Shortly after Trump won the presidency an ignominious year ago, he stated that much of the election-year bombast had been just that. The rabble shouting “lock her up” at every rally had been dispersed, and when asked if he intended to prosecute Hillary Clinton, he said, “I don’t want to hurt the Clintons.”
That was before Flynn, Comey, Sessions, emoluments, Ivankawear, Charlottesville, Puerto Rico, LaDavid Johnson, several health care embarrassments, a reference to the “president of the Virgin Islands,” a tax plan to maintain the plutocracy, a predilection for the FSS over the CIA, Trump Jr. and WikiLeaks, and a hug from the murderer-president of the Philippines.
If I’ve omitted your personal favorite, it’s only because there are so many.
Now Trump is running scared. He’s a frightened little boy with lots of creepy-crawly things chasing him and with even his go-to allies wobbling a bit today. And he owes much of this new trouble to the creepiest and crawliest of them all: Roy Moore, a man whom Trump didn’t even support but in whose slime he’s mired.
Exacerbating that problem are those go-to allies. When Sean Hannity referred to Moore’s rape of a 14-year-old as consensual sex (he later said he misspoke) and Steve Bannon rushed to the aid of the sleazy Moore whom Bannon had groomed for the Senate, Trump found himself in the unenviable position of bucking up against his favorite sycophants or agreeing with the party he needs to pass his legislation. Trump may not like Mitch McConnell very much, but when the majority leader said, “I believe the women, yes,” he was calling out Bannon, Hannity, and maybe Trump himself.
And if all that isn’t even bad enough, let’s not forget Trump’s history as an abuser of women.
And so, to save his own neck he will attempt to persuade the Justice Department to go after Hillary Clinton for the uranium deal, for her emails, for the Clinton Foundation. A special counsel to offset the other special counsel. This is a new tack for America: we generally don’t try to imprison or persecute the people we defeat in an election. But Trump, philosophically, isn’t really an American—doesn’t subscribe to most of the freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, and doesn’t accept the fact that the Department of Justice is not the puppet of the president.
In truth Hillary Clinton’s involvement with the uranium deal was minuscule, and it was never 20% but closer to 2%. Russia buys its uranium from Kazakhstan, the emails were never more than a talking point, and so far the Clinton Foundation has been clean. We gave Bill Clinton a pass twenty years ago, and that was a mistake; but that’s the one area Trump can’t comfortably litigate, since he and Bill seem to have been cut from the same cloth.
Expect more panicky moves in the weeks to come—more whataboutism from Trump and his apologists. Impeachment may be a distant fantasy, but watching the president run from fire to fire is, if nothing else, amusing.