I’m back again on Trump’s most recent impeachable offense unless there’s been another one as I type. Given that the Comey memos are…highly unlikely to work in Trump’s favor, the Republicans have no good political options:
Needless to say, Democrats immediately called for the Comey memos to be released. To show how serious the scandal is, however, House Oversight Committee Jason Chaffetz is also planning to subpeona all documents relating to the Comey/Trump meetings. That even Chaffetz — who all but declared he would be Trump’s poodle after conducting two years of Hillary Clinton snipe hunts — feels compelled to investigate Trump, or to at least create the appearance of investigating Trump, shows what political danger the Republicans are in.
At this point, however, Chaffetz — who isn’t running in 2018 — remains the exception rather than the rule. Republican legislators continue to limit themselves to vague assertions of being “troubled.” And there’s a reason for this: Republicans have created a monster. While Trump’s never-good approval ratings are tumbling among the population as a whole, he remains very popular with the Republican base: According to a Quinnipiac poll, 84 percent of Republican voters think Trump’s first 100 days in office have been a success. Unless he becomes much less popular with Republican voters, acting to remove Trump would tear the party apart. And this is unlikely to happen — historically partisanship has been surprisingly resilient to even the biggest scandals, and defections have generally come from the kind of moderates who are virtually extinct in today’s GOP.
Politically, then, Republicans have no good options for dealing with a president who is grossly unfit for office. And James Comey, whose actions may well have put Trump in the White House, might also be responsible for the political implosion of his presidency.
Most Republicans are perfectly well aware of Trump’s monumental unfitness. But the Republican base is still hearing about how Trump scandals are fake news and Crooked Hillary from people like “ex-journalist Tucker Carlson”:
Tucker Carlson nailed it tonight, you guys. pic.twitter.com/onRIdGjBF2
— Molly Knight (@molly_knight) May 17, 2017
To be clear, although I don’t think removal from office is imminent, I endorse Paul’s epistemological modesty as to how this will all eventually play out. This is all sui generis.