Trump may not know where our aircraft carriers are headed, but the direction of his presidency is getting clearer every day: Impeachment.
As evidence of corruption and collusion with the Russians mounts, the real question is whether Republicans in Congress will find their patriotic spine and/or recognize the damage Trump is doing to their party to begin impeachment proceedings, or will it take the wave of Democrats elected in 2018.
Earlier this week in Slate, Harvard Constitutional Law Professor Noah Feldman defined high crimes and misdemeanors in laying out potential impeachment options for Congress. The options include public corruption in the ways Trump’s conflicts of interest are enriching him, abuse of power as he continues to threaten his opponents with power of the Presidency, and undermining the rule of law, most notably if the case is made for colluding with Russia to interfere with the election.
The corruption angle is difficult to keep up with since this is not an hourly blog. Despite contradicting the advise of our foreign policy officials, Trump congratulated Turkish President Erdogan on his (tainted by fraud) victory in a referendum weakening democracy and extending Erdogan’s power. I’m sure Trump’s business interests in Turkey had nothing to do with that.
In The Washington Post this week, Jennifer Rubin told us that Trump’s ethical squalor is worse than we thought:
On the financial side of the Trump sewer, matters are going from bad to worse. Trump never divested himself of his business holdings or released his tax returns. The extent of his conflicts of interest are therefore unknown. He has now amended the trust (showing how flimsy it is if it can be altered on a whim) to allow him to withdraw funds and to receive periodic briefings from his son Eric (who “can do that as chair of the trust’s advisory board, and told Forbes magazine last month that he plans to give his father big-picture financial briefings every quarter or so”). All this should underscore how ludicrous it is to claim separation between Trump and his business operations.
But the elephant in the room continues to be the questions about Trump’s collusion with Russia, and this week continued the drip-by-drip advance of the story. Further details of Trump advisor Carter Page and his ties to Russia that drew scrutiny from the FBI, the revitalization of the House Intelligence Committee investigation, and the big Reuters story on the Putin-linked group’s plan to sway the U.S. election.
This week also saw the professor who predicted Trump’s election publish a new book, The Case for Impeachment. Allan Lichtman, history professor at American University, is now predicting Trump will be impeached before his term is finished. One interesting point brought up in the Financial Times article on the book is:
Lichtman points out that Nixon faced impeachment for what was arguably the least important of his three big offences — the burglary of the Democratic offices in the Watergate complex. Even then, it was the cover-up, rather than the crime itself, that led to Nixon’s undoing.
Just last night, someone who knows a few things about Watergate, Carl Bernstein told a Trump advisor on CNN that “there’s an active cover-up going” with regard to the Russia investigation.
There is a lot more we need to learn, but as we look down the road toward Trump’s impeachment, we can raise an Avenue cocktail to the journey. This classic from the 1930s makes an appearance in Dr. Cocktail Ted Haigh’s book Vintage Cocktails and Forgotten Spirits. The recipe is:
1 oz Bourbon
1 oz Calvados
1 oz passionfruit juice (or nectar, I used syrup and cut the amount in half)
1 dash grenadine
1 dash orange flower water
Shake over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass