Jonathan Chait, writing for New York Magazine, predicts this whole Ukraine scandal just might be Trump’s downfall.
Trump responded to the threat of impeachment by reaffirming why he deserves it. He told reporters impeachment (a mechanism in the Constitution) “shouldn’t be allowed. There should be a way of stopping it. Maybe legally through the courts.” And he told a private audience the media reporting the story were “animals” and “scum” and said the CIA officer who filed the complaint (through approved legal channels) committed “treason” and implied that he should be executed. L’état, c’est Trump, as always.
Part of Trump’s rage stemmed from what appeared to be genuine surprise that the record of him pressuring Zelensky failed to win the approbation he expected. Hadn’t Zelensky flattered him and noted his great electoral victory? Didn’t his counterpart meekly submit to Trump’s demands? How could this be received as anything other than the “perfect” conversation Trump had promised it would be?
Representative Mark Meadows, one of Trump’s more slavish followers, observed in the president’s defense, “He didn’t see anything wrong with the conversation he had with a foreign leader.” That is probably accurate. Trump has a finely honed antenna for assessing winner versus loser, or loyal versus disloyal. But the formulation of moral concepts is not a function he can perform. His brain is no more capable of distinguishing right from wrong than your microwave oven can tell you what’s on Netflix. No American president has more richly deserved impeachment.