2019: THE YEAR MR. TRUMP IS FINALLY HELD TO ACCOUNT?
His Days of Cheating, Buying and Lying His Way Out May be Coming to an End
Untitled, Oil on Canvas, 16” x 26”, Richard J Van Wagoner, Courtesy of Van Wagoner Family Trust**
Of course I am deeply concerned, as are millions here and around the world, that the leader of the free world is both incapable of leading and on a quest to betray the United States and its allies. I’m reading Seth Abramson's Proof of Collusion: How Trump Betrayed America. With publicly available evidence and reporting going back decades, Mr. Abramson makes the compelling case that the most reasonable explanation for Mr. Trump’s behavior is the one that stares us in the face and for which no reasonable alternative exists. The dots aren’t that difficult to connect. Глупый + эгоистичный + Высокомерный + Жадность = компрома́т.
I am equally concerned that the policies and decisions of the executive have downgraded the moral authority of the United States into a bottomless negative expanse. Decisions from the oval office are primarily—if not solely—borne of self-absorption, -protection and -preservation, -aggrandizement and/or –adulation and -adoration. With verifiable facts hidden in plain view, his relationship with truth renders any words he utters almost certainly a lie. He is pathetically unwilling or pathologically incapable of thinking outside himself, posing increasing danger to the United States and the world because what is best for the latter is, in almost every instance, orders of magnitude different from what either motivates him or he thinks will hide a substanceless, gold-plated charlatan beneath an increasingly translucent façade.
Of course I am troubled by his many aiders and abettors, those in the majority of the House and Senate who forfeited personal integrity, bartering avowed legal and moral responsibility in exchange for power while placing the greater good and well-being of the United States beneath themselves and their political careers. The only way the GOP can manufacture any meaningful credibility in self-reincarnation will be to own its transgressions against the Constitution and citizens of the United States, taking affirmative remedial measures that overlook self-interest and party affiliation. Maybe after the House impeaches for what will be the highest of crimes and misdemeanors, the Senate will find a way to convict. Doubtful, but that would be a start. It is possible, however, that leaders in both legislative bodies passively watched or actively abetted the carnage for too long, bestowing on themselves and the GOP just enough rope. If things continue as they have, 2020 will be another comeuppance.
Which leads me to my deep appreciation for the First Amendment. I maintain that the First Amendment, even in the face of Mr. Trump’s facile attacks, preserves the principles through which the United States citizenry has and ultimately will overcome undemocratic efforts to maintain and control power, whether by individuals, associations, dark money or hostile foreign powers. In the face of widespread voter suppression, gerrymandering and continuous interference, disinformation and influence-peddling by Russia (collectively “cheating”)—all intended to consolidate and maintain power in Mr. Trump’s GOP, the 2018 mid-terms reaffirmed the critical value and sustainability of the principles embodied in the First Amendment. The mid-terms were the beginning of a course correction.
I value robust debate of policy issues on the merits. Reasonable minds can and often disagree. With Mr. Trump, very little—maybe nothing—is on the merits. Given his entanglements and mental pathology, how could we possibly know? Which brings me to the upcoming Pelosi Tsunami in which Mr. Trump already appears to be drowning. He spends his time creating distractions and discharging decoys to attempt to control the narrative away from incompetence and the almost daily Trump Crime Syndicate cliff-hangers. The Cummings, Schiff, Waters, Nadler, Lowey, Smith, Engle undercurrents are building. These committee chairs will not be deterred from restoring the House as a meaningful check on executive excesses and abuses. Equally important, they will have the power and ability to conduct the investigations the 115th Congress pantomimed in its cynical game of charades. It will, at times, be messy, ugly, hostile and contentious. Good. Nunez, by the way, should be on the short list for impeachment. Gowdy should go back to dueling banjos.
Given Mr. Trump’s financial ties to Russia and Russians, the Special Counsel and the Congress cannot investigate so-called Russian collusion without following the money, then and now, tied to the Trump Organization. My guess, and it’s only a guess, is the depth and breadth of corruption will be shown to be beyond even Lawrence O’Donnell’s wildest imagination. Of the many crimes in the United States Code, the shorter list may be of those the members of the Trump Organization did not commit. The momentum for that exposure will accelerate to his and their demise, or at least the beginning of their end, in 2019.
If this occurs it will, indeed, be a Happy New Year.
*My brother the very talented fiction writer and novelist, Robert Hodgson Van Wagoner, deserves considerable credit for offering both substantive and technical suggestions to https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner and https://lastamendment.com
**My daughter Angela Moore, a professional photographer, photographed more than 500 pieces of my father's work. On behalf of the Van Wagoner Family Trust, she is in the process of compiling a collection of his art work. The photographs of my father's art reproduced in https://medium.com/@richardvanwagoner and https://lastamendment.com are hers