(1) Trump commits an egregiously impeachable offense (shaking down a foreign country’s government by personally threatening to illegally withhold military aid if the government doesn’t smear a leading political opponent by announcing a phony investigation into a ginned-up “scandal.”). He does this after months of having his personal attorney and others pursue the same tactic, more or less out in the open.
(2) A government whistleblower alerts the appropriate authorities of this development, who then alert Congress per the appropriate procedural channels.
(3) Trump then releases a bowdlerized summary of the call, which is still extremely damning, although no doubt far less damning than an actual transcript would be.
(4) Trump then continues to call on both Ukraine and other foreign governments to investigate Joe Biden.
(5) Lots of new evidence emerges that the whistleblower’s complaint was accurate, although all this is pretty superfluous, given (3).
(6) Trump then starts gaslighting furiously, demanding over and over again that people “read the transcript” (narrator’s voice: it’s not a transcript) of this perfect phone call that exonerates him (narrator’s voice: it doesn’t). He also smears the various high government officials who confirm the whistleblower’s complaint, while launching a vendetta against the whistleblower.
So: There’s not the slightest doubt that Trump is guilty of precisely what he’s been accused of doing in the Ukraine matter, and that what he’s accused of doing was really, really bad.
(7) The right-wing media machine goes into full denial and obfuscation mode, throwing up bizarre conspiracy theories about how this is all a George Soros-funded plot etc. (This is being pushed on Fox News, not Some Blog Somewhere).
(8) The legacy centrist media are required by The Broder-Roberts Universal Coverage Protocols to treat all this as a “debate” between two equally valid viewpoints, regarding the controversy [sic] about whether Trump has committed an impeachable offense. To reference a point that I’ve seen commenter Denverite make, this is roughly analogous to the way sports broadcasters are required to cover Saturday’s Ohio State-Rutgers college football game as if it were a legitimately competitive sporting contest, as opposed to something that we already know ahead of time will closely resemble a burly Canuck clubbing a baby seal to death upon the incarnadine Arctic ice. Or perhaps the announcers at a WWE Steel Cage Death Match would be a better analogy. Or those at a Harlem Globetrotters-Washington Generals fixture.
The point is that something that is one thing (a public discussion of Trump’s already-established impeachable conduct) has to be talked about as if it were some very different thing (an “investigation” into whether that conduct in fact occurred), because those are, apparently, The Rules.
(9) I’m too lazy to try to put this point better than my friend Steve:
The GOP will answer with a thousand random bits of noise each of which will get a sober hearing in the NYT and on CNN. [See 8 above] Trump will continue to simultaneously insist that he never pressured Ukraine and that he was right to do so. He will continue to ooze crimes from his pores. His basic inarguable guilt will drift into becoming boring old news. Media critics will comment on how the Dems need a totally in your face outrageous new paradigm.
This last stage will feature Murc’s Law, but on a dose of steriods that would make Barry Bonds look like Kate Moss.