By Alejandro A. Tagliavini *
In July 2017, I wrote a column entitled “Trump, the heir of Nixon” where I mentioned a review of the Spanish reissue of the book by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, “All the President’s Men,” about the ‘Watergate scandal’. The story goes through the same places, although Richard Nixon and Donald Trump start in different positions. Richard is the Quaker lawyer who lived politics since he was young, until he lost a presidential race against John F. Kennedy and then beat both Hubert Humphrey and George McGovern. The last one after the Watergate scandal had begun.
Trump comes from another planet, to the point that some consider him lunatic. He is a worshiper of fame, money and power, who had never faced elections. With Nixon, all rot of the apparatus was exposed – that the politicians covered with the impeachment – which subsists and annoys and precisely because he represents the antisystem is that Trump wins.
But Richard and Donald, I wrote in that column, have the same halo, that smell of impeachment that over flies Washington, that could become real if the current president excessively enerves the political establishment. And it turned out that the prophecy was fulfilled because he enervated more than one.
The US Constitution guarantees that officials can be prosecuted by mandate of the House of Representatives because of serious crimes. Then, it is the Senate who is responsible for carrying out the trial. And the punishment consists in the dismissal of the accused and his disqualification from public office.
Now the House of Representatives initiated an investigation to impeachment Trump, after an anonymous informant revealed a telephone contact with the President of Ukraine to obtain insider information, for political purposes, on the business of the eventual Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The call came shortly after Trump decided to freeze hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid to Ukraine.
According to his critics this was an illegitimate attempt to pressure a foreign government to obtain incriminating information about an electoral rival, while the White House considers that it was a “normal” call between two leaders.
If politics were a serious activity, Trump would not win his reelection, not only because of the impeachment but because his behavior resembles that of a millennial who escapes from school to devote himself to mischief and tell it on Twitter. But politics is not serious, to the point that candidates often echo a phrase attributed to Salvador Dalí: “The important thing is that they speak of one … even if they speak well.” That is, the important thing to win an election is to have publicity regardless of whether it is negative or positive.
So it seems that the anonymous informant could be Trump himself, because the impeachment will not only give him a lot of publicity, but will end up looking like the hero who knew how to overcome the “insults” of his bad adversaries, since its is very improbable that they condemn him. In the US, two presidents were tried by this procedure, Bill Clinton (1998-1999) and Andrew Johnson (1868), and were acquitted. Richard Nixon interrupted the process by resigning in 1974. And to condemn the accused it is necessary the vote of two thirds of the senators who today are mostly Republicans.
* Member of the Advisory Board of the Center on Global Prosperity, of Oakland, California