Richard Nixon was about to get impeached, but he didn’t resign over that. Nixon resigned when Sen. Barry Goldwater visited him and delivered the bad news: there were only “12 to 15” senators holding their ground for the president. It’s funny that Politico retold this story in 2007 in reference to George W. Bush, as if that president’s Mars was anything compared to Trump’s Uranus.
More on Nixon: It was Republicans who uncovered the “smoking gun” that did him in. If Trump were to go, it would have to be Republicans who played Brutus to his Julius Caesar. Democrats, led by the blundering Rep. Adam Schiff, have cut themselves off at the pass by overplaying their hand.
Schiff knew about the whistleblower months before there was a whistleblower, because that person went to his staff directly for advice. To me, that’s an abuse of his office. But it’s good news for Trump.
Now, if Democrats move from holding an “inquiry” to actual articles of impeachment, when due process requirements kick in, the White House lawyers will have a field day in discovery. I also think the Justice Department will take an intense interest in what’s uncovered. The whistleblower may end up another Reality Winner, a leaker who just happened to make the leak legal, after the fact.
That doesn’t change the fact that it’s wrong for President Trump to go fishing off the company pier for dirt on political rivals. This is America and politicians are not supposed to be doing such things. Of course, it’s done, but Trump is not one for subtlety. His modus operandi is to be very public about his worst impulses, such that they are seen as badges of honor.
In the maw of the most serious scandal of Trump’s maelstrom 986 days in office, his approval rating has ticked up to 49 percent, the highest mark of 2019, according to the latest Hill-HarrisX poll. The public likes it when Trump comes out punching.
Trump is not going anywhere. There’s no way Trump is going to go on his own. There’s no way the Democrats are taking him out.
That leaves Republicans. In the Senate, four Republicans have announced retirements or resignations: Sens. Johnny Isakson (GA), Lamar Alexander (TN), Mike Enzi (WY), and Pat Roberts (KS). (Source: Ballotpedia)
In the House, 17 Republicans have announced retirements or are leaving to run for another office. Most of these would stand by Trump, but some might stand up for telling him the truth. It’s now obvious Jeff Flake left too early if he wanted to really have an impact. But are there others in the wings who would play Goldwater’s role in giving Trump the “bad news?”
It would take a whole lot more than the current whistleblower Keurig impeachment–prepackaged and ready to brew–to move things along. Republicans are watching the public and the way Trump plays on “civil war” themes. But understand this: Democrats don’t need to convince the public of Trump’s impeachable conduct. They only need to convince enough Republicans who are willing to oust him.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think impeachment is the way. What Trump did is wrong but it’s political. Democrats have used political embarrassment to damage every Republican president since before Reagan. They’ve dug up dirt and hung scandal on every administration. Listening to them, you’d think Trump is Hitler V (Nixon, Reagan, Bush 41, Bush 43 occupying the first four positions).
If Trump makes it to the ballot box in 2020, he will have more baggage hanging on him than any president since Nixon. If this continues to notch up his approval rating, I think that says more about the level of American frustration with being force-fed the left’s worldview than anyone believed was there. But what if Trump’s political wounds are in fact mortal? Who will go to Caesar and ask him to hand over the imperium?
The Nixon comparison may be very apropos right now, because if there is a smoking gun, Republicans are going to have to find it. The question is: Will they look?