“Let me make something 100 percent clear to the American public and anyone running for public office: It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election. This is not a novel concept. Electoral intervention from foreign governments has been considered unacceptable since the beginnings of our nation. Our Founding Fathers sounded the alarm about “foreign Interference, Intrigue, and Influence.”
—Memo from the Chair of the Federal Election Commission Ellen L. Weintraub, June 13
After the five or six people still left defending our beleaguered game show president bent themselves in illogical pretzels for close to a week claiming Donald Trump absolutely did not ask a foreign country to intervene on a potential political opponent, Joe Biden, despite a whistleblower complaint and a declassified review of the July 25 phone call between the U.S. President and the President of Ukraine that appeared to show that Donald Trump was trading allocated funds to defend Ukraine against Russian aggression for dirt on Biden and his son, Hunter, here is what Trump told live television cameras on the White House lawn on October 3:
“Well, I would think if they (Ukraine) were honest about it, they’d start a major investigation into the Bidens. It’s a very simple answer. They should investigate the Bidens because how does a company that’s newly formed and all these companies, and by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine. So I would say with President Zelensky, if it were me, I would recommend they start an investigation into the Bidens, because nobody has any doubt that they weren’t crooked.”
This begs the question: Does Donald Trump want to be impeached?
I think this is another one that goes into the flimsy but understandable Yes/No column when dealing with this lunatic. Let me explain.
Let’s do “No” first.
As covered for years in this space, Donald Trump enters almost everything he tries his hand at as a complete neophyte. This is why it’s almost always a mess eventually. Sometimes he stumbles into a success, but eventually he destroys it with knee-jerk hubris—see Trump steaks, Trump University, the USFL, the Atlantic City debacle, and his TV show for examples of this. Most of his talents, if there are any, is in selling a brand and that brand is a billboard depiction of what he would like to be but is not. You can only fake shit for so long, and ultimately the jig is up. This “method” has transferred to the highest office in the land and therefore he has little to no idea what he is doing when he says something like the above. This is like your toddler blurting out “fuck” at your dinner party. The kid doesn’t know he is cursing. He just does it. If you are not sure you are implicating yourself in a crime, then you do it. Trump and Rudolf Giuliani, former NYC mayor and Trump’s personal lawyer, believe—Giuliani has told several news outlets that he is “a hero”—that rooting out corruption abroad is a calling. This, of course, is an administration that has supported murdering American journalists in Saudi Arabia, turning away from unchecked missile testing and human rights atrocities in North Korea, and defending whatever the fuck Vladimir Putin does on daily basis.
Text messages released after former U.S, Special Envoy for Ukraine Kurt Volker (he quit in disgrace) was deposed by congress for nine hours last week, reveal that many who were tasked with carrying out this nonsense believed Trump was on shaky ground but either didn’t care or was plain stupid.
Throughout the summer Volker told Giuliani that his sources on these purported incriminating documents he keeps waving around on cable news were false and misleading, but like most zealots around Trump, Giuliani, a private citizen who has little to no idea what the hell he’s doing either, believed as long as they fit the narrative of Biden’s guilt, he’d plow ahead. This kind of warning cost the ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch her gig in the spring when Trump removed her because Giuliani couldn’t get her to help him commit these crimes. All of this out in the open and without care for who would know it.
On the day of the infamous “shakedown” phone call, State Department officials were trying like hell to first identify, then facilitate and finally cover up this half-baked scheme to have Ukraine investigate an American politician running for president and most importantly to go on the record for it, clearing the way for the story to damage Biden before the primaries. Volker texted top advisor to the Ukrainian president, Andriy Yermak, “I think POTUS really wants the deliverable.” Later, on September 1, when this was still being bungled along by members of the State Department, William Taylor, the charge d’affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, texted Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union: “Are we now saying that security assistance and WH meeting are conditioned on investigations?” Sondland responded with, “Call me.” This call, which was clearly ordered by Sondland to keep off the record, had confirmed Taylor’s fears that they were breaking the law, because on September 9, Taylor texted Sondland: “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” Sondland, who had endeavored mightily to keep this craziness from having an electronic paper trail, responded with, “Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump’s intentions. The President has been crystal clear no quid pro quo’s of any kind. The President is trying to evaluate whether Ukraine is truly going to adopt the transparency and reforms that President Zelensky promised during his campaign.”
All the while Trump thought this was okay, in fact, noble pursuits, and for the most part, as the admission of his crimes on the record (again) prove, he still does.
Now, the “yes” part.
I think there is a large part of Trump’s thinking, such as it is, that this kind of muckraking battle to the end will benefit him politically and harm Joe Biden. This has been his mission all along. He also knows that Russia helped him win last time and this shameless begging of foreign aid in assisting this time clearly shows he would rather be leaned on by a Democratically-controlled Congress than not attempt it. Biden’s numbers, which the President initially ignored and then predictably mocked in the only states that count: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Missouri, are startling. Unlike Hillary Clinton, they are double-digit leads. It is better to be impeached than to face ignominious defeat. If this were Elizabeth Warren or some other Democratic rival, I can look past its political immolation context, but it’s Biden, his greatest threat, by far.
And finally, Trump is aware that a Republican-controlled Senate would never oust him. The party is hanging by a thread as it is. Without the Trump base there is no party. They are doomed. The demographics and historical winds have already swung left and will continue to do so for the rest of this century if not for the thirty-two percent that keep this rot from completely fading into dust. They have to stick with Trump and he knows it, and this will allow him to claim another hollow victory once the Senate boots the impeachment to the curb. Just in time for the 2020 campaign to heat up.
I usually go with the former. I don’t think Trump is soliciting impeachment. I just think Trump is an idiot. Everything he has done as President bared this out. The cover ups are coming from the State Department and White House officials who cannot control this fool. But make no mistake, Trump’s statement this week that he absolutely would like foreign counties to get involved in the 2020 election seals his welcoming of impeachment—whether he wants it or not.