Sunday, December 1, 2019

Gleam in Rick Perry's eyes: King Trump

           Soon-to-be-outta-here Energy Secretary Rick Perry has certainly changed his take.

            A couple of years ago he labeled Donald Trump a "cancer on conservatism" and called on fellow conservatives to "excise" it. Now that cancer is divine.

            All praise. He says he's told Trump: "Absorb that you are here at this chosen time because God ordained it."

            Perry talks in terms of royalty, comparing Trump to ancient kings – "Old Testament kings," no less.

            Perry is free to be frothy. However, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's job is to stay sober. Trump's efforts to dodge all accountability, the federal judge wrote: "Presidents are not kings."

            But you see, today's Republican Party frantically begs to differ. Trump is king. Like Johnny Carson -- king of late night. Like Tarzan -- king of jungle.  Like Pablo Escobar -- king of cocaine.

            Today's Republican Party has chosen the Pablo Escobar model. There can be no other explanation. Trump simply is above the law.

            Once upon a time, by remarkable numbers Republicans, rejected this.

            Republicans in Congress came to acknowledge that Richard Nixon abused his power and committed removable offenses. It was they who convinced him to step aside.

            Today's Republicans are of another mind. No amount of evidence will sway them. Their man is immune from inquiry, immune from sanction, immune from the law.

            The "partisan witch hunt" they decry started with a dogged, snail's-pace investigation by a stodgy Republican careerist, Robert Mueller, whose report identified 10 indictable offenses – and that was just about obstruction of justice, not colluding with Russians and Wikileaks, which the Trump campaign clearly did.

            Now the focus is a political shakedown of Ukraine, extorting a political favor with our tax dollars. We don't need Bob Mueller to tell us this is indictable -- that is, any of us who can read a telephone transcript.

            Witness after witness in the House hearings has affirmed he or she heard what our eyes told us.

            None of that matters to those who see things the Rick Perry way, the Lindsey Graham way.

            Graham said if he believed an actual quid pro quo was demanded of the Ukraine with those tax dollars, he might support impeachment. That he is leading point for the Trump defense in the Senate can only means Graham was wearing sound-limiting headphones when European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland said for all of the rest of us to hear, "Was there a quid pro quo? The answer is yes."

            Ask Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and know that nothing Escobar – er, Trump – has done with Ukraine would merit his conviction in the Senate, no matter how much evidence mounts against Pablo -- er, our king.

            As for Republicans in the House, they know as well as the rest of us that Trump abused his power in extorting Ukraine. They are simply gutless.

            On this inquiry, says Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., "Many of my Republican colleagues have tremendous courage in the elevator on the way to the second floor where the House is and somehow leave that courage behind when they walk onto the floor of the House."

            The most amazing claim is that Trump is not getting a fair hearing.  He and his team have every opportunity to set the record straight, even produce witnesses, but are seeking to run out the clock by refusing to participate and diverting attention to Hunter Biden.

            This is where Judge Jackson inserted herself to rule that Trump's people cannot ignore subpoenas in a constitutionally authorized procedure: impeachment.

            So, whom or what will win the day? King Trump or the Constitution?

            God ordained Trump to be our burden? OK, then God also ordained Nancy Pelosi to impeach him.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.