When Trump's chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, admitted the administration withheld $400-million in military aid to the Ukraine while Trump implored the Ukrainian president to investigate Joe Biden's son the ox was gored. Mulvaney freely admitted the quid-pro-quo and told reporters they do it all the time and they should "get over it."
Every member of the U.S. House and Senate knows that this is not done all the time, and that a quid pro quo to further a president’s political interests is verboten. Trump and his cronies are making it increasingly difficult for Republicans to find a reason not to vote for impeachment and removal. Compulsive confessions are a major stumbling block to retaining the loyalty of congressional Republicans.
Second, as if one confession were not enough, the ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, reportedly told the House impeachment panel “that President Trump outsourced the job of handling U.S. policy on Ukraine to Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani, a decision that made Sondland uncomfortable but one he still carried out.” ...The evidence of a quid pro quo is piling up, giving Republicans one more reason to jump ship on Trump.
Finally, in an unprecedented display of chutzpah, Trump announced that next year’s Group of Seven summit would be held at his Doral golf resort near Miami, one of the clearest instances yet of self-enrichment and unconstitutional receipt of emoluments. The emoluments controversy had receded in light of the Ukraine scandal, but such a blatant example of Trump’s willingness to smash government and reap personal financial benefits weighs heavily in favor of removing him. We’d better get him out of there before he makes off with any more loot. The urgency of his removal is intensified when he displays an ever-increasing appetite for unethical, unconstitutional and illegal conduct, about which his aides tell us to “get over it.”
...A steady stream of witnesses continue to testify in the impeachment inquiry, increasing the volume of evidence of what is already an air-tight case. At some point House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) will need to decide that there is enough evidence to convince most persuadable voters of goodwill that Trump’s continued presence in the Oval Office is a danger to the republic. Frankly, that might be any day now.And the Trump factor has a number of Republicans facing re-election next year feeling the heat, including legendary pig castrator, Joni Ernst. The Iowa senator's approval numbers have taken a big hit, especially among Republican voters where she's down 13 points. Several others are in the same boat.
“Republicans representing Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, Maine and Iowa all saw their net approval — the share of voters who approve of a senator’s job performance minus the share who disapprove — decline between the second and third quarters of 2019.” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), who could not manage to tell us whether it is wrong for the president to enlist a foreign government to influence our elections, are down 9 points and 3 points, respectively.
Ernst is in particular trouble. “The slide places her underwater with Iowa voters (39 percent approve and 43 percent disapprove) for the first time and among the 10 most unpopular senators in the country,” the polls found. “Iowa voters of all partisan leanings soured on the first-term senator, but GOP voters were most likely to take a dimmer view of her job performance. Her net approval dropped by 13 points among Republicans, compared with respective 9- and 7-point drops among Democrats and independents.” Uh-oh.
Ernst is not alone. “Ernst is not the only Republican up for re-election next year with a home-state approval below 40 percent: Among the vulnerable incumbents, Martha McSally of Arizona, Cory Gardner of Colorado and Thom Tillis of North Carolina are all below that threshold following a quarter where each saw little movement.”
Meanwhile, vulnerable Democratic incumbents are rising in polls. Sens. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) and Doug Jones (D-Ala.) are up 1 points and 3 points, respectively. If these sort of numbers persist, or get even worse for Republicans, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will lose his majority.
McConnell, infamous for his shameless, ice-water-in-his-veins brand of politics, will do whatever he must to save his members. If that means shoving Trump off-stage, he will gladly do it. (Notice his especially tough condemnation of Trump’s Syria debacle.)
A mound of evidence of plainly impeachable conduct. A GOP majority at risk. One could reasonably expect to see indications that a significant number of Republican senators would kick Trump to the curb to save their own necks and the GOP Senate majority. The game of chicken (“Resign, or we vote to remove you!”) might begin in earnest. Alternatively, Trump could decide that he has accomplished more in three years than any other president accomplished in eight (the best ever!). Why not retire early, grab a pardon from Mike Pence and spend all his time golfing? It is not as far-fetched as it used to be.