Bring in the Clowns

(Door Hugo Kijne te Hoboken USA)

Normally Donald Trump is the main attraction in the DC circus, but this week it was his legal team.  The White House had pulled Ken Starr out of the trash heap of history to let him qualify Trump’s impeachment as too frivolous.  Those who thought that irony is dead stood corrected when they were reminded that Starr investigated Bill Clinton for three years, and after starting with Whitewater via Travelgate eventually had him impeached for lying under oath about a blow job.  But Starr was only the opening act of the legal clownshow.  Next came Alan Dershowitz, who started by stating that a president can only be impeached if a crime has been committed, a thesis resulting from ‘more study’ than he had done during the Clinton impeachment, when he defended the opposite position.  The retired law professor didn’t stop there and proclaimed that if a president believes that his re-election is in the national interest anything he does to get re-elected is acceptable.  In Trump’s case, asking for and accepting foreign help would be fine.  This was puzzling for those senators who are familiar with 52 USC 30121, which makes it unlawful.

Confronted with the fact that Trump had asked Ukraine for an investigation of Joe Biden and thus had committed a crime that would be impeachable Dershowitz came up with the following pretzel: if the president was worried that Biden was corrupt it was his duty in the national interest to have him investigated, because Biden might one day be president and the country cannot afford to have a corrupt occupant of the Oval Office.  The suggestion that the most corrupt US President in history could legally investigate a rival for corruption was breathtaking.  Other lawyers on Trump’s team argued that removing Ambassador Yovanovitch and putting pressure on the Ukrainian government was just a matter of US foreign policy, which the president has the sole responsibility to conduct.  Possibly today the Senate will decide whether to call witnesses and all bets are off, but it is doubtful that four GOP senators will have the courage to incur the wrath of Trump.  The prime candidate to be called would be former NSA John Bolton, whose manuscript with for Trump incriminating information was leaked out of the White House NSC office.

The president, always the very stable genius, publicly made the unbelievable statement that he never spoke with Bolton about Ukraine, effectively waiving executive privilege if he was ever planning to claim that and allowing Bolton to speak freely about their conversations.  Trump called Bolton a ‘warmonger,’ who begged for his position, was fired and then wrote a nasty and untrue book.  The president claimed that if he had listened to Bolton, who told AG Barr he had concerns about Trump’s granting favors to authoritarian leaders, the US would now be fighting WW VI.

As the White House threatened to block the publication of Bolton’s book in March, Trump, helping his friend Netanyahu, unveiled Jared Kushner’s peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians, which for the latter comes down to permanently giving up 30% of their territory and living in a ‘homeland’ with limited autonomy as was pioneered by the South African Apartheid regime, in exchange for $50 billion.  For Trump and Kushner only money matters and they obviously think everything is for sale.

After Mike Bloomberg, who is running for the Democratic nomination, spent $10 million on a Superbowl ad, Trump responded by buying equal time.   It made New York’s former mayor open up about the time the president asked for his counsel after having been elected.  ‘Hire a lot of people who are smarter that you,’ had been Bloomberg’s good advice, but Trump’s respons was ‘nobody is smarter than me.’


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