On the same day last week, The New York Times editorial page and The New Yorker magazine used the same word to reach the same conclusion: Both declared that President Trump was self-impeaching.
They insisted the president’s public invitation for China as well as Ukraine to investigate Joe and Hunter Biden was making it easier for Democrats to draw up impeachment articles. Both publications were horrified at Trump’s gall, with The New Yorker lamenting his lack of “restraints” and the Times bemoaning his “assault on democratic norms.”
Naughty boy, tsk, tsk.
My point is not to suggest that the erudite newspaper and the even more erudite magazine are word-challenged. Far from it.
Rather, they are thought-challenged. When it comes to Trump, neither has had a new thought in four years.
Their “Groundhog Day” is that a brash billionaire comes down an escalator with his third wife in a glitzy Manhattan high-rise with his name on it and has the nerve to say he’s going to be president. They ridiculed him then and, nearly three years into his presidency, they’re still ridiculing him.
Nov. 8, 2016, is their nightmare that never ends. Blinded by hatred, they don’t try to hide their contempt for him and his supporters.
None of this would matter if two elite publications were shouting in the wilderness. In fact, the Times and The New Yorker very much reflect — and help shape — the mindset of the Democratic Party.
As such, they illustrate how far anti-Trumpers have strayed into the impeachment wilderness. After Robert Mueller failed to deliver the promised goods, the left and their media handmaidens foolishly seized on the Ukraine issue in the hope it could be spun into impeachment gold.
To judge by the look of things so far, they’re getting more dross than gold. The bid to take down the president is off to a rocky start.
Recall that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi accused Trump of requesting foreign help in his re-election campaign and assured skeptics it was a clear violation that was serious and easy for the public to understand. She wanted a quick inquiry and is resisting calls for a floor vote, believing she could avoid the formality of putting vulnerable Dems on the spot.
But a funny thing — several funny things — are happening on the way to clarity, simplicity and speed.
The lack of an obvious quid pro quo in the phone call transcript was the first blow to Pelosi’s plan. Trump never mentioned withholding military aide, and reports say Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wasn’t even aware of a delay.
Moreover, Zelensky said publicly he did not feel pressured to open an investigation into the Bidens. That puts both the quid and the quo on shaky ground.
Even the expected holy grail of text messages and testimony show that some American officials had different interpretations of the president’s intent, which muddles any possible sense of certainty. Impeachment based on mere opinion, often just a reflection of partisanship, cannot possibly win broad public support in a country so polarized.
The impeachers also blundered on the Joe Biden issue in Ukraine. By denouncing Trump for requesting an investigation, they make it appear they don’t want to know whether Biden corrupted his vice presidency to enrich his son. In effect, they inadvertently exposed the former veep’s soft underbelly while telling the public to ignore it.
Good luck with that. Trump smells blood, and his slashing away could be the death knell of Biden’s campaign, leaving the Dems further divided and possibly damaging the eventual nominee.
The media’s lack of curiosity about Biden is also revealing. Journalists are supposed to have insatiable appetites for scandal, and here is a potentially huge one hiding in plain sight, yet nobody’s interested.
Of course, giving Biden a pass is the flip side of the media’s fetish for seeing a scandal in every breath Trump takes. Bizarrely, they see his call for a probe of the Bidens and Ukraine’s role in the 2016 spying on his campaign as proof of his own guilt.
If those were the only problems, impeachment would be a very hard sell. But there are others, too.
They include Rep. Adam Schiff being the grand inquisitor. His obsession with nailing Trump removes any pretense of fair play, and he compounded it with his dishonesty over when he first learned about the CIA agent’s complaint.
The idea that the agent is a genuine whistleblower is a threshold test of credibility, and, thanks in part to Schiff, legitimate doubts are growing. The inspector general’s finding that the agent showed “arguable political bias” and supported a “rival political candidate” can’t be ignored.
Then, too, Schiff’s early touting of the complaint on Twitter, long before he said he saw the document, suggests the whistleblower may be part of a partisan putsch.
Indeed, one way to read the entire episode is that it is a continuation of the scandalous CIA-FBI attempt to block Trump from winning the White House, and then drive him out of office. My guess is that the more we learn about the agent’s connection to Democrats, the less credible he and they will be.
Finally, there are early signs of a public backlash against Pelosi. Her decision to try to undo the 2016 election on such a slender thread and under suspect circumstances is motivating Trump and his supporters.
As the president told me about the daily combat, “It sounds strange to say I’m energized, but I love it, I love it.”
His fundraising set a record haul of $125 million and the surge of 50,000 small donors was especially impressive.
To be sure, we are in the early innings of what is certain to be a months-long slog. The momentum will shift frequently, and the outcome is unpredictable.
However, I got a glimpse of a worst-case scenario for Dems at a recent gathering with 10 friends. All New Yorkers, about half have been supporters of the president.
While nearly that many believe the president will be impeached by the House, none thinks he will be convicted by the Senate.
Here’s the real shocker: All 10 believe he will be re-elected.
Reader Ruth Cohen, Maryland, consoles Bernie Sanders after his health scare. She writes:
“Dear Bernie, you need not worry about going bankrupt because of your medical procedure. Thanks to capitalism, you are now worth $5 million, far more than the majority of medical staff giving you the best of care.
“And even if you were not Bernie Sanders, you would still get the best of medical care.”
Special salute to hero
Here’s how NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill eulogized officer Brian Mulkeen, killed by friendly fire while trying to arrest a gang member. May O’Neill’s words remain in the hearts of every New Yorker.
“He did his job and didn’t think twice about it. Because he was a cop — and cops are special people.”
Rest in peace.
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