As soon as he arrived at the White House, Donald Trump was quick to prove his incompetence and his ability to abuse his power. His presidency is surpassing itself in a slippery fashion with the new bombshell that he asked the director of the FBI to classify the investigation into Michael Flynn, briefly a national security adviser, who is guilty of having said too much to the Russians. The Trump presidency is showing signs of implosion.
Black Tuesday in the White House: The day began with the embarrassing revelations made the day before by The Washington Post — namely that Donald Trump had ostensibly handed over classified information on the armed Islamic State to Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov. It ended with a further, potentially more embarrassing leak: In February, Trump allegedly asked FBI Director James Comey, whom he sacked last week, to close his investigation into Flynn — who had to resign from his position on the influential National Security Council — for lying about the nature of his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States. “He’s a good person. I hope you can let this go,” Trump reportedly said.
Trump denies having pressured Comey. On Wednesday afternoon, he said no politician has been “treated more unfairly” than him.
Then, in the early evening in an unusually sensible gesture, if not by survival instinct, he finally resigned himself to having a special prosecutor, former FBI Director Robert Mueller, appointed to this case. The Democrats shout victory and rightly so.
In the short term, this story does not seem likely to disappear: First, because as Trump accumulates blunders he continues to add fuel to the fire concerning suspicions of electoral collusion between his entourage and Russian officials in order to damage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. Second, because his alleged intervention with Comey has all the appearances of an attempt to obstruct justice, which, in the American politico-legal world, is objectively subject to deposition.
For now, the revelations of the media, based on a source within the FBI, have not yet been formally verified. Part of this verification will come from the new special prosecutor and probably also from the upcoming testimony of Comey himself before Congress — which looks to be explosive.
Since doubts about Trump’s integrity were already very incriminating, it was inevitable that the word “deposition” would begin to circulate in Washington. It was, after all, following a serious accusation of obstructing justice that deposition proceedings were launched against presidents Richard Nixon in 1974 and Bill Clinton in 1998. In this case, as the procedure for dismissal is essentially a political rather than a judicial one, Trump benefits in principle from the leniency of the Republican-majority Congress, which was not the case for presidents Nixon and Clinton. However, this is in principle only, given the twisted nature of the relationship between Trump and the Republican Party.
American politics goes through moments of nonsense. Let’s move on to this scenario: What happens when Trump is removed and Vice President Mike Pence takes office in the Oval Office? A man of the system, ultra-religious, the antithesis of the progressive politician…This would amount to a confirmation of the conspiracy theory that had begun to be evoked the day after the election of Trump.
Correction (May 18, 2017): President Trump did not “resign himself to the appointment” of a special prosecutor in the investigation of Russia and the U.S. presidential election. This special prosecutor, Robert Mueller, former director of the FBI, was appointed independently by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. In fact, Trump was not made aware of the appointment until Rosenstein had made the decision. Our apologies.
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