I have a very deep dislike of Keith Olbermann. It’s not just his politics. There is something about the way he expresses himself that compels me to speak out against him… or at least go looking for reasons to disagree with him. I suppose that’s part of what he was a modestly successful television personality. In any case, this post is partly the result of that compulsion.
Olbermann has a new (OK, it’s almost a week old at this point.) piece in GQ in which he outlines why he thinks Trump will either get impeached or resign and provides us with what he sees as an exhaustive list of scenarios in which it will happen.
I am confident now, even more so than I have been throughout the last year, that this nightmare presidency of Donald John Trump will end prematurely—and end soon.
The paths he provides are:
- Mueller gets Trump on some sort of charges associated with Russian meddling in our election
- Mueller gets Trump on obstruction of justice
- Trump resigns out of fear of Mueller’s investigation
- Republicans preemptively impeach Trump out of fear of Mueller’s investigation
- The 25th Amendment option – A cabinet revolt declares Trump unfit and Pence becomes prezzy
- Democrats retake the House in the midterms and impeach him
- Trump gets caught up in accusations of sexual misconduct/assault/harassment and someone, somehow removes him from office
I get that Olbermann is writing to espouse and promote his own partisan politics here. But I think it’s silly that he doesn’t seem to see ANY possible way for Trump to serve his full first term.
The first problem is that Olbermann sees no way that Mueller would have given Flynn a deal unless Flynn was flipping on Trump.
Mueller is not shooting down. Mueller does not make a deal with Flynn to get Paul Manafort. He does not make a deal with Flynn to get Jared Kushner. He does not make a deal with Flynn to get Trump Jr.
Mueller makes a deal with Flynn… to get Donald Trump. Period.
OK, but what if he does settle for someone lower? What if he settled for several someone’s lower because there isn’t any evidence that connects Trump directly to any wrongdoing? It seems to me that between Manafort and Bannon, there were enough “brains” in that operation to direct some misdeeds without Trump’s input. I don’t have a lot of confidence in Trump’s brains as a strategic thinker anyway.
Another problem is that it is far from clear that a president can be indicted. Nixon was not indicted directly. He was simply named an “unindicted co-conspirator.” It’s not clear to me — and perhaps I am ignorant of the facts — that Nixon was “about to be” charged as Olbermann asserts in his piece here.
It’s also not clear that Democrats will take the House. Yes, Trump is unpopular and seems to be losing support from those who voted for him but aren’t part of his core support base. But a lot of those folks voted for him just because they couldn’t stand the thought of voting for Clinton, a Democrat. (And a woman.) Roy Moore still stands a fighting chance in Alabama right now because of thinking like that and he’s an alleged pedophile/hebephile. So, the Democrats are going to have to work very hard if they’re going to retake Congress. It’s far from a sure thing.
Nor is it clear — especially since they’ve passed on so many opportunities already — that Republicans in the house have any stomach to impeach him. As I’ve said a number of times already, I believe the Republicans in Congress still look at the Trump situation and believe the rewards outweigh the risks. They think they can still get something good out of him being where he is. Others seem downright afraid to speak ill of the man even when he’s plainly in the wrong. So, when anyone suggests that the Republicans will impeach Trump, I remain skeptical. I haven’t seen sufficient evidence to support that prediction yet.
From what I can tell, Trump rules his organizations like a warlord or Russian oligarch. He praises and rewards loyalty, not sanity, honesty, integrity, or reason. All he asks is that people support him no matter what. And if they don’t do that, then he gets rid of them. This is why when there are rumors that Rex Tillerson called Trump a moron — and Tillerson refuses to deny it — everyone immediately wonders if Tillerson is going to be fired. Aside from that, the whole 25th Amendment maneuver itself is a long shot. Trump might be willing to buck convention and publicly bend the rules as far as they’ll go, but most other people are not.
Donald Trump was caught on tape saying he could grope women with impunity because of his fame and he was still elected. Even his most sane supporters will admit to believing that he has done this, but will still support him. So, let’s imagine that a mob of women come forward to talk about how he assaulted them. So what? Why would Trump resign over that? Why would Congress impeach him over things that happened before he was elected? This seventh scenario is the most far-fetched in my opinion.
I’m not saying Olbermann’s predictions are impossible. Stranger things have happened. I’m saying that the evidence is not yet sufficient in my eyes to say that those are the only paths nor is the evidence sufficient to say that those paths will inevitably results in his resignation or removal from office.
It’s not what I want and I know it’s not what a lot of my friends want to hear, but I think it is entirely within the bounds of reality for Trump to serve the totality of his first term.
Personally, I think the biggest threat to that outcome is not Mueller or impeachment, but Trump’s own boredom. He wouldn’t resign out of fear, but ennui. I can easily imagine him being annoyed and bored with being in the White House and suddenly just saying, “You know, I can do more to make America great again as a private citizen. I was able to get Obama out of the White House. I got Republicans to vote to repeal Obamacare several times. I was able to inspire the biggest political movement in the history of America. All from my Twitter account. The White House is actually standing in my way, so I am going turn the White House over to my good friend, a true patriot, Steve Bannon. I know it’s supposed to be Pence, but I don’t care. I do things the way I want. Steve Bannon is president now.” And then he orders a well-done steak with ketchup before climbing onto a jet to Mar-a-lago to finish a round of golf he swears he hasn’t finished since he was sworn in.
But, we’ll see! Maybe the GOP will try to reclaim their soul from Satan and toss Trump out. One can hope!