How Does This End?
We have now had six months to observe the Trump Administration, and there are a few things we know at this point.
First, as far as we know publicly, President Trump has not broken the law, but a special counsel is looking into any possible illegalities. The president has clearly broken with long-standing norms established by many presidents of both parties in his first half-year in office, but there has been no proof offered Mr. Trump has violated any statutes.
Second, it is of some concern that President Trump, based on his public statements, interviews and Tweets, appears more concerned about himself and how he is portrayed in the media than in running the nation and pushing his legislative agenda through congress.
Third, the president’s constant attacks on the media should concern us all. Whatever your views on Barrack Obama, he was regularly savaged by media outlets on the right. He would occasionally take a pot shot at Fox News, but rarely focused publicly on the beating he took from some conservative news outlets.
Our current president has made media-bashing one of his regular themes. It has become so bad, New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet, during a CNN appearance in April, called Trump’s attacks on the media “dangerous.”
Here’s what concerns me the most. If the Office of Special Counsel finds that the president did violate the law, how does that end? The most recent historical reference point is Watergate.
President Richard Nixon resigned only because an impeachment vote was pending in the House and almost surely would pass. It would take two-thirds of senators to convict Nixon of impeachment and remove him from office. Nixon knew how to count votes and he knew more than two-thirds of senators, including many from his own political party, were prepared to vote for conviction. It was only then that Nixon decided to resign.
I am hopeful, for the sake of our country, that it never comes to this, but what will happen if Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team of prosecutors delivers to congress a report alleging illegal acts by the president? What will the Republicans on Capitol Hill do in that case?
Only then will we know how all this ends.