Former Trump adviser Hope Hicks “testified” in a closed-door hearing yesterday in Congress, which is to say she showed up and refused to answer questions, claiming blanket immunity.  It’s the same claim former White House Counsel Don McGahn made, and it’s a laughably absurd position that doesn’t hold legal water.  But it will delay any investigation by Congress for a few more weeks, which is what Trump is aiming for.  He won’t win in court, but the court process will take a while and he’s hoping he can keep stalling and putting off any meaningful oversight until well into his 2020 campaign.

The Hicks-McGahn situation is exactly why it’s important for the House to begin impeachment hearings.  Trump’s blanket stonewalling will only start to crack once impeachment begins.  The process of impeachment carries expanded powers for Congress, and allows a greater urgency for courts to settle arising disputes, making it easier for substantial disclosure and testimony sooner rather than later.

The polls have been consistent for months.  Trump’s core cult members will never abandon him, but he also won’t gain any voters with campaign rallies that have become orgies of hatred, grievance and cruelty.  He’s a deeply polarizing president and the real question for 2020 will be what percentage of the Democratic base can be motivated to turn out at the voting booth.  Impeachment won’t deter Democrats from voting, but the impeachment process may uncover enough damning information that it will motivate more Democrats to vote than otherwise would.  If we don’t have a sense of desperate urgency in 2020, we will be screwed.

An insightful and withering critique of the Trump presidency was published yesterday in the New York Times by conservative Peter Wehner, detailing how Trump has absorbed the Republican party and how he will campaign in 2020.  (Today’s blog title was lifted from a Pete Buttigieg quote in the editorial!)  It’s required reading.  Here’s an excerpt:

…in their ferocious defense of the president, Trump supporters are signaling that decency is a form of weakness, that cruelty is a welcome and highly effective political weapon and that the low road is the preferred road. At one point, Republicans were willing to tolerate Mr. Trump’s brutish tactics and reprehensible character as the price of party loyalty; today many of them seem to relish it. They see the dehumanization of others as a form of entertainment.

All of this has come at a crushing price, including driving away young people in huge numbers. The Trump ascendancy has made far too many Republicans increasingly contemptuous of serious intellectual and policy argument, indifferent to empirical truth and disdainful of governing. They prefer to turn politics into an ongoing freak show. But the greater price is the indelible stain all this places on the integrity of a party many of us once believed in, served in and took pride in.

Here’s a link:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/19/opinion/trump-2020-announcement.html

We can’t let insane campaign rallies distract us from the awful actions of this administration.  We can’t let the dishonesty and destruction of norms sour our pursuit of a better America.  We can’t succumb to the exhaustion of chaos and scandal.  And we can’t let the hatred, grievance and bullying of the Trump cult shake our determination to vote Trump out of office.  

Keep resisting and keep working to “vote his ass out of office.”

 

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