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Trump Presidency on Perilous Path

A few weeks ago, only Trump’s most rabid opponents would have predicted an early demise for his presidency but by Friday, the possibility of impeachment was being floated
Donald TrumpDonald Trump
Legal scholars wonder whether Trump may be guilty of obstruction of justice—a charge that featured in the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton

Another self-inflicted crisis has left Donald Trump’s critics outraged and some of his Republican allies dismayed, but a bedrock of support for the billionaire US leader means the political endgame is far in the distance.

Trump’s decision to summarily fire FBI director James Comey on Tuesday—an act virtually unprecedented in US history—set off a chain of events that has put his White House on perilous ground, AFP reported.

Trump’s professed rationale—a recommendation from the Justice Department—quickly unraveled, when he admitted he always intended to fire Comey.

Trump then added fuel to the fire when he admitted the FBI’s investigation into his campaign’s possible collusion with the Kremlin was a factor in his thinking.

There is still no firm evidence that Trump or any of his surrogates colluded with Russia to win the election. But the very fact that an investigation is ongoing is intolerable to a president who values his image above most things.

“When (former director of national intelligence) James Clapper himself, and virtually everyone else with knowledge of the witch hunt, says there is no collusion, when does it end?” Trump said Friday in a furious tweetstorm.

As exhausted staff tried to clean up the Comey mess, Trump took to Twitter and went a step further, impugning his own staff’s credibility and warning the ex-FBI director not to leak information to the media and suggesting there could be secret tapes of their conversations.

“As a very active president with lots of things happening, it is not possible for my surrogates to stand at podium with perfect accuracy!” he said.

Embattled White House Spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters on Friday that Trump was “a little dismayed” by the negative media frenzy around his actions, adding that the notion that there’s collusion is a hoax.

But by week’s end, legal scholars wondered out loud whether Trump may be guilty of obstruction of justice—a charge that featured in the articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton.

On Friday, Spicer, already publicly humiliated by his boss, was left unable to confirm or deny whether the president was recording Oval Office conversations, copies of which Democrats promptly demanded.

Throughout Trump’s many controversies, his safety net has always been the Republican-controlled Congress, which forecloses any talk of impeachment or censure. But his relationship with the GOP has always been a shotgun marriage.

Until now, the prospect of passing transformative tax reform or unraveling Obama’s healthcare reforms was enough to keep the partnership together.

As the Comey news broke, sure enough, Senate leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan resolutely opposed any calls for an independent investigator.

But with Trump’s legislative agenda on the rocks and his handling of the Comey crisis in question, the honeymoon appears to be nearing its end.

 

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