The odds are no better than even that Trump will be president at the end of this year. I don’t say that lightly because I’m cautious by nature. But I also trust my instincts and they tell me Trump’s closer to the cliff than even the most virulent anti-Trumpers think. My reasoning is simple. Trump’s gotten himself into enough trouble that his presidency won’t survive without a bare-knuckled brawl. However, he’s a bully and like all bullies, he’ll back down from a real fight. He’ll resign.
I reached that conclusion on the morning of May 17 as I listened to the Mike Gallagher radio show. (Listening to right-wing talk radio tells you all you need to know about the right’s state on mind.) Gallagher and a guest were discussing why Trump is not guilty of obstruction of justice for firing James Comey because Trump was afraid that the FBI investigation of Russian interference in our 2016 election would show collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians. A conservative pro-Trump radio host who feels the need to explain why Trump didn’t commit a crime is like a husband who comes home at 4:30 am and tells his wife he was out feeding the homeless.
Trump’s approaching just the five month mark of his presidency (For brevity, let’s ignore everything up through May 15) and in the last two weeks alone he’s fired the FBI director and revealed clandestine information to the Russians. A president has the authority to fire an FBI director and can tell pretty much whatever information he wants to whomever he wants but when he does those things there are going to be questions about and suspicion of his reasons. Trump doesn’t understand that because it’s been too long since he’s had to answer to anyone and he doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. Those are not qualities for a successful presidency.
Based on what’s now known it’s unlikely that Trump has committed any crimes before or after he became president. The reasons are too complicated to explain here and I bring it up to explain what actually bothers Trump. A look into Trump’s dealings with Russia will likely show that he has some conflict-of-interest business arrangements with Russia that will raise more than a few eyebrows. That’s why Trump fears an FBI investigation.
Trump’s biggest problem in this fight is leaks from his White House staff. Given his mercurial temperament and superiority complex it’s very likely that the staffers who deal with him every day resent the verbal abuse they are subjected to and are playing payback. Who else could have told the media about Trump’s revealing highly classified intelligence to the Russian Foreign Minister and Russian Ambassador. Once James Comey publicly testifies about his discussions with President Trump more leaks will come from anonymous White House sources supporting Comey’s testimony that Trump demanded Comey’s personal loyalty and asked that Comey derail the investigation of possible connections between Trump and Russia. A president whose own inner circle dislikes him isn’t going to win a fight with them.
Trump’s other quandary is that the Republicans in the house and senate won’t try to rescue him. They have never liked or trusted Trump. They accepted him only to use him to appoint right-wing judges and cut taxes and they know they’ll get those from President Pence. When Trump goes overboard, they’ll throw him an anchor to minimize their losses in the 2018 elections. Nor will a martyr act save Trump. Railing against media and establishment elites will grow stale when people discover that Trump has no intention of draining the swamp. A billionaire who avoided paying taxes for eighteen years isn’t going to change the system that let him do that. When the American people realize that Trump’s not only a buffoon but a fraud, he’ll run away.
Dick Graham is a lawyer, political writer/operative and raconteur. He is a mix of Oscar Wilde and Jeff Foxworthy which is what happens when someone from Zanesville goes to college and law school.