I don’t think it’s too early to start envisioning the last days of Donald Trump’s presidency. The Senate Republicans are morally depraved and gutless, but even they must have some limit. In the following scene, the president is interviewing America’s last available lawyers as he desperately seeks to avoid being removed from office and financially ruined:
Victoria Toensing: Hey, quit your blubberin’. When I get through with this baby you won’t even recognize it.
Joseph diGenova: Trump, you can’t spend your whole life worrying about your mistakes! You f***ed up. You trusted Giuliani! Hey, make the best of it! Maybe we can help.
Trump: [crying] That’s easy for you to say! What am I going to tell Fred?!
Joseph diGenova: Your father? He’s dead, but I’ll tell you what. I’ll swear you were doing a great job taking care of his company, but you parked it out back last night and this morning, it was gone. Victoria takes care of the wreck. We report it to the police. The insurance company buys you a new company.
Trump: Will that work?
Joseph diGenova: Hey, it’s gotta work better than the truth.
Sen. Lindsey Graham: My advice to you is to start drinking heavily.
In all seriousness, things took a turn yesterday when Mick Mulvaney concocted the worst cover story in the history of mankind. As I wrote for my subscribers, it went something like this:
Somehow, the president has been convinced that CrowdStrike is a Ukrainian company, founded by a Ukrainian, financed by a different rich Ukrainian and that they have secretly shipped a solitary server to Ukraine that holds evidence that Ukraine was responsible for hacking the DNC.
None of this is true, but this did not prevent Trump from putting his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, in charge of an effort to prove that these things are true. To accomplish this, Giuliani, who is not a government employee and holds no security clearance, was put in charge of America’s foreign policy in Ukraine. State Department employees were forced to do his bidding and an esteemed ambassador was defamed and then unceremoniously recalled from Kiev because she wasn’t a team-player.
This is supposed to be a defense for the president. It’s all okay because it wasn’t about winning the 2020 election.
Except, that’s also a lie.
That was the worst of Mulvaney’s explanation, but he went further by admitting that Trump held up military aid to Ukraine in an effort to extort the new administration in Kiev. People were kind of stunned that Mulvaney copped to the most egregious and highest of the crimes and misdemeanors that have been alleged, but the president initially said he was happy with his chief of staff’s comments. Now he is privately saying otherwise. As for Mulvaney, he had to try to put the toothpaste back in the tube, but we all know how that works out in the end.
Mike Allen at Axios characterized matters rather succinctly:
The Trump administration is testing a novel strategy for dealing with controversy and possible illegalities: Pretend you have nothing to hide by blurting it out loud.
President Trump and his aides and allies seem to think that by being unapologetic and admitting things that would have touched off blazing scandals just a few years ago, they can move the goalposts of what’s acceptable to Republicans and the public.
I’ve mentioned it a few times before but America elected a Birther as president. Everything we’re seeing flows from that. Former Republican strategist Rick Wilson wrote a book called Everything Trump Touches Dies, and it’s absolutely true. Trump is currently trying to revive his Doral resort which has seen a steep decline in sales by having it host next year’s G-7 conference. This is another in a growing list of slam-dunk impeachable offenses.
Trump has tried telling us in various ways that the car isn’t wrecked, but he’ll never be able to produce an undamaged car to prove it. Mulvaney marched an alternative strategy but it didn’t help.
“Did [Trump] also mention to me in the past the corruption related to the DNC server?” he said. “Absolutely, no question about that. But that’s it, and that’s why we held up the money.”
The reference to the hacked Democratic National Committee’s email server elevated a Trump-backed conspiracy theory that Ukraine was involved in election interference in 2016, something U.S. intelligence officials have repeatedly attributed to Russia.
In admitting that Trump had linked politics with his Ukraine policy, Mulvaney said that critics were simply overreacting.
“I have news for everybody: Get over it,” he said. “There is going to be political influence in foreign policy.”
In other words, it’s our own fault for loaning the country to Trump and if we don’t like seeing its quarter-panels smashed, we can go screw ourselves.
There’s no way this should be allowed to continue. As retired Admiral William McRaven writes in the New York Times, “it is time for a new person in the Oval Office — Republican, Democrat or independent — the sooner, the better. The fate of our Republic depends upon it.”