President Trump, Two Months, Thirty Three Percent discussed on The Economist: The Intelligence


It's been even two weeks since Democrats I launched impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump the actions of the trump presidency revealed dishonorable fabric of the presence trail of his oath of office retrial of our national security and betrayal the integrity of our elections therefore today I'm in the House of Representatives moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry the inquiry began following allegations that Mr trump withheld military aid from Ukraine and on the condition of investigating the son of Joe Biden a Democratic presidential contender Mr trump mounted a belligerent and chaotic defense of his actions while still applying with the process wasting your time on a you know let's use the word they used to use a lot a manufactured crisis but this week the administration in announced it would no longer participate in the proceedings and we refuse to respond to subpoena requests the Democrats have said they'll press ahead regardless although they'll know longer be able to interview key State Department witnesses yesterday Mr Biden threw his weight behind the proceedings in view of the world and the American people Donald Trump is violated his oath of office betrayed this nation committed impeachable acts the conflict sets the stage were constitutional showdown on Tuesday cat simple leany who's one of the White House lawyer sent a letter to Congress essentially saying that the White House not cooperating with the impeachment inquiry John Azmin our Washington correspondent he called it an effort to overturn the two thousand sixteen election and he said that it was unconstitutional but the trump administration and Mr trump have have stonewalled investigations before is this is this a markedly different deal this time around well it is different in framing if not in actuality he has blocked people from testifying before members of his cabinet have refused subpoena request to turn over documents this essentially says overtly we're not playing this game anymore so what happens and he can just do that ignore Pena I mean I have have we seen this kind of behavior before Donald Trump has done a lot of things in his brief political career that make people can he do that and he's always just done them so the answer is to can he do that as he has done it what does it mean is the question and so that's unclear as with so much elsewhere in fairly unchartered waters here but I mean what happens on from a procedural point view if if essentially this entire investigation can be ignored can be batted away so this May force impeachment votes sooner rather than later Nancy Pelosi said she wanted it done by the end of the year what he is essentially doing is overtly obstructing an inquiry that he deems to be unconstitutional no but it provides a predicate for obstruction vote on each men right now they seem to have decided that the house is probably going to vote to impeach him anyway and if that's going to happen they want to take the medicine now rather than at the end of two months of hearings the garnered public attention they have recommended the framing is better if if they take the impeachment vote now they'll be able to say oh you know you're just impeaching him for being president he didn't do anything that was that wrong whereas if you had two months of witnesses and testimony you allow the Democrats to essentially build a publication impeachment and to air out a lot of things that would be used against him the twenty twenty campaign and so how have Democrats responded to this ploy it strengthens their arguments certainly from go perspective but the thing is impeachment is a political process not illegal one so I have to think that if the White House continues to stonewall if the White House is going to block testimony from anyone can then that does somewhat reduced their ability to build a strong public narrative and to that end what what do the public think about it so far so public polling has shown much stronger support for impeaching the president at this point in the inquiry then existed either for Richard Nixon or for Bill Clinton at similar points in their impeachment process but the narrative has always been that there is nothing that will shake the faith of the base in President Trump and everything can be swatted away with claims of witch hunts and coups and the like do you think that there is any chance of that needle moving. I think that his base his really sort of his bed rock level of support is there with him whatever happens the problem is that's not enough to win an election and so you know even when Richard Nixon was removed from office thirty three percent of the country still supported him and said I shouldn't leave so president trump is probably looking at a slightly higher number than that as his bedrock base but it's not that much higher than just that number alone isn't enough to win reelection the other Nation for two thousand twenty elections is Republicans that are currently in the Senate who basically the calculation has been that they would stand with Mr Trump so as not to frustrate their prospects for twenty twenty at what point do you think that Calculus may change well that's the question right I think that Republicans are Senate first of all in order to remove him from office you need Twenty the senators to cross the aisle that's vanishingly unlikely it is probably somewhat more likely to happen after two months of public testimony and of reporters pointing out the latest thing that the latest witness said Mr Trump did and asking US senator do you think this is acceptable behavior I think the short of the ingred probably four shortens the possibility that lots and lots the senators will cross the aisle but you still have a number of senators up for reelection in states that are purple right you have Cory Gardner in Colorado yes Susan Collins in Maine Thom Tillis North Carolina Linux Martha mcsally in Arizona Jones Ioan those five could end up voting for impeachment in ways that sort of save them with the more moderate public in their states but still prevent the president from actually being removed from office so your suggestion is that this ploy prevents the most damaging stuff coming out and therefore preventing that sort of you know the problem we saw for instance in the in the aftermath of the the the the Nixon story that people who stood with the president even when things got really bad they didn't come out well in history yes exactly this the four shortening of this inquiry reduces the chances that something like that will happen as we've talked about the trump administration and allegations of wrongdoing and various political ploys that break norms and what have you that the discussion has always been the country's institutions are robust enough and essentially everything is fine with the bedrock democracy of America when you have if this situation and this sort of politicization of a question of potential serious wrongdoing is hard to hold that line don't you think it does get harder to hold line a number of times you've had commentators on the left assert that we are in a constitutional crisis when we haven't been since the firing of Jim Komi the president has the right to fire the FBI director that was not constitutional crisis I think we are now in a genuine constitutional crisis in that the White House has essentially cast all congressional oversight power as legitimate it has decided that it is the the White House's positions essentially that the president cannot be indicted while he's a sitting president he cannot be invest getting a criminal investigation so the White House officials vision is that president trump is above the law that is a genuine constitutional problem John Thank you very much for joining us my pleasure Jason.

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