Trump has only one move, double down.
Nothing doubles down more than pardoning and with Manafort out of double jeopardy it's perfect for him and shows all the co conspirators that they will be saved if they just stay quiet.
Anybody who is not against Trump at this point isn't going to object to a pardon.
After it is done it will be seen as expected, normal and not THAT bad.
In considering the best strategy to ensure that we maximize the number of Senators that will vote for removal of the President a completely novel argument has for the first time asked the question; Is it better to list all of the President's crimes or is it better to narrow the number of crimes to those that the President has confessed to or carried out in detail in front of cameras.
As is the case in many of the controversial issues of the time I advocate a moderate position arguing that we should have more than the Ukraine phone call and Mueller obstruction articles but that it isn't necessary to detail every crime.
I would like Speaker Pelosi to craft a strategy that would narrowly focus only on the most select and egregious crimes and not detail every single crime. For example I think that they should definitely include the President's personal interference with the FBI Headquarter location scandal but don't need to detail the obstruction of justice charge when Trump offered Assistant National Security Advisor McFarland the Ambassadorship of Singapore if she lied for him (that could be part of a larger omnibus obstruction article). Likewise we don't need to detail every time a foreign government has purchased thousands of rooms at Trump resorts for no show guests but we could limit it to one article for each property.
After detailed and careful consideration I strongly urge Speaker Pelosi to cap the Articles of Impeachment at a firm 200 articles. I know that it will be challenging given the hourly production of severe crimes that the White House is producing but a line has to be drawn somewhere.
During the Watergate hearings I had a strong bout of Mononucleosis and was bed ridden.
I saw every minute live.
I still remember the electricity when Butterfield walked in and told the world that tapes existed.
There were three critical elements that created the momentum necessary to move Republicans to give Nixon the ultimatum to leave.
Those elements were:
1) An insider. John Dean
Without John Dean there would have been no impeachment or resignation. Dean turned and had a remarkably detailed day by day record of what Nixon's committee and administration did. The original crimes and the cover up.
2) An agreed metric
As claims and counter claims became more and more confusing Senator Howard Baker came out with a very simple metric that cleared the field and everyone, Republican and Democrat could agree.
"What did the President know and when did he know it"
Baker assumed that Nixon couldn't have been in on the early stages and offered this metric to create a line in the sand to help him. Because we had a common metric that everyone agreed to it cleared the field and clarified the essential question. It actually created the rational that would doom Nixon.
I have been an impeachment sceptic because impeachment can't be a partisan move, we need a broader base to undo an electoral college result. That isn't an accident, its the way it should be as we don't want a Democratic President removed simply because the Republicans have the votes to do it. I didn't think we could hope for the insider and the documentation needed.
Then we have the whistle blower.
Unbelievably we have an insider to give witness to Trump's treachery. Not a political insider but an insider nevertheless. The fact that the insider is non political will be devastating. Could be better than John Dean as he or she is a high level dedicated career expert and will have highly developed analytical skills and must be very articulate to reach the senior level able to listen to Presidential conversations.
And we will have the documentation. We will have the tapes.
The only thing that is missing from the Nixon denouement is a common agreement on where you draw the line on "high crimes and misdemeanors".
We may get that but we have more than enough to get unimpeachable (irony intended) testimony and document facts. There will be no he/she said and the idiot in chief said.
We should not be inherently pessimistic about the Senate. If there is a clear and easy to understand charge about high crimes and misdemeanors there will be Republicans who will move on it. Not out of morality but out of self interest. When the Watergate hearings started no one believed that Nixon would be removed from office.
Nixon had a 23% margin of victory and a 520-17 electoral landslide. No one thought that Republican Senators would challenge their party leader who was swept into power with the greatest landslide in the country's history.
First there are two retiring Senators who will be more interested in how they fare in history than being on Trumps Christmas list.
Second removal of Trump doesn't give the WH to the Democrats. The Republicans retain it and it opens up the possibility of a Republican cage match for advancement. I believe that Romney will do anything to open up the ticket and give him his last chance to get to the WH. He would run as a moderate against "socialist Democrats" and would have the odd credentials to talk about strengthening the Affordable Care Act having implemented Romney Care in Massachusetts.
His obvious running mate would be Nicky Haley. They could denounce the aberration of Trump and launch a completely new campaign unrelated to Trump. That will be very attractive to a lot of Republican Senators.
We are going to have a majority vote for impeachment in the House.
We are going to have a trial in the Senate.
It will not be exactly parallel to the Nixon removal but I never thought that it would be this similar.
Impeachment and removal of Donald Trump is now very possible. Pence can pardon him if he wishes but he will face criminal prosecution in NY state.
The whistle blower has changed the landscape exactly in the same way that Butterfield told a stunned country that tapes exist that would confirm exactly what John Dean had alleged.
We know three things about Trump in front of the press
1) He cannot resist the bait. He will always try and be clever no matter how insulting the question is
2) He will always double down. Upon really stupid he will go to fantastically stupid only louder
3) He has no real self awareness about how ridiculous his make believe world is
Absolutely everyone reacted to the low level carny hucksterism of Trumps attempt to sell the snake oil wonderment of his trashy hotels.
Don't fight him. Give him a mic and dare him to elaborate
Mr. President, will the G7 leaders and their staff
a) Be able to buy time shares while they stay at their beautiful villas?
b) Will they be served Trump Steaks in the famous dining room?
c) Will interns from Trump University be able to get extra credit by working at the summit?
d) Given your expertise in gaming will G7 visitors be able to enjoy gambling in a temporary casino?
e) Must visitors book a Trump Jet to arrive at the summit?
f) Will visitors have an opportunity to book transport from Trump Classic Cars?
g) Will the guests be drinking Trump wines?
The more that he blabs on about selling his own products the more of a two bit con he sounds like. Even Santorum is repulsed.
Get him talking about selling his own crap the more demented he appears. I bet they could get him to talk for an hour about time shares at his property.
and Trump resigns and Pence issues a "pity" pardon.
Trump will try and use the "deteriorating health" defense that is sometimes used by the mob to forestall state prosecutions.
He will engage in a full blown "sick out the clock" strategy to put on the brakes of state prosecution which is likely to take 3=4 years to actually start.
I am of the opinion that we should slowly build a case in such a way that compels everyone, including Republicans to face the facts and come to an agreement on the facts.
Once we have agreement on the facts then the impetus and force will build for impeachment.
There is one reason that strategists who look long term advocate stopping short of impeachment: it significantly undermines Republican 2020 electoral chances in all federal offices.
There is another even more compelling reason: if Trump is impeached Pence will pardon him, and all of the top gangsters in this criminal enterprise. If, however Trump stays in office and suffers electoral defeat he will have nothing to shield him from the full force of federal prosecutors and can not only suffer disgrace but actually go to jail.
It almost seems that this is Mueller's preferred choice and why his report pointedly states, "no one is above the law", and "the President can be prosecuted after he leaves office".
While it seems like an eternity to wait for a post election result I would happily bear it to ensure that Trump faces the ultimate humiliation of actual imprisonment, preferably until he dies in jail.
The real objective is to fire the career prosecutors at SDNY and Washington and others who are carrying on leads developed by the Muller investigation.
Obviously he can't go after them directly so he is starting a series of "mini purges" to create a general acceptance on the President's ability to fire people in the executive branch.
He will continue to create chaos and much "tsk tsk tsking" from Grassley and other Senate Republicans. Romney and others will say it is disconcerting but within the President's prerogative.
And after he has started disarming large sections of the federal government and getting Nero like confirmations from crowds who hate the government in part because of the ankle bracelets they wear for DUI and wife beating he will "uncover" a network of prosecutors who are trying to "do an end run around the elections" and take him out with a coup and put Hillary in.
People will be numb to it. The Republican senators have long lost the courage to stand up for the constitution or the country.
And the final move will be wide spread pardons. He will pardon everyone he can so that he and his children will be lost in the crowd.
During the Revolutionary War American fighters would work to gain access to British armories and instead of stealing the muskets they would spike the muskets the night before a big battle so that instead of simply stealing muskets that could be replaced draw out the British soldiers into the open and then eliminate the threat.
Quite miraculously Huffington Post comes out with a story that quite remarkably lists all of the staffers who have left working for Klobuchar the last 10 years ago with a minor beef.
1) Obviously this isn't the kind of pedestrian complaint that is going to attract a big investment by a news organization with so many really juicy stories going around.
2) Usually a story like this would lead with a couple of sources and then after a week or so another couple would dribble out. In this case it appears as if HP had a list of all of the possible ingrates right from the start. Who would have such a list?
3) Klobuchar's campaign should have spent the last several months employing opposition research against their own campaign along with live test groups reacting to the Senator's record and TV appearances and they would have documented her number one potential weakness: She is too nice to be the commander in chief.
They may have also discern some disgruntled staff that would have caused a little murmur campaign.
Rather than allow these antagonisms to reach the battlefield I believe that it was the Klobuchar campaign that passed the list of possible disgruntled staffers to HP so that they would run the article right before the announcement, also giving it some additional "drama".
The Klobuchar response "Yes I am tough on my staff because I have high expectations for them as I have high expectations for the country" was masterly delivered.
Her response not only dealt with the minor issue of a few disgruntled staff members but it also undermined the number one perceived weakness that she will have to address from time to time.
It appears to me that the whole thing was set up by the Klobuchar campaign to help frame their campaign and start to take away future Republican attacks, now Klobuchar isn't just smart, doesn't just cast a winning and sweet countenance on TV she is tough minded.
Also, and here is the best part, if she becomes the nominee and the Idiot in Chief were ever to use it against her it would open to a devastating counter attack on Trump by pointing out a) the worst turnover of staff in WH history, b) the rather large industry of disgruntled staff that are publishing against him, c) that not only do senior WH staff complain that working their is the worst job they have ever had but that they can't leave because they have to constantly hide papers and carry out subterfuge so that the Idiot in Chief doesn't invade Canada.
We don't know that the Klobuchar campaign 'spiked the muskets' and orchestrated the whole thing, we only know that it is exactly what intelligent campaigns do and she has positioned herself very well to do well in Iowa. Well done Senator.
He wants a talking point.
With 17 investigations looking at his foundation, business, campaign and administration and a cascading river of breaking stories for the last several months Trump has set a record for losing consecutive news cycles so that even his most ardent supporters are left with doubt in their little dark souls.
He could have had a compromise on the wall, some wall for legalizing the DACA kids. It was agreed to but then someone, maybe Miller, said if you actually build a wall two things will happen 1) It won't really have any significant impact, especially on asylum seekers who are turning themselves in so that they can apply for asylum and 2) you won't have any issue to try and drag everyone away from the scandals as it turns out that Americans aren't really excited about trade wars, tariffs and all the other nonsense.
I expect that Trump will cave and then once again paint him as the greatest martyr since Jesus was nailed to a cross and simultaneously pat himself on the back for being "the bigger man" and continue to harp about the wall, which is his main objective.
I would love for Speaker Pelosi to hold hearings on the House on the question of border security and the wall and have all of the critics of the wall explain the real world failures of walls and invite Trump to make a statement and take questions from the committee. Of course, unlike Secretary Clinton who underwent a marathon grilling by a House committee Trump would make it a marathon negotiation and then ultimately not show even though his outsized ego will be whispering "go to Congress and show them how its done".
In any case Trump could have had a portion of the wall approved and signed but he really doesn't want it, he just wants to harangue about it.
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