It is a bit difficult to swallow, but I think that Sam Stein may be right. Jim Comey’s testimony will damage Donald Trump further but is not likely — on its own — to lead to Trump’s impeachment.
I am not saying that it SHOULD not. I strongly believe that it should. Trump obstructed justice – an impeachable offense. Allowing that to go unpunished sets a standard that we will regret. And the dude has done a lot of other stuff. Add them up and you get a very ugly score card — even a self-imposed reduction in the status of the US as a world power. But the reality is that the Republicans control both houses of Congress and are still not ready to throw Trump overboard. They cling to the belief that this will all blow over and they will be almost ok in the 2018 elections.
Are they right? No one knows. But several things are relatively clear. More important than Jim Comey testifying, Republicans were traumatized when took a nasty hit with Trump-Care. As they go forward, they are not likely to do anything else that stupid. They are more likely to play rope a dope, and limp to 2018, hoping to claim that they acted reasonably to avoid the worst of Trump while fending off wild eyed Democrat socialists.
Will that sell? If the Russia investigations produce no smoking gun, it just might. Without a link to Trump directing collusion with the GRU, the investigations may go down in history like the Iran/Contra scandal- weird, stupid, and eventually forgotten. That could be true even if Flynn, Manifort, and others end up getting three square meals a day courtesy of a fedeal pen for a few years If Trump is not pegged as a Russian poodle, Republicans may try to blame the Democrats for a witch hunt that ruined their chances of getting anything done. Ugly? For sure. But not that much uglier than shutting down the government and reducing the country’s credit rating because of the debt ceiling. Yes, they did that and we have largely forgotten.
BTW, we have other issues pending. How will the economy perform? Will there be a major terror attack in the US? Will Trump start a war somehwere? Will Trump get caught with his hand in the cookie jar?
And we have the wild card that is Trump himself. He has demonstrated that he cannot control his emotions, especially anger. This might lead to new scandals and crisis that cannot be predicted. But Trump is likely to be more and more isolated as his poll numbers shrivel further. Radioactive is the right word. So his ability to move the debate will be limited. His effect will be limited.
And what will the dems do? So far they have played the outraged spouse. That is in tune with their energized base. But is it enough to take back the House in 2018? To be sure, they need an issue that goes beyond Trump in order to get people to the polls. Remember – Republicans do well when there is low voter turnout. So what is it? The Paris Agreement? As much as I think the Paris Agreement was important, I don’t think so.
This is not a pretty picture. But it is my best guess about how American will be governed over the next several years. Helmets on!
And if you do not like this picture – get involved!