By Charles P. Pierce, in Esquire:
WASHINGTON — The overriding emotion in the capital this week was, oddly enough, a kind of deep relief. There was relief in that, with the revelations of whoever it was that blew the whistle on this president*’s attempt to bull-rush the president of Ukraine into helping him ratfck the 2020 election, there was one clear lens through which the vast and nearly unlimited corruption of this administration could be seen clearly, and in its entirety. The ramifications of what was in the whistleblower’s complaint, validated as it was by the Intelligence Community’s inspector general, extend to almost every corner of what increasingly looks like an utterly criminal presidency*. (In a gesture of Christian charity, I’m willing to entertain the possibility that Tiffany is clean in all of this.) The president* himself pulled Vice President Mike Pence into the poisonous murk. Rudy Giuliani, now completely out of control and raving all over television, managed to implicate the State Department in whatever incoherent “missions” he was on in West Asia. And, because of the whistleblower’s complaint, the swirls of scandal are finally clear enough to see the monsters in the poisonous fog.
But there was another level of relief at play, too, and it was based in the feeling that had been general around Washington that something like what had happened with the whistleblower was bound to happen eventually. The administration* had been playing fast and loose with too much for too long. (And, it must be said, the same could be said of the president* for his entire life.) The entire American political universe had been waiting for almost three years for the one thing that actually would do it. This administration*—and, before that, its 2016 campaign—had weathered more fatal wounds than Rasputin at Yusupov Palace. But, because there had been so many false starts, when a scandal hit that actually drew blood, the American political universe was ready to jump on it. And the people who knew the president* best, the people from New York and New Jersey, knew it was coming because they’d seen it time and time again. The Trump presidency* was now as bankrupt as the Trump Taj Mahal.
“I predicted that on February 1 of 2017, when I sent a letter to Kevin Brady and he laughed at it. Now, I said, you didn’t know he was going to bury himself, did you?” said Rep. Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat who has been dogging the president* financial chicanery ever since Inauguration Day. Pascrell has constituents who were previously stiffed by the president*, and there have not been many congressmen in history who could say that about many presidents. “People whose contracts weren’t fulfilled and implemented. Contractors. Painters. Masons. Those guys who did work and were never paid. There are a lot of those guys out there in my district.”
So all of this clarity was enough to get Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the House Democratic leadership off the dime and engage the processes of impeachment for the third time in 45 years. Consider: people my age will now have lived through the engagement of the process of impeachment three times in their lives. Five generations of Americans passed through between the first congressional impeachment process directed at a president and the second one. So much time passed between Andrew Johnson and Richard Nixon that impeachment was considered to be a vestigial, useless appendage of the Constitution, that it was the “scarecrow,” as Thomas Jefferson once scornfully described it. Now, it appears that the fourth one is upon us again. The mistake is to believe that this is somehow a problem.