Donald Trump just got another spot of good news. The Supreme Court has cut him a break by taking up three cases directly relating to his financial records and will not resolve them until June 2020. So much for the prospect of his congressional invigilators quickly obtaining his records and embarrassing Trump or worse over his past financial transactions, including with Russia.
The Court’s decision offers a reminder that Trump, for all his shenanigans, has a well-oiled machine behind him that is determined, in one way or another, to ensure that he ends his term as he began it — unchallenged, unmolested and unbowed. In two weeks, when he kicks up his heels at Mar-a-Lago, his Southern White House, he should be able to golf and chill to his heart’s content. ‘It’s an abuse of power,’ Richard Painter, a former chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush told Newsweek. ‘It is really awful that he just doesn’t get it that this is not acceptable.’ Actually, he probably does. Like Melania with her Zara jacket, however, his motto is: ‘I really don’t care. Do u?’
This morning Trump displayed his insouciance to the Ukraine charges being lobbed at him by congressional Democrats in the most flagrant form possible by hosting his old chum Rudy Giuliani, he of the recent trip to Kiev, where he palled around with various dubious figures in search of yet more dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden.
For Democrats, who thought they had nabbed Trump, his Houdini-like ability not only to escape their traps and snares, but also to vaunt his prowess has turned them from tormentors into the tormented. They approached the Ukraine affair in a fashion similar to Sherlock Holmes trying to solve the mystery of a murder and missing horse in the tale ‘Silver Blaze’. As he rides in railway car with Watson, Holmes muses, ‘It is one of those cases where the art of the reasoner should be used rather for the sifting of details than for the acquiring of fresh evidence. The tragedy has been so uncommon, so complete and of such personal importance to so many people, that we are suffering from a plethora of surmise, conjecture, and hypothesis.’ In this instance, it’s as though Holmes had sifted the details, came up with what actually transpired — and then was confronted with a fresh round of surmise, conjecture and hypothesis that sought to obfuscate his careful detective work.
Perhaps the most adroit, or depending on your viewpoint, slippery, politician in the Republican orbit, however, is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. McConnell is not only responsible for helping to hoist Trump into the Oval Office by scotching the Merrick Garland nomination — a feat over which he chuckled long and hard as he proudly recalled it to Sean Hannity on Thursday night — but also is planning to limit the fallout from a Senate impeachment trial. He explained Hannity that there is zero distance between him and the White House when it comes to preparing for Trump’s trial, a revelation that prompted fresh indignation from Democrats who accused McConnell of abdicating his constitutional duties. This was a charge, in turn, that was surely bound to elicit a new round of merriment from McConnell. Still, in an intriguing op-ed in the Washington Post, the indefatigable duo of Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman contend that McConnell’s statement could hand Democrats an opening. Their argument is that if Democrats can persuade a few vulnerable GOP Senators to demand a fair process, then ‘Democrats could demand that the mountains of documents the administration refused to turn over to the House impeachment inquiry be admitted as evidence at the Senate trial.’ For all the complacent confidence exuded by McConnell, there may be a few unanticipated bumps on the Trump impeachment road.