Light reading for a crisp autumn day: “The Case for Impeachment” by Allan Lichtman.
It might be better called “The Impeachment Prophecy.” We shall see.
Lichtman, a professor and historian at American University in Washington, D.C., offers himself as a political savant.
He predicted Donald Trump’s victory last November, disastrous though he admitted it would be. He had to swallow hard when he got a personal days later from Trump: “Professor – Congrats — good call.”
Now? He predicts Trump will have more note-writing time on his hands and far fewer Twitter followers.
“A Russian sword of Damacles hangs over Trump’s head,” writes Lichtman, “and it’s suspended by a slowly unraveling thread.”
The amazing thing about this is how out-front Lichtman’s prediction is. The book came out in April before — yes, before –James Comey’s firing, and before the appointment of Robert Mueller.
Indeed, when his book went to press, all Lichtman could do was divine the future by looking at a deceit-filled, corrupt past:
“Trump’s penchant for lying, disregard for the law, and conflicts of interest are lifelong habits that will permeate his entire presidency.” That presidency will be short, he writes.
I’m not one to jump on the book-maker’s wagon regarding this prediction, for one reason alone: We have a Congress led by partisan rubes who will look the other way, whatever Trump may do.
If one-thousandth of what’s already been affirmed as truth about President Trump – disregard all well-grounded allegations — had been affirmed about President Obama, he, Michelle and their daughters would have been hounded out of town, the literal emphasis on “hounds.”
With this Congress, the only way Trump will go away is in a paddy wagon. The only way he’ll be impeached is if the criminal justice system takes Congress by the nose — or if voters flip houses for more discerning congressional leadership.
“The Case for Impeachment” is a flight of fancy that only criminal investigators can make real.
So how can Lichtman make his prediction? By employing Shakespeare’s, “What’s past is prologue.”
Lichtman sees Trump’s removal in world-record time as the logical extension of his track record as a conniving dealmaker-breaker.
It takes a book to describe all the ways Citizen Trump end-ran federal labor laws, tax laws, and the hiring of undocumented workers. Yes, Mr. Build-a-Wall built his high-rise and casino empire thusly. Lichtman gives it a chapter.
Then there are all the lawsuits. Trump has been involved in more than 3,500 of them, 1,900 as plaintiff. A USA Today study found that he has been involved in more litigation than the next five leading real estate executives combined.
Then there are the conflicts of interest, foreign and domestic, that Trump pooh-poohs as his family continues to “build the brand.” Writes Lichtman, Trump’s clear and unrepentant conflicts of interest have “no precedent” in American history.
The amazing thing about Lichtman’s impeachment prediction is how little he mentions, and how little he knew at the book’s release, about how much would come down about Russia, collusion, and the obstruction of justice that really fuels Mueller’s probe.
What he knows, and what we know – and this applies even to Trump supporters if they will be honest with themselves for a nanosecond — is that the president’s inability to tell the truth could prove to be his Nixonian downfall.
This is a man who as candidate had more “Pants on Fire” ratings for falsehoods by Politifact than all 21 campaign rivals combined.
The bottom line in this tale is a pattern of lying, writes Lichtman, that makes Trump “more vulnerable to impeachment and removal than any president since President Nixon.”
It’s prophetic that Lichtman wrote this before Trump sent his PR stooges out to explain to the nation that he fired James Comey for mistreating Hillary Clinton.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.