Donald Trump’s interview with the New York Times may go down in history as the most self defeating moment in U.S. presidential politics. He ruined his relationship with an Attorney General who had been covering for him. He revealed that he’s even more worried about his financial crimes than he is about his Russia crimes. Trump just buried himself. And I’m pretty sure it’s his kids who purposely handed him the shovel, for reasons I’ll explain here.
With the dire scandalous circumstances that Donald Trump now finds himself facing, and his clearly deteriorating mental capacity, his White House advisers would never have signed off on him doing an interview with a non-friendly news outlet at this time. They’re incompetent, but nobody’s that incompetent. And it wouldn’t have occurred to Trump to have made this decision on his own, because he hates the New York Times. Someone steered him toward doing this interview, knowing it would help unravel him. And all we need to look at is what else hit the newswires that same day.
Donald Trump Jr. had his friend feed People Magazine a quote about how “miserable” he is, and how he can’t wait for his father’s presidency to be over with (link). This was a clear attempt on Junior’s part to send a signal to his father that he should resign. He was basically saying ‘Hey dad, you’re ruining my life with this political stuff, please just walk away from the whole thing instead.’ It’s difficult to imagine that a lackey like Junior would have pulled a public stunt like this without his sister Ivanka signing off on it, and her husband is in even more legal trouble than her brother is.
So it’s clear that Donald Trump’s children now want him to resign. The reasoning isn’t too difficult to decipher. If Trump remains in office until he’s impeached or removed by the 25th Amendment, he won’t get a chance to pardon anyone on his way out the door. But if Trump resigns instead, his kids can talk him into pardoning himself and all of them. He’ll just announce that they’re all innocent and it’s to protect them from the “fake news media hoax.” There’s no expert consensus on whether Trump’s pardons of himself or his children or his criminal co-conspirators would hold up constitutionally, because no one’s ever tried it. The Supreme Court might have to rule on the validity.
For those worried that Trump might get away with his crimes if he resigns, the president cannot pardon anyone from state level charges. New York State is licking its chops waiting until Trump is out of office so it can charge him with a myriad of financial crimes it’s already knee deep investigating. One way or another, Trump will end up facing charges in New York once he’s out of office. But there’s no publicly available evidence that New York State is looking to charge his children.
So if Trump resigns and pardons his kids on federal charges, he’ll still go down on state charges, but his kids may end up walking on everything. And that’s their real motivation for having talked him into doing this self destructive New York Times interview. It’ll damage him further, giving his kids an excuse to start talking him into resigning. And at this point he’s become so addle brained that in the end he’ll probably end up doing whatever they tell him. All they have to do is not mention to him that he’ll still go down for state level crimes. After all, he raised them to be as selfish and parasitic as he is, so of course they’re in the process of selling him out.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report