Trump and the Zodiac Killer
(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)
On Friday, August 1, 1969, the Zodiac killer announced that 12 people would be killed before the end of the weekend unless certain demands were met. He or she (the Zodiac killer was never caught) is on a long list of villains who announced their crimes before committing them, to which now Donald J. Trump’s name can be added. In an ABC News interview the president said ‘if a foreign country offered information on an opponent, I think I’d take it.’ When informed that accepting what Trump called ‘oppo research’ from a foreign entity is illegal, and that FBI Director Wray had said such an offer should be reported to his agency, the president responded ‘the FBI Director is wrong,’ and that he would not consider the offer interference in the election, just ‘information.’ In his report Robert Mueller wrote that he had not been able to establish that the June 9, 2016, Trump tower meeting with Russians had constituted a crime, because he could not prove that the participants knew they were doing something illegal, but by now every American should know that a campaign’s accepting ‘something of value’ from a foreign individual or government is a criminal offense. Every American except Trump, that is.
The president’s revealing that he’d break a federal law to be re-elected – on the same day that the Department of Justice announced its investigation of CIA agents involved in the early stages of what would become the Mueller probe – signals to Russia, China and other countries (Trump mentioned Norway) that the Trump campaign is open for business. It was the low point of a week that started with the announcement that tariffs on Mexican imports were suspended because Mexico had met US demands regarding the reduction of the number of asylum seekers at the southern border, something Mexico’s foreign minister immediately denied. On the South Lawn of the White House the president pulled a single sheet of paper out of his pocket that allegedly contained ‘the agreement,’ but said he could not show the content because Mexico was supposed to announce it first. Trump watchers were reminded of the pile of manila folders with information about Trump’s business holdings that nobody was allowed to see, or of ‘Trump steaks’ bought at a local butcher store. The president also proudly mentioned a ‘beautiful love letter’ from North Korea’s dictator Kim Jong-un he had just received.
Asked about a series of polls, both national and by state (including internal polls from his own campaign), that showed significant weakness for Trump against Democratic candidates, the president said that the internal polls didn’t exist and that the polling numbers were ‘fake news.’ His attacks this week were exclusively directed at Joe Biden, whose mental ability he questioned. Many pundits saw this as a case of projection, because there is plenty of speculation that Trump is not playing with a full deck anymore, as was evidenced by his mistaking Mueller for Barr in one of his rants.
With regards to impeachment the president appears to be limping upon two opinions: politically he might benefit from being impeached, because it would allow him to play his favorite part, that of the victim, and after an acquittal in the senate he could claim to be exonerated, but his fragile personality would most likely be hurt beyond repair by being mentioned in one breath with Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton until the end of times. Since for Trump everything is about ego he will fight impeachment tooth and nail.
Trump’s remarks about oppo research received from a foreign country were triggered by a question about his son Don Jr.’s testimony in Congress. Political commentators are eagerly awaiting his comments following the testimony of Hope Hicks next week. After Ivanka she, and not Melania or Stormy, has arguably been the most important woman in the president’s life during the last ten years, and new, shocking statements are expected.
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