Headaches by the number, trouble by the score

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"With time, everything will come out — it always does. Trump's collaborators, our Vichy Republicans, will own all of it whether they were active participants in the wrongdoing, the so-called adults in the room who stood idly by or those elite allies beyond the White House gates who pretended not to notice administration criminality and moral atrocities in exchange for favors like tax cuts and judicial appointments." - Frank Rich

I was listening to one of Sen. Lindsay Graham's slavering diatribes before the altar of Fox News the other day. Graham referred to the impeachment of Donald Trump as "crap" and speculated that the American people are going to rise up en mass and usher in a veritable Johnstown Flood of Republicans in November. If that is true, the reference to Johnstown is an apt one.

Not to belabor a point that is patently obvious to everyone by now, the president of the United States was using his office to put military aid to a country fighting Russian aggression — aid that had been approved by Congress — in jeopardy unless Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky agreed to "investigate" one of Trump's political rivals. It is as simple as that.

If that isn't grounds for impeachment, I would like to know what is. Even if the now infamous phone call was between Zelensky and a man with some conception of honor, Dwight Eisenhower for example, it would be difficult to come to any other conclusion than that it was a blatant extortion attempt for purely personal gain. For Trump, it was just business as usual. The call is hardly an isolated instance of bad judgment on Trump's part. His entire adult life is a compendium of bad judgment, both business and personal.

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And the reason that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and company are opting for this farcical no witnesses "trial" in the Senate is because they are terrified that something someone might say will collapse this house of cards that Trump's defense is built upon and the Republicans will have no choice but to put their country — not to mention what is clearly the right thing to do — before their fanatical loyalty to their party or a fear of evoking the wrath of the president's loony base. The Republicans would laughably prefer to offer Mr. Trump's valiant fight against corruption as the reason for what the president called a "perfect" phone call. I have always thought that great wealth frequently distorts the perception of the rich, but you have to wonder if Mr. Trump's conception of reality has degenerated to the point where he thinks that merely stating something makes it true. Frank Rich, in his incisive article in New York Magazine states (I'm paraphrasing) that Donald Trump has gone way beyond the point where he is going to change.

We all recognize that. But the people who support and enable him have, in effect, had to travel a great distance downward in order to play on the same sub-basement level where Trump operates, whether it's hobnobbing with porn stars, participating in sleazy real estate deals, or cheating people out of money they intended for an education. The Republican Party was, at one time, a lot better than that. Graham knew what Trump was like and, with an eye firmly fixed on his own future, abdicated his obligation to protect both the American people and the Constitution from so nefarious and low a character. To claim that Trump was concerned with fighting corruption conveniently ignores the fact that he is the same man whose so-called Trump Foundation was shut down for chronically misusing funds that were intended for, among other charities, Army Emergency Relief, the Children's Aid Society, and the United Negro College Fund. Trump spent the money on himself.

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In keeping with his well-documented miserliness, he didn't actually donate much to his foundation. The fact that his name was tacked to it simply allowed him to dole out other people's money as if it was his own, giving him both the aura of being a caring, compassionate man and adding to his phony show biz luster as a fabulously rich person. (Between 2009 and 2014, Trump donated nothing personally at all.)

This is the guy the Republicans claim was fighting corruption in Ukraine. This is the guy who heads an organization that no reputable bank in the world would come near with a ten-foot spreadsheet.

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Mr. Trump's ploy to assassinate a general in the Iranian army to distract the public's attention from his own tenuous situation didn't have much of a longevity factor. It did, however, result in the destruction of a civilian jetliner and the 176 lives aboard and a missile attack on the Ain al-Assad air base on Jan. 8 that necessitated airlifting 11 U.S. servicemen for treatment of concussion-like symptoms. That put a serious dent in the commander-in-chief's contention that "no Americans were hurt."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines a concussion as a traumatic brain injury. Trump, never deterred for a moment when there is a handy lie to offer up, characterized the injuries as "headaches."

It was clearly a case of headaches being offered as an excuse by the nation's chief purveyor of them and a brain injury explained by a man who functions without one.

Alden Graves writes a regular column for the Journal.


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