09 October 2019

Trump defiant

After an initial flurry of drama, the impeachment process seemed ready to settle down into the expected soporific background noise of hearings and testimony and subpoenas, allowing the public to turn its attention back to its favorite TV shows and internet porn and so forth.  But what if things don't play out that way?

Trump and most Congressional Republicans seem to be opting for a strategy of total stonewalling -- total non-cooperation.  What if that's his whole response to the inquiry and even to impeachment itself, if it happens?  What if he just refuses to hand over any documents, refuses to let anyone under his authority testify, ignores all subpoenas, ignores any Supreme Court rulings that go against him, and basically just tells the law and the constitution to go fuck themselves?  What, exactly, will the Democrats be able to do about this?  Send the House Sergeant-at-Arms to the White House to arrest Trump?  What?

One might argue that such obstruction would itself be another impeachable offense and would also show that Trump is a Very Bad Person.  True.  So what?  Since taking office he's been committing impeachable offenses as if they were part of his job description, and he's been demonstrating that he's a Very Bad Person since long before that.  If the whole process is stymied by non-cooperation, one more article of impeachment makes no difference.

Would this strategy cost him support in the election?  Likely some, but probably not much.  Fox and Breitbart and the rest would come up with some excuse or justification for Trump's behavior, and no matter how flimsy it was, most of the knuckle-dragging Deliverance mutants of his base would accept it.  Maybe not all, but most.  These are the ones who have stuck with Trump through migrant kids in cages, job-killing tariff wars, the attempted wrecking of healthcare, and all the rest of the outrages and nonsense.  They're not going to turn against him for thwarting some arcane legal process which they barely understand and which they all know was created as a distraction by Democrats who are secretly running a Satanic pedophile conspiracy out of the basement of a pizzeria that doesn't have a basement.  They'd probably applaud it as his best "owning the libs" performance yet.

If an ordinary person breaks the law and ignores all efforts to hold him accountable, the police can arrest him -- that is, in the end the law is backed up by the use of physical force.  Could the police actually walk into the White House, arrest Trump, and physically drag him off to jail if he refused to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry?  Which police?  Who has jurisdiction?  The FBI, whose ultimate boss is Trump himself?  Who has authority to order such an arrest?  Murky and unprecedented questions abound here.

I assume Pelosi has thought of this problem, and it may have played a role in her earlier reluctance to move ahead with impeachment.  But I'll be damned if I can see what she or anyone else could do about it.


Anonymous One Fly said...

This will be so ugly and history has shown the Dims don't know how to fight too good.

Until some accountability comes our way the Left has squat and thinking it's going to change is being naive I think because of the way the Right plays and of course with the help of media.

As usual the Right is in charge with little that can be done it seems.

09 October, 2019 08:40  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

No matter how good the left was at fighting, it's hard to see what they could actually do against a strategy of total non-cooperation. That's my point.

09 October, 2019 08:54  
Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

@OneFly--there is no need for name-calling here. We do not have access to the materials that Pelosi and Schiff and the Democrats have. And frankly, I trust them to do what has to be done within the bounds of the law.

Unless the idea is for the Democrats to toss all that aside and storm the White House--and that would be foolish.

And as for accountability, yes, some on the Left should be held accountable for pushing the idea in 2016 that Trump was going to be better than Hillary, because Hillary was apparently the most corrupt politician ever. Even though this is not true, and even though their way of thinking has been dashed, some still cling to their "but, but Hillary was so corrupt!!" delusion.

And perhaps it's just me, but...I don't see this as a strategy of non-cooperation. I'm seeing this as a temper-tantrum by people who know that the walls are closing in and are thrashing out in a desperate attempt to stop it.

The only thing we can do now is, well, wait and see. And if it helps, just remember--the impeachment inquiry and all of these testimonials are only possible because the Democrats took back the House thanks to the 2018 midterms. We had nothing for two years with the GOP in charge. Now we have something, even with the roadblocks being thrown in the path.

09 October, 2019 09:12  
Blogger Dave Dubya said...

As far as removal from office goes, only patriotic Republicans who uphold their oaths to the Constitution can make that happen. I think some, like Romney, may even vote to remove him. At that point, the Orange Fuhrer cannot crow "partisan witch hunt" before the election. I have some faith that enough Americans will decide on what is right.

He will not win a second term in a fair election. But that's not all that reassuring, is it?

Until then, the Republic is on life-support, and the Republicans hold the plug.

09 October, 2019 09:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given that the framers clearly gave the lower house the 'power of the purse' I would think that there might/should be some way of quickly cutting off funding to the executive to gain compliance.

AFAIK it has never been seriously contemplated, much less done. And there will be retaliation. So Congress might want to contract out for security before going this route.

Interesting times.

09 October, 2019 09:41  
Blogger knittergran said...

The House should start arresting, fining and jailing the people below Trump who refuse to cooperate. That might get some attention and scare a few into working with the House. Oddly enough, there doesn't seem to be any movement towards holding anyone accountable. I don't understand that.

09 October, 2019 10:13  
Blogger Oblio said...

Based on what some very learned people have said on the teevee lately, it seems if the Dems want to enforce a subpoena and arrest someone OTHER than tRump for refusing to testify, the Sergeant-At-Arms office would be the one to do the cuffing. However, seems that office is mostly overseen by the DOJ and would hold sway over who gets nabbed, so it's very unlikely the Barr DOJ would allow the SAA to arrest anyone. It's a conundrum. I agree, though... arrest anyone who fails to testify under subpoena and let the courts deal with the aftermath... it would make the GOP heads explode unison.

09 October, 2019 11:47  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

He’s not gonna cooperate and I don’t think we’ll have the pleasure to see him in handcuffs. His base will not budge and his lapdogs will gon on Fox News to defend him.
I hope the Dems grow a backbone and hold some of his minions accountable.


09 October, 2019 15:28  
Blogger jenny_o said...

My understanding is that non-cooperation will be dealt with by the judicial system; there is general agreement by legal experts across the country that Trump doesn't have a legal leg to stand on. The problem there is that it takes so long for challenges and appeals to go through the system. I have to have faith that the wheels of justice will eventually turn, but it's hard to wait while he commits ever-increasing assaults on the country. I do appreciate Pelosi's measured approach, which I think of as the gotcha method - wait until Trump does something so clearly illegal that it is simple to describe to voters (to get public support) and airtight in court. I don't think anyone from the Democratic party really expected Trump to cooperate. It's just not supported by past behavior.

09 October, 2019 17:30  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Marc: Never understood the Hillary-is-so-corrupt thing. I guess over the years the Republicans threw so much mud that some of it stuck.

Trump is certainly prone to tantrums. His thinking, if that is the correct term for it, may not be particularly strategic. But it's hard to see how the Democrats can force him to comply if he chooses to disregard every enforcement mechanism.

Absolutely we would be getting nowhere without holding the House. Voting matters.

Dave: In that case Trump would crow "partisan witch hunt plus a few Republican traitors", and the Trumpanzees would eat it up.

Anon: Good point. I hope the House starts playing hardball with the money if Trump stays defiant.

Knittergran: Maybe they will get tougher as the obstructionism continues. This judge has the right idea.

Oblio: Yes, the Republicans would scream bloody murder, but they'll do that no matter what we do. Pelosi should emphasize that these people are an arrogant elite flouting the law in ways no ordinary person could get away with. You know what would happen to an average guy who ignored a subpoena.

Sixpence: This is the biggest challenge to the constitutional system since the Civil War, that's for sure.

Jenny_o: I think the real problem is that even if the Supreme Court rules against Trump's position, he could simply ignore the ruling. Then we're back to the issue of what enforcement mechanisms exist and who controls them.

10 October, 2019 09:40  
Blogger Mike said...

"Who has jurisdiction?" I think that's a question that has never been thought of before. Especially with such a defiant jerk as president. I don't think tRUMP is going anywhere. It will take the election to get him out. And the dems desperately need 60 seats in the Senate.

10 October, 2019 12:47  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Mike: Or a smaller majority with the guts to abolish the filibuster. I don't think 60 is doable, unfortunately. Too many red states with tiny populations that still get two senators each.

11 October, 2019 12:34  

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