Donald Trump’s impeachment by the House of Representatives is all but inevitable at this point. His administration is proving completely incapable of mounting a credible defense, largely because there isn’t one to be had. We now know for certain that Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for a “favor” after suspending hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to the war-torn country and that he tried to convince Zelensky to launch an investigation into Joe Biden and his son ahead of the 2020 election.
This single corrupt act alone represents a flagrant abuse of the Oval Office and a cut-and-dry case for impeachment. The Democrats’ inquiry will proceed, the facts will be meticulously laid out, and the president’s case will almost assuredly land in the Senate, at which point every Republican senator will be faced with a historic decision: side with democracy and free elections or follow the worst president in American history into eternal ignominy.
The administration’s failure to provide any kind of legitimate rationalization for Trump’s Ukraine conversation is sure to make things more difficult for those in the GOP leaning towards throwing their lot in with the president. They have nothing to cling to and have been reduced to spinning out convoluted conspiracy theories and lies.
Now, the Trump team has wheeled out perhaps its most ridiculous, self-satirizing argument to date. The Washington Post’s Spencer Hsu reports via Twitter that Trump’s Justice Department has asked Chief U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell to shut down a request from the House Judiciary Committee for Mueller grand jury documents on some truly incredible grounds. They argue that in 1974, during the height of Nixon’s Watergate scandal, the courts made a mistake in ruling in favor of Congress, eventually leading to President Nixon’s impeachment inquiry.
According to NBC News, the attorneys for the Judiciary Committee argue that the Mueller grand jury documents are crucial to discerning Trump’s impeachable guilt as it relates to Russian election interference and obstruction of justice. The DOJ insists that the House is pursuing improper means of acquiring the documents in question. From there, Trump’s surrogates dove into truly crazy waters by bringing up the 1974 decision by a D.C. District Court judge to deliver grand jury materials to Congress as part of the Watergate investigation.
Judge Howell asked if the DOJ now disagreed with the 1974 decision.
“The answer would be that if that same case came today, a different result would be obtained,” responded the DOJ attorney.
“Wow, OK. As I said, the department is taking extraordinary positions in this case,” said Judge Howell.
That’s right. The Trump team’s defense seems to now be that the disgraced Nixon administration was treated unfairly all those years ago. They actually believe that they are somehow going to manage to rewrite history and save Trump from the same humiliating fate as Tricky Dick. When your presidency has been reduced to literally relitigating Watergate you know you’ve officially hit rock bottom, drilled through, and plummeted to the Earth’s core.
“Wow, O.K.,” responded U.S. Chief District Judge Beryl A. Howell of Washington, D.C., sounding unpersuaded. “As I said, the department is taking an extraordinary position in this case.”
— Spencer Hsu (@hsu_spencer) October 8, 2019
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Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.