“We hereby assert that Donald J. Trump, in conjunction with the Russian Federation, engaged in a wide-spread conspiracy against the United States of America, in order to facilitate his election to the office of president.”
Ok, maybe it’s not the exact language Robert Mueller would use if he decides to indict the sitting president of the United States. But, for argument’s sake … close enough. The point here is not to debate whether a president can be indicted. Countless pundits and legal experts will debate that issue in the days and months ahead.
No, the point here is to look at the indictment itself and wonder what, if any effect it would have on Trump’s rabid base and Republican members of Congress.
Here’s a hint: none.
Up to now, all we can do is speculate what Mueller will include in his findings. It sure seems as though the walls are closing in on the president. But, we just don’t know for sure. Things are still fluid. The investigation is ongoing and just when you think it’s close to winding down, we see other avenues opening up.
And through all the indictments and prison sentences Mueller has secured thus far, the Republican Party and his base of support remain solidly behind this president. His supporters on Twitter are still pointing fingers at Hillary Clinton. Senators such as the retiring Orin Hatch or Chuck Grassley continue to run interference for him. The blind loyalty is even worse in the House of Representatives.
Many of the talking heads on television espouse their beliefs that eventually, if the evidence is so overwhelming against Trump, the Republican Party will do the right thing. Why they think this is not clear. Perhaps it’s predicated on the belief that their patriotic duty, enshrined in the oath of office they take when sworn in, will win out in the long run.
Good luck with that.
Anyone who pays attention to the political world knows that if the shoe were on the other foot … if it were a Democrat being accused and engulfed in so many controversies … impeachment would have been a far-gone conclusion already. Hell, even half of what Trump has been accused of would have been enough if it were a Democrat. After all, it’s only been 20 years since they tried to remove Bill Clinton from office, and that was because he lied about an affair in the White House. The allegations surrounding Trump are much worse. And it seems like we’re barely touching the surface as to his potential legal liability.
We can’t know for sure if the majority of Americans would be on board with removing Trump from office, if Mueller produces overwhelming evidence implicating him with crimes. The bet here is that they would. If it appears that Trump committed acts that were close to, if not actual treason, how could any reasonable person think otherwise?
Of course the operative word here is ‘reasonable.’ We know that much of the Trump base is averse to such reason. Their loyalty seems to grow firmer as the days go by. And we can be sure that once Democrats takeover as the majority in the House of Representatives in January, every investigation or inquiry will be deemed a ”witch hunt” or presidential “harassment.” The Fox News spin-machine can’t wait.
Mueller’s ‘indictment’ hasn’t happened yet … but it might. Or, perhaps a recommendation of impeachment at the very least. Regardless, we should all prepare ourselves for either outcome. We should also prepare for the inevitable outrage from those on the right. Even the embattled Richard Nixon, nearing his resignation in August, 1974, had the support of close to 50% of Republicans.
We should expect nothing less were the same thing to happen to Trump. In fact, it wouldn’t be unreasonable to think that Trump would far surpass Nixon as far as Republican job approval goes … treason or no treason.
If we get a presidential indictment and the evidence is overwhelming, we hope that the Republican leadership would act accordingly. In a perfect world, Senators Lindsay Graham, Mitch McConnell, or maybe even the aforementioned Chuck Grassley, would walk into the oval office and say “Mr. President, your time is up sir. Mr. Mueller has spoken, and you must resign.”
Yes … it’s what they should do. It’s not what they will do.