Imagine a game in which you and an opponent are simultaneously playing chess on five different boards. For your opponent to win this game, he has to win all five boards. For you to win this game, you only have to win one of the five boards. If you and your opponent are even remotely evenly matched, you’re going to feel pretty good about your chances, right? That’s the scenario House Democrats are facing in their battle to investigate and expose Donald Trump’s crimes.
House Democrats are now fighting procedural and legal battles to get their hands on Donald Trump’s financial records from the U.S. Treasury, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan Chase, Mazars, and Capital One. Trump is taking legal action to try to block all five avenues. He’ll probably succeed when it comes to the Treasury. He’ll almost certainly fail in his attempts at telling the four financial institutions what they’re allowed to do with documents in their possession.
But the point is, the Democrats only need to win one of these five battles, and voila, they’ve instantly got their hands on a treasure trove of Donald Trump’s financial records. Yesterday we even learned that Deutsche Bank has multiple years of Trump’s tax returns in addition to his banking records, and is turning them over to House Democrats as soon as Trump’s fleeting legal efforts fail.
This asymmetrical situation, in which House Democrats only have to win one round in order to win the contest, and Donald Trump has to win every round in order to win the contest, also applies to other aspects of their larger ongoing battle. The Democrats don’t need all of Trump’s former advisers to come forward and publicly testify about his obstruction of justice. The more the merrier, but they only need one of them to agree to go before the television cameras in order to make the case to the American people.
If you’re playing a game where you have to win every single round in order to be declared the winner, you only stand a chance if you’re orders of magnitude better at this game than your opponent is. Donald Trump is not orders of magnitude better at this than the House Democrats are. The math alone makes clear why Trump is extraordinarily unlikely to win his battle with the Democrats.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report