T: Hey J, did you see this yet? It just came up on MSN.
I think Flake is right, but good luck proving it.
J: Most GOP Senators are afraid of getting primaried. If they could just vote their consciences, Trump would be history.
T: Why doesn’t Trump call him Jeff “Snow” Flake? Trump doesn’t do clever nicknames, though. His insulting names are more playgroundy than plays on words. He’s a wannabe mobster at heart; he’d call Flake Dumb Jeff or something.
J: Flake the flake?
T: Flake the Snake. No, still far too clever for Trump.
J: Crooked Jeff.
T: That’s more like it.
J: Did you see this?
Trump’s misusing the classified system just to keep from having embarrassing stuff leaked. You have to wonder just what’s in those calls.
T: We need a little historical (hysterical?) context here. First, what are the current odds of impeachment — actual removal, I mean — and how do they compare to, say, last week?
J: I think they’ve shortened considerably, but they’re still fairly long. I’d say the line went from 50/1 to maybe 10/1. The odds of impeachment itself are probably about 1/10 now; it’s almost certain. Removal, though, is always going to be the bigger hill to climb because of the Republican Senate.
T: Second question … it’s not much of a stretch to equate Trump’s classified transcripts to Nixon’s secret tapes. Understanding that we know almost nothing about what’s actually on the Trump transcripts, how would you explain the comparison to someone who doesn’t know what Nixon’s secret tapes were?
J: I think that the analogy between the tapes and the transcripts is almost an exact one. Both were records of nefarious things that the respective Presidents really, really didn’t want to come out. Granted, we don’t know what was said on the calls that are still secret, but we do know from the one that’s been published that Trump basically put the arm on a foreign head of state to get dirt on Trump’s political opponent. Even if the others are just Trump and Putin exchanging recipes and cat pictures, he’s still got to be impeached.
T: Let me add a third item – Hillary’s missing emails.
Hillary’s emails have three factors particular to them that made it easy for Trump to use them against Clinton:
1) There were a lot of them — 33,000 was the most common reported number.
2) Clinton had a history of evasive behavior, partly by association (Bill’s impeachment proceedings, Whitewater) and partly her own (Whitewater, Foster, etc.).
3) because the emails were never found, they can be “called” just about anything. Even if they were mostly cat picture and recipes — or spam from her Uncle Mugambwe Rodham, the African Prince — Trump can call them anything from launch codes to the recipe for Mickey D’s secret sauce.
The Nixon tapes held a smoking gun (the admission that Nixon knew and was directing others in regards to the Watergate events), and I’m pretty sure Trump’s transcripts will be riddled with smoking … well, not guns, because Trump thinks and talks like a mobster. But just billowing clouds of coded gunspeak that anyone above the mental level of a moron can decipher.
J: Which, of course, excludes Giuliani.
T: Pretty much. Can you envision anything that might serve as a smoking gun? There is one already – the Biden request – but will that be enough?
J: We can expect some revelations about Trump’s dealings with Putin, perhaps nothing as direct as the Ukraine thing but certainly embarrassing. It’s also possible that the other documents that Congress is requesting will prove the quid-pro-quo (military aid in return for dirt on Biden). Right now it’s pretty clear-cut, but still circumstantial enough that the GOP can argue that it wasn’t actually Trump’s intention. We might get something incontrovertible as the process unfolds.
Also, the fact that it’s now an impeachment inquiry means that Trump’s standard tactics of delay won’t work anymore; Congress has explicit authority in the Constitution to conduct impeachment investigations.
T: That might be the key; if there is evidence that Trump withheld aid or promised aid to a foreign country in exchange for personal favors, he’s toast. Right?
J: That’s right; if there’s something that makes that hooded implication an explicit request, he’s done.
T: Legally, you mean?
J: Yes. Politically, it’s hard to get a hypnotized chicken to follow the letter of the law.
T: You got that right. Every time Trump does something illegal, it makes him stronger because his clucking base uses it as an excuse: “hey, they keep trying to get him, but they never do” absolves them from any obligation as Americans to actually judge the man.
J: It’s a catch-22.
T: Yep, the cry-wolf chorus has been coming from both sides for so long that the crying is just about all anyone can focus on.
J: Yep. And Trump just keeps getting away with more and more outrageous shit.
T: The funny thing about a drunk driver is that it can take forever for the silly bastard to actually crash and kill himself. Trump’s administration has been akin to watching a drunk driver careen safely home, over and over, with half the country calling him a legend and the other half cringing at every wide corner, taken screaming on two wheels.
Could this finally be the crash?
J: It could be.
T: Assuming the public can identify it as an actual crash, you mean.
J: Yes, that’s right. If it’s something that J. Q. Public can easily understand as wrong, and if it’s proved beyond doubt that he did it, public opinion will turn against Trump in a big way. It’s already started to turn.
T: Where do you think the next Trump approval dip will settle? Will he go to 39 and stay there this time, or even lower? Or will his approval pecentage just go back to forty freaking two again?
J: It will probably chip a few points off the 42… he’ll drop to 37 or 38. This isn’t going to go away in a few news cycles… it’s going to unfold over months, probably, and there’ll be new embarrassing disclosures regularly.
Do you think there’s a point when someone might prevail on him to resign? Will McConnell tell him “Look, your millstone has just gotten too heavy, and you need to resign before you take the rest of us down with you”?
T: McConnell is the fulcrum. If McConnell decides it’s best for the GOP that he resign, the word will get to the White House in about 15 seconds. The actual speaker won’t be McConnell, but the words will be his and the decision to say them will be his.
I’d still put resigning low on the list of possibilities, though; McConnell might ask, but Trump ain’t the resigning type. Weasels never fall on swords. They get impaled and deny the sword’s existence, even as they bleed out.
But if Trump’s approval rating drops below 35 again, it’ll be hard to keep the GOP rank and file in line. I’m not sure, between 35 and 39, where the line is.
J: Closer to 35, I think – 33 would be the impeachment line.
J: Film at 11?
T: Yep. And it ain’t nearly 11 yet.