Dear America,

A new chapter has been written in Donald's Adventures in Wonderland.  Once again he has viewed himself in the wrong side of the looking glass and seen nothing, thus gaining no insight.  Yesterday, he called the press in with their cameras and microphones to hear him petulantly upbraid the two Democratic leaders of congress, Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, neither of whom withered and shrank from confronting him.  As the small part of the fifteen minute publicly televised exchange progressed, it was clear that Trump's bluster was a losing strategy, at least in this context.  Pelosi was at least his rhetorical equal, and in what seemed to be the coup de grĂ¢ce, Schumer retorted to Trump's dubious boast about winning the 2020 midterms in The Senate that when he finds it necessary to brag about winning only North Dakota and Indiana, "he's in real trouble."

After the meeting debacle, Pelosi and Schumer talked to the press, and Schumer made a point that is more cogent than anything Trump can say about his avowed pride in shutting down the government if he doesn't get what he wants.  Schumer pointed out that of the $1.3 billion that the Democrats voted for and gave him last year for his border security, less than 6% of the money has yet been spent.  That fact might not mean much now, but if and when Trump shuts down the government, it will surely become the indictment that Trump's shut-down and the havoc and pain it causes will be just petulance in that he still doesn't know what to do with the vast bulk of what he has already been given as a concession.  In other words, if Trump shuts down the government, it will be his shut-down and there will be no one else to blame.  In baseball announcers used to say "Good-bye Mr. Spalding" when a home run got into the stands, but this time it will be "Good-bye 2020, Mr. Trump" when our president hits the biggest foul ball of his misguided political career.  And then there's the Russia inquiry.

It appears that Trump's lawyer, Michael Cohen, on whom our illustrious leader has turned demonstrating that loyalty is a one way street in Trumpland, is going to jail for awhile, and when he comes out, he will no longer be a lawyer, though he might be available to mow your lawn for you in the summer of 2021 or so.  And while it is just deserts for him given not just what he did during the campaign but what he has done as Trump's school-yard bully in all kinds of ways for years, Cohen may be creditable for putting Donald Trump on the short list of presidents who have been impeached, bringing the total to four from three.  If the charges against Trump include campaign finance violations, it will be Cohen who put them on the docket, but in the end, Donald Trump has no one to blame for his downfall, if it comes, other than himself.

It seems to me that the most powerful ground for impeaching and convicting Trump never gets mentioned anymore: obstruction of justice.  You may recall that, while Richard Nixon had nothing to do with the Watergate burglary, he was impeached by the house judiciary committee and referred to The Senate for trial over his obstruction of the Watergate investigation, including the "Saturday Night Massacre" and his conspiracy with White House cronies to impede the investigation in other ways.  In Trump's case, everyone seems to have forgotten the letter he drafted for his son to sign telling the New York Times that there had been a meeting in Trump Tower attended by his son, but it didn't involve the campaign.  That claim was later amended to admit that the meeting involved politically motivated ostensible revelations about Hillary Clinton.  The letter was written roughly contemporaneously with Donald Trump's public enjoinder to the Russians to release what purported to be 30,000 emails Clinton had purged from her private server, and then the release of emails by Wikileaks, which got them from Russian sources.  Also never mentioned is Trump's admission that his firing of James Comey, a weasel in his own right, because he wouldn't relent on the Russia investigation: an admission made to Lester Holt on the NBC evening news and to Russian diplomats when they visited Trump later on.

We'll see how this all plays out soon.  My guess is that the Mueller team is already drafting its report to the Department of Justice regarding all of it, including obstruction of justice.  The irony may be that the obstruction is the only thing Trump did, and if he had just kept his mouth shut, none of this would be happening.  Of course, Trump still has a voice and two thumbs to tweet with, so not to worry if what has already happened doesn't amount to the proverbial "smoking gun."  He never learns, and there's still plenty of time for him to shoot himself in the foot with one.

Your friend,

Mike

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