As the impeachment inquiry heats up, Donald Trump continues to urge people to ‘read the transcript’ of his call with the Ukrainian president. His assumption is that if they did they would see that he did nothing impeachable.
What the White House issued last month is not actually a verbatim transcript of the call. Instead, as the White House fully admitted, it is a summary of the call. As the White House would like to present it.
The summary was still bad enough that the Democrats started an impeachment inquiry. But based on the summary, Trump is unlikely to be convicted by the Senate.
The problem for Trump is that the verbatim transcript will eventually come out. People are going to read it. Trump’s summary is going to look like a coverup. And coverups are what sink politicians.
Anyone who follows politics knows that when it comes to scandals, it is not the transgression that gets you, it’s the cover up. Nevertheless, politicians continue to cover things up rather than just admit to them, face the music and try to move on.
There was some reasonable expectation that Donald Trump would be different. After all, he was the one that claimed he could shoot someone in Times Square and still maintain his support. But it was not to be, and a few days ago Trump succumbed. He fired the FBI director, apparently for digging too deeply into his Russian connections.
By taking this extreme step that was clearly politically motivated, Trump likely achieves a number of unwanted objectives.
- He makes enemies of a whole bunch of FBI personnel that can hurt him with their investigations and, more importantly, their leaks.
- He gives the press renewed incentive to pursue the story
- He gives his enemies in congress more ammo that he is undemocratic
- He encourages more leaking by other members of the executive branch that disagree with politicizing the FBI
Inevitably, Trump’s Russian connections will be exposed. They could be around manipulating the election, they could be around his business empire being financed by Putins’ billionaire friends, they could be around his hotels getting sweetheart deals in Russia. There is a good chance it will be all of the above.
Whatever the connections turn out to be, they will not be the impeachable offense. That will be his efforts to cover them up.