The impeachment narrative is going well at the moment. The Democrats in the House of Representatives are making daily headlines about both substance and process. They throw in a few Ukraine facts and witnesses that support the narrative and move on to the next process issue, resisted every step of the way by Trump and his merry band of enablers.
With each Trump “team” announcement of another procedural roadblock looking more and more like defiance of the fundamentals of the rule of law and the separation of powers at the heart of the US Constitution, the Democrats shake their heads, look piously disturbed and rack up another process win. They finally get it — the lengthy list of resistance moments is to be a key part of that grand abuse of power impeachment chronology.
Even though his key enablers know it, Trump seems to have a hard time understanding that defiant resistance to lawful process is viewed in most legal circles as a display of consciousness of guilt. Moreover, there will be many others who grasp the even simpler notion that concealment of evidence, false narratives, deflection of blame, inconsistent versions of the same events and the like are actions that common sense often attaches to those guilty of criminal misconduct.
Since this impeachment investigation centered on Ukraine is taking place in plain sight (unlike Robert Mueller’s ponderous slog), Trump gets to open his ever-ready mouth and Twitter feed in real-time for all to see. Then, his henchmen get going in plain sight to continue to impede the investigative process and lie their way to a false narrative. Anyone spending a little time watching their favorite crime show will get it. Many watching those crime shows are also watching Trump and his henchmen dodge and weave just like the crooks do it on TV before they are exposed, tried and convicted.
Also, there is a growing probability that Trump, with no communications apparatus in place, will continue to expose himself as untethered to reality, utterly disdainful of the rule of law, and fundamentally ignorant of applicable process and substance considerations. Even some Republicans may be taking note, particularly those who for some reason have continued to believe that in the end Trump will cover for them.
To this point, Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Attorney General William Barr have already sacrificed themselves on the Trump alter, along with a gaggle of lesser luminaries. Each, in his own way, has covered himself with the feces that flow from hitching his star to a moral vacuum and conveniently forgetting that a requisite element of public service is service to the public.
Then there is the original whistleblower and some new whistleblowing compatriots, all aiming their legally-protected allegations at a bewildered Trump. Trump seems unable to even find out their names because those who know are not swimming in the present enabler pool, and those who are and might know aren’t quite ready to join brother Manafort in prison.
Betraying the Kurds
Meanwhile, as the Ukraine drama unfolds with a corrupt Trump phone call to a head of state at its core, Trump, relying on his self-proclaimed “great and unmatched wisdom,” rings up the Turkish head of state and green lights a Turkish offensive in Syria that will enable the Turks, often using weapons made in the US, to add their deadly contribution to the Syrian disaster by driving the Kurds from the lands their soldiers control there. The immediate losers in this sell-out are the Kurdish militiamen (and the Kurdish people they protect), who before the phone call were told by US diplomats and military personnel that they were our comrades in arms against the Islamic State group.
Even Trump’s Republican stooges in Congress had a hard time swallowing this one, apparently able to see obvious betrayal of military allies and destabilization of dangerous terrain in clearer terms than obvious betrayal of the US electoral process at issue in Ukraine. The stooges can only hope that the rest of Trump’s ignorant and dangerous blather with international heads of state never becomes public. Whether it does or not, it may slowly be dawning in the corporeal zone under some of those MAGA hats that these unglued phone calls violate the most basic concept of presidential duty to the nation.
There will be a lot said about the Constitution in the days ahead. Most of it will be intended to confuse rather than elucidate. Like the Bible, the Constitution is often used in absolute terms to obliterate common sense before common sense can prevail.
Both documents were drafted ages ago and long predate many of the challenges of modern life — for example, the societal plague of automatic weapons. Yet there always seems to be an absolutist retreat by some to the outdated dogma of these documents to raise ancient objections to the acceptance of new realities.
In response, all of us should be wary of the abuse of outdated dogma to serve partisan masters. As an example, watch the same folks brandish one historical text to sanctify the spread of modern weapons of war where there is no war while clutching the other ancient text that says “thou shalt not kill.”
In the context of the present impeachment process, however, measured reverence for outdated historical texts remains important because there are some very fundamental elements of America’s woefully imperfect democratic experiment that are being threatened every day. If the praiseworthy concepts of the rule of law, balance of powers, an independent judiciary and a relatively free press are trampled, the fundamental unresolved matters — the search for racial justice and equal rights, well-defined human rights and a path to economic equality, and a fully reasoned right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — will be further submerged in the resulting moral and institutional morass.
If you think the nation is not in serious peril at the moment, I leave you with the president of the United States explaining his battlefield betrayal of present-day Kurdish allies of the US with these immortal words: “They didn’t help us in the Second World War, they didn’t help us with Normandy.”
*[This article was cross-posted on the author’s blog, Hard Left Turn.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.