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OnReacting to House vote to impeach, December 1998

The Very Important Lesson Trump Learned From Clinton

And It’s Why Trump Will Never Ever Agree To Questioning By Special Counsel Robert Mueller

The charges for which Bill Clinton was impeached by the House were lying under oath and encouraging other people to lie. All of it tracing to a sexual harassment lawsuit brought by Paula Jones.

Yeah, there was a lot of talk at the time that he might’ve jeopardized national security and put state secrets at risk by bringing Monica Lewinsky into the Oval Office and conducting some official business in her presence. But that wasn’t part of what he was found guilty of by Congress.

And anyway Trump already checked off that box when he had the Russian Foreign Minister and Ambassador into the Oval Office and announced to the world he told them state secrets, Tweeting he had the “absolute right” to do that.

Secret sharing in the Oval Office with Russia Foreign Minister Lavrov and then Ambassador to the U.S. Kislyak, May 2017

For Clinton in the end, what did him in was lying. Plain and simple. Many people forget that. And since Trump pretty much almost never doesn’t lie, why would he ever put himself in the position of lying to investigators? Answer is: he won’t.

And following Clinton’s example, you might ask why worry? Clinton was not convicted by the Senate (Trump at this point wouldn’t be either), and he continued being President. But it hurt his ability to get things done. And the impeachment process itself was so cumbersome — by design — that it at least partly derailed his political agenda.

Also, there’s one person at least who knows everything Trump did, and that’s Trump. And that fact alone provides a lot of insight into why the President keeps praising now-convicted felons (Flynn, Manafort), while demonizing investigators trying to get to the bottom of the mess. And remember during the campaign when Trump said he’d stop saying the election was rigged if he won? That hasn’t exactly turned out to be true. But now his lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, is trying out the same tactic with the Mueller team: if they’d only come out and say Trump is free-and-clear, then the President would stop with the “17 angry Democrats” and the dispute over Mueller’s golf membership at a Trump operated club, and instead, suddenly, will admit the investigation was “fair”.

All of that back-and-forth is purely about the fact that as offensive as Trump’s daily Tweets on the Mueller investigation may be, right now Trump’s still playing defense as the Special Counsel moves closer and closer to the goal line. It’s getting pretty close to the point where there’s only one way to stop Mueller in his tracks: Trump’s got to be the one carrying the ball. And in order for that to happen, he’ll have to fire a lot of people and hire people who’ll let him stampede on through (of course, with the complicity of the Senate, which’ll have to approve anybody he nominates). This won’t end pretty.