Donald Trump has been away on his fantasy camp foreign tour, during which he has danced with swords, laid hands on a mysterious glowing orb and managed to make a visit to Israel’s Holocaust Memorial as memorable as a high school reunion (“IT IS A GREAT HONOR TO BE HERE WITH ALL OF MY FRIENDS — SO AMAZING & WILL NEVER FORGET!”).
But while Trump is away the world doesn’t stop and neither do the controversies concerning Trump and Russia. Michael Flynn refuses to submit subpoenaed documents and pleads the fifth. It came out that Trump referred to James Comey as a “nut job” to his Russian guests. Former CIA Director John Brennan testified that he was concerned over Trump’s connections with Russia. And if that weren’t enough, Trump reportedly asked DNI Dan Coats and NSA Chief Admiral Mike Rogers to deny evidence of Russian collusion.
SO, it’s no surpise that some people are talking impeachment, but I think we are quite a long way from that. Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight has a nice article about this subject. Trump may be a shitty human being and he and his administration, with a few exceptions, may be shady as hell, but there is not yet enough against him to convince a Republican-led House and Senate to turn against one of their own. If there will be any impeaching going on, I’m thinking that it’s going to be in the latter part of Trump’s term, after the Republicans have decided that they’ve had enough of Trump and decide to dump him before the 2020 elections.
Also, the investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia, led by special counsel Robert Mueller, is going to take a while. These things are never quick, and I have the feeling that there may be no “smoking gun.” But there may be enough embarrassing stuff revealed to make Trump want to resign a la Nixon to avoid impeachment. And then guess what: I would bet that then-President Pence will grant Trump a pardon, a la Gerald Ford.
I might be a tad cynical, but I have the feeling that Trump, however crooked he is, or however much he screws things up, will emerge from this without too much personal damage. You gotta hand it to him, I guess. He’s done and said everything a candidate is not supposed to do or say, but he still won the election. Of course, that may have been with Russia’s help.
I think it’s too early to talk impeachment. But realistically, here are some things that I think we can experience:
- A number of Trump’s inner-circle (like Michael Flynn) may be prosecuted.
- The Trump administration’s crazier proposals with be met with resistance and, ultimately, fail to be realized.
- Republicans will realize that Trump is toxic and begin to distance themselves from him.
- Trump’s term will end, not with a bang, but a whimper.
I think those are realistic outcomes. But then what do I know? I didn’t really think we were going to invade Iraq in 2004 and I never thought that Trump would win in 2016.