Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Trump's Going To Be Impeached! Oh My!

The left is running wild right now because their fantasy of impeaching Trump seems to them like it's coming true now that Manafort has been "convicted" and Cohen has entered a plea deal. It's not. It might one day, but not from this. Here are my thoughts.

Let's start with this. Impeachment only happens if enough members of the House choose to make it happen. In the modern 50/50 world, I don't see that happening even if the Democrats win the House, unless they somehow win a blowout. What's more, the Democrats seem to be learning that impeachment would be a political disaster for them, just as the impeachment of Clinton stained the GOP for a generation of voters. So I don't see it happening no matter what.

Anyways, putting that aside, let's consider the recent events.

The left thinks that the conviction of Manafort means that a conviction of Trump is inevitable. After all, he was Trump's campaign manager and therefore his guilt must be Trump's guilt, right? (Statement would not apply if Trump and Manafort were Democrats). The answer is no. Mueller's probe is about whether or not Trump engaged in illegal contact with Russia before the election. But Manafort was convicted of tax fraud entirely unrelated to the election. Said differently, Manafort's conviction has zero bearing on Trump or the claims against Trump. The "value" in Manafort's conviction is that Mueller hopes Manafort will now turn on Trump and trade a confession implicating Trump for a lenient sentence. Manafort, however, has shown zero willingness to do this, both before and after the conviction, and will likely be pardoned by Trump after his re-election after his appeals have run out. So he won't turn on Trump... if there even is something to turn about.

All this conviction really does is provide Mueller some insulation for the moment to the claim that he is wasting everyone's time.

That brings us to Cohen. Cohen is a circus and it's not clear what he will say as part of his plea deal. So there is that caveat. He could be like Omarosa and just start pulling stuff out of his *ss, but nothing Cohen says has any credibility and he would be a nightmare witness to rely upon. A case built around him is not a case you try.

More fundamentally though, Cohen seems to be an entirely different issue. What he's pleading to is making an illegal payoff to a porn star to keep her from blabbing her claim that she and Trump bumped uglies... very uglies. (The payoffs are supposedly illegal because Cohen used campaign money to make them.) This may sound salacious, but it has no baring on the Mueller case. If Mueller tried to bring a case against Trump for this, I suspect Trump's attorneys could get it dismissed for being beyond the scope of Mueller's authority.

So while the left loves these convictions and has convinced themselves this is the end of Satan, the reality is that these likely mean nothing at all.


tryanmax said...

I've heard it remarked that it turns out Trump surrounding himself with shady characters actually protects him as it undermines the credibility of anyone who might testify against him. This seems a little too on-the-nose for someone who has conspicuously christened himself "The Donald." I'm not saying it isn't possible, but I would caution anyone who is looking exactly where The Donald has encouraged people to look.

Tennessee Jed said...

it seems ti me more likely that if Dems win the House they will spend the next couple years “investigating this stuff” to further hamper his ability to get anthing done and damage him politically. They will immediately shut down any investigation of wrong doing by Bruce Orr and friends. That may, in practice, backfire politically.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, He would have been better off picking people who weren't shady. They are the source of his problems at the moment. What's more, they are enough trouble that he might one day stand trial because of their attempts to escape their problems.

That said, they have no credibility. Any competent attorney could destroy them on the stand.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I think that is the plan. If they win (which I don't see happening), they would spend the next two years investigating him with the idea being not to impeach, just to smear.

The problem is that (1) the public really hates politicians smearing each other and (2) the left won't settle for anything less than the death penalty for Trump. So they are probably better off just impeaching him than investigating. But on the other hand, the Republican impeachment of Clinton basically wiped out the GOP until mid-Obama. Even now, you hear people hold it against the GOP from time to time. I think the Democrats worry about that. The left doesn't, but professional Democrats do.

AndrewPrice said...

Keep this in mind too. Mueller has taken almost two years to manage one trial of issues completely unrelated to his assignment. (Not to mention, it was a slam dunk trial and Mueller only got 8 of 18 charges.) Assume Manafort decides to turn on Trump. Here's what happens next.

1. Manafort will exhaust his appeals before he caves. That's 2-3 years.

2. Mueller needs to find more witnesses because Manafort is not enough and he needs to sort out what Manafort will testify to. He may never find more witnesses.

3. He decides to indict Trump. Legal appeals follow including whether Mueller can even try Trump constitutionally -- this has never been decided and it probably can't happen. 2-3 years of legal work.

Not you're looking at 3-6 years before the trial, if allowed. At best, we're talking about 2022. Trump has only two years left in office at that point, and can claim that the public already knew all of this when they re-elected him in 2020. Will the House act or will the House decide this isn't a "high crime"? It can't just be a crime. This would be an epic mess for everyone concerned. The government would grind to a halt. The public would be pissed in both directions - pro and con.

And if Trump stepped aside at that point, (1) his supporters will be furious that he was brought down for something so minor, (2) his VP will have two years to campaign with the benefit of incumbency plus a clean slate.

That was always the fear with Clinton too. If he quit, Al Gore would have had two years of being the "clean" incumbent before the election, combined with a furious set of supporters determined to avenge an unfair impeachment. Bush never would have beaten Al Gore with that advantage.

Instead, Clinton soared in popularity and Al Gore paled in comparison.

AndrewPrice said...

And let me be clear. I'm not saying Trump won't be found guilty of something. If he's as dirty as his friends, then it's only a matter of time before something finally blows up on him. I just don't see the current guilty verdict and Cohen's game mattering to this. The left is acting like Trump will be toast by Christmas. I don't think this matters. Too many hurdles still to pass.

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