Trump Reacts to the Impeachment Threat

Among other tidbits that have come out this morning is that the White House is talking to Corey Lewandowski about leading Trump’s impeachment defense team. I personally think they’d do better with a border collie. At least it seems to have occurred to them that Rudy Giiuliani probably isn’t the guy they need right now.

I continue to be amused at the depth of stupid coming out of the White House. As I wrote yesterday, Trump seems to have sincerely believed the notes on the phone call with Volodymyr Zelensky would exonerate him, but they most certainly didn’t. Then the White House tried to bluff and say the actual whistleblower complaint was not that big a deal, but then everybody got to read it. See also 5 key takeaways and allegations from the Trump whistleblower complaint and What we learned from Joseph Maguire’s testimony about the whistleblower complaint.

Now Trump wants to know who the whistleblower is, callling that person a “spy.”

“I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistleblower the information because that’s close to a spy,” the president said. “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart with spies and treason, right? We used to handle it a little differently than we do now.”

Actually, Donald, you might want to be grateful that it’s really, really difficult to get a treason conviction under U.S. law.

The New York Times is reporting that the whistleblower is a CIA officer detailed to the White House. He or she appears to have witnessed at least some of was going on firsthand. Also,

The whistle-blower, who lodged his concerns with the inspector general for the intelligence community, has identified at least a half-dozen government officials — including several who work for the White House — who he believes can substantiate his claims. The inspector general has interviewed some of them and found the whistle-blower’s claims credible.

So chances are what the complaint says happened is what happened.

Trump’s other reaction, beyond a lot of self-pitying tweets, is that he was going to “end legislative work.” Not that he was doing any. Steve Benen wrote,

… as Roll Call reported, as the impeachment push against Donald Trump gets underway, his White House has “threatened to shut down work on major legislation.” …

…This followed a tweet from the president, who said Democrats in Congress “are so focused on hurting the Republican Party and the President that they are unable to get anything done.” He specifically complained about the lack of legislation on issues such as “gun safety” and the “lowering of prescription drug prices.”

The Democratic-led House has already passed bills on gun safety and lowering prescription drug prices. Both measures were sent to the Republican-led Senate, which has ignored these and other major legislative priorities. Indeed, the White House’s claim that Dems have focused “all their energy on partisan political attacks” is belied by a rather impressive list of legislative priorities the party has already passed.

But Team Trump’s confusion about recent events on Capitol Hill notwithstanding, the idea that the president is going to bring “legislative progress” to a halt is a difficult threat to take seriously.

One reason for that is that, as we all know, the House keeps passing bills that go to the Senate and die. And the only priority bill the House hasn’t passed is NAFTA 2.0, which is more Trump’s pet project that Congress’s.

Further, Trump has threatened to stop cooperating with the legislative process before. He made the same threat in January and again in May. Nobody cares any more.

Trump can’t defend himself because, as I argued yesterday, he doesn’t understand what he did wrong. He doesn’t understand why it’s a scandal for a president to ask a foreign head of state to investigate a political opponent. He doesn’t understand the concept of “honest,” as in “not lying or cheating.” He doesn’t know the Constitution from an artichoke. And he’s getting his advice from the likes of Corey Lewandowski and Sean Hannity.

Let the games begin.