It’s no surprise that Donald Trump is a polarizing figure. Unlike almost every other US President that tried to unify the nation, Trump sees his future is tied to further dividing the nation, and giving his supporters more reasons to love him and hate the opposition.
Going through an impeachment hearing, which is bound to fail in the Republican controlled Senate anyway, will give Trump one more big bullhorn to shout his message of hate and division, and may, in fact, help assure his re-election.
The Democratic speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, said the White House was “crying out for impeachment” and called on Thursday for Donald Trump’s family to intervene in the president’s wellbeing “for the good of the country” after an extraordinary 24 hours in Washington.
The dramatic statements came one day after Trump stormed out of a meeting in the Oval Office with Pelosi and the Democratic Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, about infrastructure legislation, after three minutes, and then held a hastily called press conference to say he wouldn’t work with Democrats until they stop investigating him.
At her own press conference on Thursday morning, Pelosi, speaker of the House of Representatives in Congress, suggested of the president: “Maybe he wants to take a leave of absence.”
She said she was not pushing for impeachment despite describing the president’s actions – in relation to Russian interference in the 2016 election and attempts at obstruction of justice, as detailed in the recent report by special counsel Robert Mueller – as impeachable.
The Trump administration has aggressively resisted demands – including subpoenas – from leading congressional Democrats for the government to hand over the full, unredacted Mueller report and for related witnesses to testify on Capitol Hill.
“I think impeachment is a very divisive place for us to go in the country,” Pelosi said.
However, she repeatedly expressed concern for the president’s wellbeing, which she said reflected a broader concern about the wellbeing of the United States itself. Asked if she was concerned about Trump, she said: “I am.”
And she added: “I pray for the president of the United States. I wish that his family or his administration or staff would have an intervention for the good of the country.”
The 25th amendment allows the president to be replaced if the vice-president and a majority of his cabinet decide he is incapable of discharging his duties.
Before her weekly press conference, Pelosi told colleagues at a meeting on Thursday morning in Washington that Trump’s actions were “villainous.”
The situation blew up the day before when, shortly before Pelosi and Schumer were due to meet with Trump at the White House for negotiations on legislation to fund new infrastructure, Pelosi accused the president of a “cover-up.”
The charge stemmed from Trump repeatedly attempting to block congressional committees from investigating him further, following Mueller’s inquiry into Russia’s election meddling in the US, allegations of improper contacts between the Trump election campaign and Moscow, and potential obstruction of justice by the president.
Trump then stalked out of the Wednesday meeting in the Oval Office, straight into the adjacent Rose Garden where, from a podium adorned with signs saying “No collusion, no obstruction,” the president slammed his opposition and refused to work with them further in the current circumstances.
“I don’t do cover-ups,” he said.
Then on Thursday morning, before Pelosi’s press conference, the White House spokeswoman, Sarah Sanders, said “it’s insane” to think infrastructure talks could continue after Pelosi had accused Trump of a cover-up.
Sanders later added that: “It’s real simple, you can’t go down two tracks,” referring to working on bipartisan legislation at the same time as the Democrats are pushing for deeper investigations into Trump’s actions, while leveling powerful accusations.
Schumer said that Trump is “an erratic, helter-skelter, get-nothing-done” leader.
Robert Mueller’s report resulting from his almost-two year investigation was made public, with certain sensitive parts redacted, in April.
While Trump claimed “total exoneration,” the special counsel found 10 episodes in which Trump’s own actions may have amounted to obstruction of justice, detailing several instances in which the president’s demands to interfere with the investigation were blocked by his aides. And in a separate instance, it was found there were additional efforts by the Trump campaign before the election to obscure its contacts with Russian figures.
The report separately examined the repeated contacts between the Trump campaign and individuals with ties to the Russian government. While Mueller did not find evidence of a criminal conspiracy, investigators made clear the Trump campaign was “receptive” to offers of assistance from the Russians.
Democrats are requesting, and in some cases issuing subpoenas for documents, and demanding witnesses, including Mueller, testify on Capitol Hill.
Mueller is said to be resisting a public hearing, while the attorney general, William Barr, and former White House counsel Don McGahn have failed to turn up for scheduled hearings in front of the House judiciary committee in recent weeks.
No doubt about it. Trump loves to fight, and loves to be able to point at the other party as the bad guy. Nothing like impeachment hearings to cast Trump as the victim, and the Dems as the party of evil-doers.
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