November 14, 2019

TOO MANY SEGRETTIS:

Trump Exposed: A Brutal Day for the President (JOHN F. HARRIS, 11/13/2019, Politico)


Perhaps it was George Kent's bow tie, which looked like it was paying homage to Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox, but a dramatic day of testimony on Capitol Hill sent the mind back to one of the more compelling vignettes to emerge from that earlier scandal.

Richard Nixon was relaxing, in his own fashion, with West Wing hatchet man Charles Colson and imagining the joyful day when he would have payback against the diverse enemies arrayed against him. "One day we'll get them--we'll get them on the ground where we want them," Nixon rhapsodized. "And we'll stick our heels in, step on them hard and twist, right Chuck?"

An impeachment inquiry is a constitutional exercise, a vindication of checks and balances, a living expression of rule of law. Yes, yes, sure--all of that. But the start of public hearings Wednesday was a reminder of what impeachment really is in the modern presidency: A brutal exercise in psychological exposure.

There was breaking news from the hearings, but it was mostly a matter of detail. There was a new anecdote from diplomat William Taylor about Trump allegedly haranguing a subordinate to keep up the pressure on Ukraine to investigate the Biden family. This was a validation of the existing narrative rather than a fundamental twist of plot.

In a more profound way, the day was a portrait--a vivid one, in an especially grave setting--of Trump being Trump: obsessive, hectoring, contemptuous of process and propriety, as bluntly transactional about military aid to a besieged ally as he would be about a midtown real estate deal.

Posted by at November 14, 2019 1:22 PM

  

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