We are rapidly approaching a crisis in the American system of government. Who's ready? President Trump's attacks on the Mueller investigation are sharpening as he and his closest associates evaluate and opt for the best impeachment avoidance strategy.
It is all but certain that, if left to its conclusion, the Mueller report will include felony indictment recommendations on Trump, family members and associates based on conduct in the past four years. The obstruction of justice charge against President Trump himself is already in plain view. In the continuous buzz on Donald Trump, story after story makes a new point illustrating his unfitness for the presidency.
If Trump does not act first, the Mueller report, probably issued this summer, will nicely size up the case for impeachment, putting each congressman on the spot — to impeach or not to impeach? — while looking at a sufficient majority of his or her constituency ready to vote against a congressman refusing to boot Trump.
Trump can see this and thus is launching a full-throated attack on Mueller and his supporting agency, the FBI and anyone who speaks well of it as a preface to a firing of Mueller, closing down the investigation and burying its evidence in the Department of Justice Attorney General's office. Watch then for chimney smoke.
By taking this early action, Trump will switch the dialogue from "Should I be impeached?" to "Is the FBI a corrupt and partisan Democratic agency?" Drawn out sufficiently, this obscures impeachment as the central issue of the November elections and gives him a better chance of surviving impeachment by the current Congress before January and maybe holding onto a majority in the House to block impeachment by the new Congress in January.
Yet this spring we hear little chatter about getting rid of him before the presidential election in 2020. The daily quackery has left the public tolerant as of a new TV series. We already know who he is; just the master of ceremony, offering new entertainment nightly, nothing really has happened. So let it spin on until 2020 when we can kick him out the main door.
But the frightening risks that have been identified in leadership by a neurotically narcissistic and ignorant man persist. Below the catastrophic level of use of nuclear arms, this man has been steadily reducing the historic leadership roles of the United States, including our country's exemplary commitment to democracy, a global economy and international cooperation, all at emerging costs to the domestic economy. The fact is, neither America nor the world can afford another two years with this man in power.
The country must be prepared to impeach him this fall, either before or after the election or in January as a last resort. The key to success in such an effort lies in vigorous resistance to Trump's "preventive war" on Mueller and the FBI, and a strong showing by the Democrats in November. There are enough Republicans sick of Trump so that Democratic majorities are not required.
The main task for the public this summer is to see through Trump's strategy, not be fooled by the "FBI is a bunch of Democrats" nonsense, and keep the pressure on Congress to do what needs to be done.
John Havelock is an Anchorage attorney. He served as attorney general to Gov. Bill Egan and on Gov. Jay Hammond's Growth Policy Council before his service as founder of the University of Alaska justice programs.