Trump seems to be doing an awfully good job at implicating himself very clearly in impeachable offenses. You really couldn’t write this stuff. When accused of attempting to bribe Ukraine with a quid pro quo involving military hardware and investigating and digging up dirt on Joe Biden and his son, Trump released the transcript of the telephone conversation with the Ukrainian president in an attempt to show his innocence. However, the transcript does the exact opposite.
Since that moment, Trump has been in implosion mode, giving completely deranged press conferences and falling apart in public view.
One interesting strategy that has been employed by Trump – and I use strategy very cautiously here because there is a strong chance it is completely accidental and without any clear forethought – is to drag other people around him into his mess. This has included Mike Pompeo and the VP Mike Pence. There is actually potentially a very clever strategy in attempting to implicate Mike Pence in the same scandal by saying that everyone should check out the phone calls that Pence has had with the Ukrainian president as well. There is a definite chance that the Senate could impeach Trump, even if it is somewhat unlikely due to the proportion needed and the fact that it is still controlled by the Republicans. However, there has been a definite shift in public opinion on impeachment, including a growing movement amongst Republican voters that impeachment is warranted. The same can be said for the opinions of Republican politicians as well, even if it is somewhat less public.
Why this strategy is particularly clever is because if Trump can implicate Pence in this scandal as well then the Senate is far less likely to seek impeachment proceedings because this will mean that both Trump and Pence will go down, leaving Nancy Pelosi to be US President. And this is something that Republican politicians will simply not accept. So where some politicians are starting to grumble and shift their opinions and desires around impeachment, if Pence is implicated, then their opinions and desires will shift right back into not impeaching Trump for the fear of handing Pelosi the presidency on a plate.
Simply put, if it is indeed a conscious strategy, Trump is implicating Pence as a way of inoculating himself against impeachment. At the end of the day, morality plays second fiddle to power, and if the Republicans see impeaching Trump as the morally right thing to do, as I’m sure most of them secretly do, then this will clearly be trumped by the notion that it could lose them the presidency and their seats of power.
Good move, Trump, good move. Probably completely accidental, but good move nonetheless.