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An impeachment process against President Trump now seems inescapable. Unless the president resigns, the pressure by the public on the Democratic leaders to begin an impeachment process next year will only increase. Too many people think in terms of stasis: How things are is how they will remain. They don’t take into account that opinion moves with events.
Whether or not there’s already enough evidence to impeach Mr. Trump — I think there is — we will learn what the special counsel, Robert Mueller, has found, even if his investigation is cut short. A significant number of Republican candidates didn’t want to run with Mr. Trump in the midterms, and the results of those elections didn’t exactly strengthen his standing within his party. His political status, weak for some time, is now hurtling downhill.
For the new year, critics of President Trump should resolve not to be intimidated by the potential wrath of his vaunted political base. The only one who should cower before the Make America Great Again legions is Trump himself.
And he does fear them, bigly. The latest illustration is the way he chickened out on a bipartisan agreement to keep the government fully funded, instead forcing a partial shutdown over chump change for “the wall.” I use quotation marks because there never was going to be an actual, physical, continuous wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, much less one paid for by the Mexican government. The president is desperately trying to avoid acknowledging this and other realities before the 2020 election.
Anyone who thinks Trump is a master politician is wrong. He’s a master illusionist, which isn’t the same thing. Politicians can’t keep pulling rabbits out of empty hats forever. At some point, they face a reckoning, and Trump’s is well underway.
The only way to deal with Donald Trump is to not do deals with Donald Trump. The private sector has learned this; when will Congress?
For his entire career, our dealmaker in chief has relied on a not-so-secret technique for extracting supposedly good deals: He agrees to a given set of terms and then, at the last minute, reneges on them.
He has done this to small businesses around the country, refusing to pay for cabinetry, catering, real estate commissions, and other goods and services after they’ve already been delivered. His companies have also filed for bankruptcy six times, helping him wriggle out of bills. Given this reputation, it’s hardly surprising that vendors and lenders alike ultimately learned it was wiser not to do business with him at all, rather than count on him to keep his word.
During the 2016 campaign, Trump promised that he’d “run government like a business,” and in this respect — among others — he has.
As Americans watch the federal government remain (partially) shut down and the president lob angry accusations at the opposition, a common response is, “Why can’t they all just sit down and work this out?” It seems like a reasonable question — if this were a different time and we were dealing with a different president. But since Donald Trump is in the White House, everything is more complicated.
So the only answer may be for everyone, Democrats and Republicans alike, to ignore President Trump. Act as though he doesn’t exist and this has nothing to do with him.
By which I mean that members of Congress should shut their ears to Trump’s tweets and threats and fulminations, pass something that House Democrats and Senate Republicans can live with, and then dare Trump to veto it. Because I doubt he has the guts.
Trump doesn’t want the public to think the stock market has tanked because of Trump’s government shutdown, his trade war with China, and the $1.9 trillion increase in the nation’s debt caused by his tax cut for corporations and the wealthy. (Actually, these are the major reasons for the market’s drop.)
So he’s blaming the Fed and its chair, Jerome Powell, for raising interest rates. And he’s ordered his staff to find a legal rationale for removing Powell. (It’s highly unlikely Trump has legal authority to do this, but like every other illegal thing Trump has tried, it may end up in the federal courts.)
Which is rattling investors even more, because they worry Trump is trying to turn the Fed into his own political tool.