There’s a lot of noise out there this morning, but let’s cut to the chase: There’s a clear case of obstruction of justice on the table. Trump tried to convince his Attorney General not to recuse himself; he fired James Comey; he fired Sally Yates; he behaved inappropriately with Andrew McCabe and tried to have Christopher Wray fire McCabe; and he attempted to have Bob Mueller fired. What the hell else do you need to prove obstruction?
Again, none of this ultimately matters unless Republicans in Congress stop protecting the President (as indicting a sitting President is still an open legal question and an unlikely course for Mueller, who is more likely to present his findings to Congress). Are the numbers for impeachment there? Will the numbers for impeachment be there? Given the number of Republicans engaged in efforts to discredit Bob Mueller and his investigation, I am guessing that the numbers do not yet exist.
That means that the midterms will in effect be a referendum not only on the Trump Presidency, but on whether voters want him impeached. If voters want Trump out, they’ll have to provide Congress with the requisite number of Representatives to ensure that it happens. It’s pretty simple. I think ultimately that Trump’s own testimony — when and if he speaks to Mueller — will be decisive. There’s a lot of opportunities to fuck up, but even if he does commit perjury, he’ll face no consequences until Congress acts.
In effect, in November the country will get an opportunity for a do-over, sort of, except that the alternative is Mike Pence. Unless Pence is also implicated, in which case the alternative is Nancy Pelosi, unless the Democrats in Congress are smart enough to appoint someone more palatable to the general public as Speaker of the House, like President Tammy Duckworth.
But I’m getting way ahead of myself. It’s Friday, and we can dream, can’t we?
More pressing at the moment is the immigration debate, and yesterday, the White House released a plan that initially sounded too good to be true until you looked into the details. The plan would not only save the DREAMers but expand to cover those who were too old to qualify as DREAMers. Essentially, 1.8 million people would be granted amnesty.
However, the asking price was way too steep: $25 billion for the wall, more ICE agents, faster and more deportations, and ultimately a reduction in immigration by 50 percent. The fact that Stephen Miller and Tom Cotton supported the plan enthusiastically is about all you need to know. It would reduce immigration to levels not seen since the 1920s under Woodrow Wilson, the most openly racist President of the 20th century.
The White House plan is a no-go, although I suspect that Congress will settle somewhere in the middle: A 25 percent reduction in immigration, $15 billion for a wall we don’t need, and the DREAMers will be spared, but the other one million people who didn’t qualify for DACA will not.
Elsewhere, in news of the more petty variety, it looks as though Donald Trump continues to bristle at his Chief of Staff John Kelly, who was not invited to Davos with the President. In fact, last week, Trump interrupted one of Kelly’s meetings in an effort to remind Kelly of his place. This passive-aggressive bullshit will probably last another couple of months until John Kelly gets sick of it and quits, at which point Trump will bring in another Chief of Staff who lets Trump be Trump, which is the worst thing that could happen to Trump.