Bob Franken




Carl Sandburg said it, giving his advice to attorneys:
“If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell.”
Sandburg, as you know, wrote the massive biographies of Abraham Lincoln. Taking anything he said and applying it to President Donald Trump might seem like sacrilege, but there are some parallels or near parallels. Lincoln was in office during the Civil War, dealing with the darkest period in United States history. Trump keeps implying the threat of a civil war if his political enemies are successful in removing him from office. His short tenure as chaotic and corrupt as it may be, doesn’t compare with “Honest Abe’s” time, but Dishonest Don’s ghastly partial term is right down there among the most miserable.
And now his Democratic vilifiers have accumulated enough evidence of his crimes that they’ve revved up the gumption to try to remove him from office, starting with an impeachment effort in the House of Representatives, which the Constitution specifies. Democrats are in the majority in the House, and the rules say they control how it’s done.
So they have been collecting smoking guns, laying out unmistakable evidence of Donald Trump’s abuse of office.
That means Trump and his Republican supporters are left with nothing to do but take Sandburg’s advice and apply it to the present crisis. The daily drumbeat of “facts” has already made it obvious that The Don and his accomplices have broken the law. There’s really nothing to “argue” about. So his hench people are left with no tactics other than distorting the laws, in particular the Constitution’s clearly laid out instructions.

All they can do is “pound the table and yell like hell,” and that’s what they’ve been doing, big-time. Goaded by their fearful leader, the Trumpster, who has been flinging around charges like “treason” and “a coup” by the “deep state.” His GOP thugs have also been doing their part by disrupting the process. One of their latest stunts was to assemble a mob of their most partisan House members and storm the super-secret chambers where investigators have been deposing witnesses.
These areas are supposed to be incredibly off-limits, available only to members who have a reason to enter — and this group did not have one. In the process, they violated the security pledges they signed to follow the strict rules. By rights, they could have been physically removed by the U.S. Capitol Police, but Democrats decided they’d avoid that because it would only create Republican martyrs who would then cast themselves as victims. So they waited them out, and after the GOPs got their maximum news coverage, and took their cellphone pictures in the inner sanctums, another violation of the protocols, they huffed and puffed their way back to their normal fundraising or even a teensy-weensy bit of legislating.
Notwithstanding the freak show, what if the Democrats methodically gather so much evidence that the polls show unmistakably that the voters want Trump out, something even more damning than shooting someone on New York’s Fifth Avenue.
If the evidence against Donald Trump becomes that disgusting, too much for even his rabid supporters, look for the president’s staunchest defenders to slink off and turn on him.
Let’s supposed Trump is removed, either involuntarily or voluntarily. The new president, Michael Pence, would, according to the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, get to choose his own vice president, subject to a majority vote of approval by both houses of Congress. That approval will never happen, meaning that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would take over if something happened to Pence.
As for Donald Trump, he’d spend the rest of his life dealing with his remaining legal problems, surrounded by his attorneys. According to the legendary Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., lawyers “spend a great deal of their time shoveling smoke.” There would be a lot of smoke from the rubble left by Donald Trump.

© 2019 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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