutal bully otherwise. He has lied and cheated all his life and probably committed all kinds of white-collar crimes. He has declined due to age, of course, but in a completely normal way. If he doesn’t remember something, it’s usually because he doesn’t care about it.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          I don’t know. The contrast between his early nineties persona and his persona now is pretty alarming.

          Too many people in his orbit have expressed concern about his mental state. They’ve mentioned how often he repeats the same story – word for word – that he’d told them ten minutes beforehand. He forgets why he’s in a room; he’s done it on camera. He forgets that he’s just introduced someone a few seconds earlier, and so he introduces them again. I used to think these things were just idiotic and comical, but I’m not so sure anymore.

          • Claudia Baker
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            “a world-class, Jedi-master-level weasel”

            Best description of Trump that I have heard thus far.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:26 am | Permalink

        Although I agree he shows signs that would indicate early Alzheimers, he has such personality disorders (eg. narcissistic PD), that it becomes very difficult to be positive. I mean, with Mr Reagan it was obvious, since the latter was a more or less ‘normal’ person, not so Mr Trump.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      I still see Trump leaving office saying he is doing so for family reasons or some such. He’d never admit an illness as that would make him look weak to someone like him. But if things get too hot, he will leave this way.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I think so too – there’d have to be some euphemistic explanation to cover up the fact that he’s completely fucking gaga. It’d be in a lot of people’s interests to cover it up too.

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

        He’ll do *anything* to avoid jail time. He knows that the rich and famous can still be sent to jail (e.g. his friend Conrad Black). That’s what he is most afraid of.

      • rickflick
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think he will willingly leave office(except perhaps on a stretcher). He’ll fight any impeachment process to the bitter end. Never admit defeat.
        If he’s voted out, he’ll leave under protest demanding a recount, even if he lost by 15%. Remember all those people at his inauguration?

  22. Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    Prof. Coyne, thank you for this post on behalf of many of your readers!

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

      +1

  23. Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I voted no and no for s number if reasons, all of which have been stated above in several comments.

    I thought Pence made a very good speech at one of the events to honor Bush. That convinced me he could be elected.

    I have not heard of any Democratic candidate names so far that I would predict would win.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      I think Pence is able to give a good speech and knows politics but he doesn’t have the personality to be elected President. He’s not a man people want to share a beer with. His position with women is also a negative.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        His position with women is negative but Republican women don’t care. They are the go along gala. They support status who of the powerful.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          Gals not Gala but I’m sure a gala could be made of them.

        • Mark R.
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

          Most Republican women are religious women and so being are committed to patriarchy and staying “in their place”.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 6:24 pm | Permalink

            And the ones who aren’t — the college-educated suburbanites who formed a stronghold for the old GOP — abandoned the Republican Party in droves during the recent midterms.

            Those women are done voting for Trump.

            • Mark R.
              Posted December 8, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

              Indeed.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      His pathetic, bootlicking toadyism towards Trump won’t be easily forgotten. I think that will be a big issue with a lot of people.

      • Harrison
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        I think simple association will be enough to dim his prospects. And I think he’s probably enough of a Party man to recognize this and not even run. Or if he does, to run knowing that any Republican in 2020 is likely dead in the water and it might as well be him, buying them a few more years to find someone untainted by the present scandal.

        • Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

          I think he’ll run in 2020 unless he’s impeached before or suffers some serious health setback. To not run would be to admit defeat, something he never does.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted December 9, 2018 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

            I wonder if Trump could share a ticket with Cthulhu in 2020. I could almost stomach popcorn to watch the fights over who gets to be “the lesser of two evils”.

            • Posted December 9, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

              I don’t know the other guy but I feel confident that Trump is the greater evil. Just watch this:

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

          He unwisely assumed that he could be part of this administration but not part of it at the same time. He’s wrong; I think of one thing when I hear his name, and that’s the time Trump removed his water bottle from the desk and Pence did exactly the same thing a few seconds later. That’s what jumps to mind; his creepy, protracted single-white-female act in the White House.
          He’s placed himself between two stools. Kowtowing to the president on every issue and placating his base, while simultaneously trying to distance himself from the corruption and ineptitude all around him. It’s an impossible position IMO.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      Pence was on his way to losing his bid for re-election as Indiana’s governor when he was tapped to be Trump’s VP.

      When it comes to speechifying, Pence may come off like Demosthenes in comparison to Trump, but he doesn’t have great overall retail campaigning skills. And he’d be fatally tainted by his association with Trump’s corruption, and by the indelible images of his own simpering servility in Trump’s presence.

  24. Taz
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s arrogance may be his downfall. He didn’t hide his tracks well because he thinks he’s untouchable by the common rabble. He’s deluded enough to believe he will always win, no matter what.

  25. Ray Moody
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Our Constitution has another provision worth considering:

    U.S. Constitution – Article 2 Section 3

    He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed, and shall Commission all the Officers of the United States.

    “…take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”?

    Would obstruction of justice apply?

    Would it be interesting to see this article applied for the first time in US history?

    Ray

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      “Abuse of power” was among the grounds cited in the articles of impeachment against both Nixon and Clinton.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

      Failure to execute the laws I believe was used against Nixon. Failure to take care that the laws be faithfully carried out is impeachable offense.
      Obstruction of justice constitutes such a failure.

  26. Jon Gallant
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    This was indeed an interesting set of comments, but one point has been neglected so far. There are some individuals for whom dementia constitutes an improvement. We may be about to witness an example.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      The King and the Fool have become as one.

    • Mark R.
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

      Strangely enough, I had a friend whose dad was a real asshole: loud, arrogant, obnoxious, angry. Then, in his seventies, he had a severe stroke. Afterwards, he was a humble silent man who was friendly and started listening to Pink Floyd…he especially liked Atom Heart Mother. Not to say that a stroke and dementia are the same thing, but sometimes bad brain injuries can produce an improved personality.

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the story and good tip. I’m definitely going to listen to more Pink Floyd.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 9, 2018 at 5:31 am | Permalink

          Since my doctor suggested I take up walking 45 minutes a day, I usually walk with phones on listening to – Pink Floyd.

          Make of that what you will… 😉

          cr

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 9, 2018 at 5:54 am | Permalink

            (Though in current context I refuse to believe that tRump should be permitted to listen to Pink Floyd. It’s infinitely too good for him. I wish him Gangnam Style on infinite loop…)

            cr

            • Posted December 9, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

              I love “Gangnam Style” but it has to be with the video.

              • Mark R.
                Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, that cracks me up.

  27. veroxitatis
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    “general feeling that there should be no criminal prosecution of a sitting president”.

    I expect that Jerry has carefully chosen the word “should” rather than “can”. There seems to be much dispute as to whether a prosecution would be legally permissible. I may say that I do not see any obstacle to prosecution. The monarch cannot be prosecuted in the UK Courts for the reason that She is the Fount of Justice and all prosecutions run in Her name (in Scotland, in name of Her Advocate, the Lord Advocate) But nothing equating to that principle is applicable in the States. The President is, in no sense, the fount of justice: the People are, and prosecutions run in name of the People. Indeed, can it not be said that a president is as much a citizen as any other American. Thus he or she might be said to fall within the terms of Lord Denning’s dictum in Gouriet v Union of Post Office Workers and Others (1977)”To every subject in this land, no matter how powerful, I would use the words of Thomas Fuller from over 300 years ago, “Be ye (n)ever so high the law is above you””.
    So much for what may or may not be the substantive law, the more important question is perhaps whether the “general feeling” alluded to is what will now determine the matter. Does anyone know the history of how this “feeling” may have come about?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

      “The President is, in no sense, the fount of justice: the People are, and prosecutions run in name of the People.”

      That is inherent in the very notion of a “Republic.” It is a venerable principle of American law that “no man is above the law.”

      Even if a president cannot be criminally indicted while in office (an as-yet unresolved issue of US law), he or she can undoubtedly be made to face criminal charges afterward.

      • veroxitatis
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

        Indeed Ken. Trump would certainly be unable to avail himself of the Answer made by Charles I to the charge as read out to him at the first sitting of Bradshaw’s Court — “I would know by what power I am called hither. I would know by what authority, I mean lawful.”

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

          Not that that’s anything to lose your head over, care of the Rump Parliament. 🙂

  28. Curt Nelson
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    I think Mueller will lay out the evidence for Trump that he has against him and his family members and offer to let it all go if he resigns office.

    • Taz
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

      I doubt Mueller has that authority.

  29. Mark R.
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    I recently read this and thought it relevant here. Insert “Trump” for Nixon.

    The tragedy of all this is that George McGovern, for all his mistakes and all his imprecise talk about “new politics” and “honesty in government” is one of the few men who’ve run for president of the United States in this century who really understands what a fantastic monument to all the best instincts of the human race this country might have been, if we could have kept it out of the hands of greedy little hustlers like Richard Nixon. McGovern made some stupid mistakes, but in the context they seem almost frivolous compared to the things Richard Nixon does every day of his life, on purpose, as a matter of policy and a perfect expression of everything he stands for. Jesus! Where will it end? How low do you have to stoop in this country to be president?

    -Hunter S. Thompson, September 1972

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

      If memory serves, that’s from the coda he wrote to Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail ’72 at the Seal Rock Inn a few months after the 1972 election.

      For all of his rhapsodizing over booze and drugs and gun play, Hunter was a patriot and a moralist.

      I miss him still.

      • Mark R.
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

        You’re correct…you know the Doctor well. It also appears in the compilation The Great Shark Hunt; that’s where I read it a couple days ago.

        I also miss him. His political writings and insights were prescient and profound. I doubt he would have been surprised by Trump’s ascension, and I doubt there’s anyone alive today that could critique the current POTUS (or the GOP for that matter) as well as HST could have. sniffle.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 8, 2018 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

          I knew Hunter a little bit in Key West in the late ’70s and early ’80s, while he was lying low in the subtropics around the time of the breakup of his marriage with Sandy. He used to come into the restaurant where I was tending bar, and we’d talk a little politics and literature on occasion. Hunter was one of those autodidacts who had read everything.

          • Mark R.
            Posted December 8, 2018 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

            Lucky you to have met and spoken to the man. Wild! One thing successful autodidacts have in common: trap-door memories, good reading skills and ruthless drive. What makes HST an enigma is his ability to remember and stay “coherent” in the chaos of his wild behavior and addictions that encompass decades.

            As an aside, I think you’d make the perfect bartender. I only know you through written words, but I translate that to your bartender persona: a man of the people, one who engages in witty banter, incisive insight, and some patronizing Latin phrases that his customers nod at and smile at…feigning their comprehension. I’d be back for another drink.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted December 9, 2018 at 12:13 am | Permalink

              Hey, that’s not fair — sometimes I toss in patronizing French phrases, too. 🙂

              • Mark R.
                Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

                Hahahaha!

  30. YF
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I believe what we’re currently seeing is only a small part of Mueller’s hand. We can expect many more big shoes to drop along with incontrovertible evidence of conspiracy, fraud, and obstruction that not even the Trumpiest of the Repugs can dismiss. Things are only just starting to get interesting..

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

      I agree. The fact that they are handing out plea deals left and right means they aren’t at all done.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 9, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

        There is a definite air of the blunting of gelding knives and the notching of flensing knives. If it wasn’t for the example of the Assyrians, I’d say things could get Mediæval when the downfall comes.

  31. Jim Nickelson
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Putin has done a masterful job of sowing discord in America. No matter what happens Russia wins with an America that’s weaker and more divided, meanwhile the GOP is pouring gasoline on the fire, further weakening American politics and democracy.

    I don’t believe Trump will ever see a prison, he’ll escape to Russia where Putin will drain him dry of funds and keep him like a pet monkey.

    • Jon Gallant
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

      I have to repeat that Vladimir Vladimirovich may have outsmarted himself. First, Trump is personally responsible for the revival of the Democratic Party. Alternatively, it is not beyond possibility that Trump will actually mellow as his dementia proceeds, as with the stroke case mentioned by Mark R. above.

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

        Mellow? That is probably the only thing his base won’t tolerate- weakness.

      • Posted December 11, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        In some versions of the story, Putin doesn’t really care if the Democrats are in power or not – he only cares about the chaos.

  32. Steve Gerrard
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    My bet is that Trump resigns, with a sweeping pardon lined up, to avoid the airing of all his dirty laundry. At some point it will be his best option, as it is more dignified than being a national spectacle. There is no better outcome for him. Pence will step in, doing just as well or better for GOP purposes.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

      +1

    • Harrison
      Posted December 8, 2018 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

      Some of his crimes will not be pardonable, and taking a pardon inherently waives one’s fifth amendment rights against self-incrimination, because accepting a pardon intrinsically admits that a crime happened. So if anyone wanted to subpoena private citizen Trump for questioning there’d be nothing he could do to stop them airing said laundry.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, same is true for Manafort, DJT Jr., J-Kush or anybody else Trump should pardon.

      • Posted December 8, 2018 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

        All the federal crimes should be pardonable.
        Doubt that the pardon will affect his testimony in state courts.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 9, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      At some point it will be his best option, as it is more dignified than being a national spectacle.

      Are these considerations that enter into his attention, in the slightest?

  33. rickflick
    Posted December 8, 2018 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    It’s a bit odd to think Clinton was impeached based primarily on sexual indiscretions. Compared to tRump that sounds an extraordinarily mild weakness. The window of tolerance has shifted, drifted, and become vast.

    • Posted December 8, 2018 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      Failure to testify honestly about the indiscretions.

      As for the tolerance, the special counsel report has not been released yet. We will not know until then what we are being asked to tolerate. By my count all the democrats and twenty republicans in the senate will have to decide whether whatever is in the report is outside the window of the tolerance to remove him from office.

      • rickflick
        Posted December 8, 2018 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        A two-thirds vote (67 senators) was required to remove Clinton from office. 50 senators voted to remove Clinton on the obstruction of justice charge and 45 voted to remove him on the perjury charge; no member of his own Democratic Party voted guilty on either charge.

  34. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted December 9, 2018 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    I voted no on both questions. More guesses than informed knowledge. Of course it depends how damaging Mueller’s findings will be. But that is a big if. And even more, whether Mueller’s findings will become public, which is not a given (is it?).
    My reason for voting no to the first question is that it would be more expedient for the Democrats to have a wounded, unhinged, ineffective, ‘lame duck’ Mr Trump as president than a sly and less incompetent Mr Pence (at the time of Mr Trump’s choice of VP, I estimated it to be a kind if ‘life-insurance’).
    Only if it becomes clear that Mr Trump’s base defects him in significant numbers I see impeachment coming. His supporters may only be 25% of the electorate, but they wield disproportionate power in low population rural states, that count as heavily as high population states in the Senate.
    I think the Democrats would be wise not to impeach anytime soon, for at least as long as a 2/3rds majority in the Senate is not on the books.
    In that context, I think it might be wiser for the Democrats to strengthen laws and punishments for those that employ illegal immigrants, instead of impeaching, although I’m not 100% sure it would work.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 9, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      In that context, I think it might be wiser for the Democrats to strengthen laws and punishments for those that employ illegal immigrants

      That won’t happen, because it would involve the trial and conviction of significant numbers of relatively rich, powerful, influential people.

  35. Greg Z.
    Posted December 9, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    I don’t think Trump will be impeached because Democrats always bring a spork to a gun fight. If Trump is impeached, he won’t be removed from office because the Senate has demonstrated there is nothing too low for them. I do think Mike Pence will be caught up in the shenanigans and we might be seeing President Pelosi if Trump departs.

  36. Robert Van Orden
    Posted December 9, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    What stands between Trump and impeachment are his ‘dedicated’ followers.

    Could be as high as 1 in 3 Americans are impervious to any anti-Trump argument or evidence. I’m optimistic, however, my amateur’s political scientist’s guess is that number is probably closer to 1 in 5 and the rest have hitherto been in it for the federal judges and the tax deduction.

    If his approval rating is like 25%, no impeachment but if it drops below 20% maybe.

    Of possible outcomes over the next two years, the one I’m hoping for is a Biden/Obama ticket (yes, reverse the ticket) that can run up the score on Trump. I can dream, can’t I!

    • Harrison
      Posted December 9, 2018 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

      Unfortunately a stipulation of the VP slot is that you have to be eligible for the Presidency itself, which Obama, having served two full terms already, no longer is.

      • Robert Van Orden
        Posted December 11, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        Thank you for that clarification.

        I’m still interested in a Biden run, especially if it ‘ties back’ to the Obama Administration.

        That is, if voters relate Biden to Obama, I view that as a good thing.

        BTW, if the Dems did try to circumvent the law by putting Obama on the ticket, well, I guess that would be wrong. Maybe.

        Lastly, I’m posting less then 3.5 days after the original post and I had to scroll back through many articles from The Almighty Ceiling Cat. How does he do it?

        • rickflick
          Posted December 11, 2018 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

          Jerry’s little helpers are all kittens.

  37. Posted December 9, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Just watched this morning’s “Fareed Zakaria GPS” on CNN. He interviewed Michael Lewis, author of “The Fifth Risk”, about how the Trump administration has seriously damaged, and continues to damage, our government’s departments like Agriculture, Energy, etc. He describes how Trump fired the people Chris Christie hired to help with the transition and how he’s put ridiculous people in charge of these departments who don’t even know what they do. While it was a really interesting interview, it also leaves one with an incredible sense of sadness. If only we could impeach Trump on this.

    • Posted December 9, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

      • rickflick
        Posted December 11, 2018 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Paul. The Zakaria clip provides proof that it’s not just us freaks who are completely revolted by our current government. The sooner this ends, the sooner we get back to realism.

    • Posted December 11, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      the “faithfully execute” clause *might* be taken that way.

      • Posted December 11, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        Yes, but that’s a big “might” but his mistreatment of government might be part of a larger case.

    • Diane G
      Posted December 13, 2018 at 3:51 am | Permalink

      So depressing!

  38. Posted December 9, 2018 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Is it possible to get a Democratic candidate born AFTER 1950? Note the three mentioned right up front: “Many names are already being mentioned, including Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, and Joe Biden).” Who would take office at the age of 71, 79, and 78. And Clinton talking about running again (73). Aren’t there any Democrats we can find that aren’t nursing home-ready available the job? O’Rourke and Booker might be a couple.

    Then there’s the House leadership, all in their late 70’s. No wonder nobody can relate to the kids these days (except Sanders it seems). It seems like we’ve got too many politicians holding on to their power until they are dead with little to no willingness to pass the torch and groom some successors.

  39. Posted December 9, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    It all sounds a bit suspicious to me. I find it hard to believe that there are two women on the planet who would have an affair with Donald, much less admit to it.


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