The sitting President of the United States has been caught committing serious crimes to rig the election in his favor, and then committing more crimes while trying to cover it up. The prosecutors have him all but nailed for obstruction of justice. The president is only left with no-win options. His popular support is weak and his own party is still trying to prop him up, but wary that a few more blows and it’ll become impossible. Donald Trump is now living Richard Nixon’s endgame nightmare, but the outcome is less predictable, because even Nixon wasn’t this mentally unstable.
Welcome to 2018, or 1974 revisited if you like. Trump now has his back against the wall. There are days where he appears to understand that, and days where he’s lost in a delusional haze, but the bottom line is that he’s not getting past this. Maybe he’ll agree to testify for Robert Mueller. Maybe he’ll tell the truth, which would incriminate him. Maybe he’ll lie, which would also incriminate him. Maybe he’ll plead the Fifth, which would incinerate what’s left of his presidency. We have no idea what he’ll do, because even he keeps changing his mind out loud.
We do know, however, that we’re entering a period of chaos. We can see it just from how rapidly the endgame moves are surfacing. Everyone from Trump’s current Attorney General and current CIA Director, to his former FBI Director and his former Acting Attorney General, have all testified about him for the Special Counsel. People like Rick Gates, who didn’t want a deal, now suddenly want a deal, because they know it’s now or never.
All of the players in this scandal are trying to figure out how to play chess in a manner which keeps them from going to prison, and at the center of it all is a mentally deranged “President” who is intent on playing Hungry Hungry Hippos. Deals and confessions and accusations and incriminations will now be the norm. Revelations and bombshells will now land daily, as everyone jockeys for position. Donald Trump’s remaining allies will launch whatever feeble or not-so-feeble counterattack they’ve been saving for the very end. Then we’ll find out that Mueller has had an entire deck of aces up his sleeve all along.
We don’t know precisely what will come next, both because this guy is too unstable, and because when the last guy was in this situation, this was roughly the point at which he quit. Nixon had the sense to understand that he wouldn’t survive the obstruction charges. He knew it was about to finish him politically, so he bailed. What would have happened if Nixon had refused to resign, and he were five times crazier and ten times stupider? Welcome to 2018. Trump will go down in the end. But it’s all chaos from here on in until he does.
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Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report