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Battle of Midway

 

January 3, 2019



Anyone even remotely interested in 20th Century military history is at least somewhat familiar with the major battles of World War Two. Pearl Harbor, D-Day, and Iwo Jima come to mind. So does the Battle of Midway, a victory for the U.S. Navy that effectively ended Japan’s hopes of Pacific domination.

Much as that famed naval assault was a turning point in the Pacific War, 2019’s version could result in a swift end of the Trump era.

This could get ugly in a hurry

This month brings a key milestone, the midway point of the Trump presidency. And with it, a new Congress, the House half of which is no longer in a position to provide helpful cover to the president. Gone are the partisan roadblocks that Trump flunkies like Devin Nunes and Paul Ryan put up to protect Trump from investigation and possible indictment.

The incoming 116th Congress will not result in the impeachment of Donald Trump. That much is guaranteed. While the Democrats will be the majority party in the House, gaining much-anticipated committee chairmanships and the power to control investigations, using that power to open active impeachment proceedings will be a complete waste of time with the Republicans maintaining their hold in the Senate.

But what is certain is the inevitable tidal wave of hearings and subpoenas that will uncover secrets – personal and business-related – that will cause a great deal of frustration and embarrassment for the president and his family. It won’t be long before the tax returns are publicly unveiled, giving us an honest look into the First Family’s finances. And to think, a little bit of honesty during the 2016 campaign could have allowed Trump to avoid the impending heartache.

The truth will out

Had Mr. Trump made even a token effort at truthfulness during his run for the presidency, he could have sidestepped what is now about to cause him considerable woe. He could have provided limited but accurate information about his finances, enough to satisfy public opinion and possibly diffuse the speculation about wrongdoing, suspicions that have only intensified as more and more of Trump’s statements have been proved false.

Instead, the coming months are going to expose the questionable deals Trump and his company has made with banks and business partners around the globe. As those details are made public, opportunities will come to explore how the president of the United States is putting the interests of himself and his family ahead of the rest of America.

Huge loans with lenders including Germany’s Deutsche Bank are already believed to have put President Trump and his company in a precarious financial position, with the amount of debt greatly exceeding the value of his assets. Could the threat of calling in those loans be used by those banks as leverage against our president, influencing him to make policy decisions to appease the creditors?

Could there be a hidden arrangement with bigwigs in Saudi Arabia that Trump desperately wants to keep under wraps? One that would explain his eagerness to blame the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi on anyone except Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman?

Is there an agreement with billionaire oligarchs – or Putin himself – that motivates the president to make moves friendly to Russia? Could Trump’s refusal to call out Putin for trying to manipulate the 2016 presidential election – which the USA’s entire intelligence community concluded as fact – be due to evidence of shady activities that the former KGB agent is holding as a form of blackmail?

Until now, the co-equal legislative branch has prevented much of these and other aspects of the president’s backroom dealings from being investigated. But the midterm elections have changed that, as more and more Americans decided to use their votes to make sure that at least half of Congress uses its constitutional powers of checks and balances.

Of course, President Trump could decide that he would rather not go through all the coming tribulation. He could simply walk away, abandoning the rest of his term with the hope that the Democrats in Congress – and Special Counsel Robert Mueller – will then decide to let bygones be bygones. Here’s a news flash for Trump: resignation won’t mean that the investigations will fade away.

The Trump brand is severely weakened, as only his most devout followers have any desire to buy the cheap trinkets emblazoned with his name. His best hope now is negotiating protection from the next president, a deal that was probably worked out a long time ago.

2019, the year of ‘46’

As the heat is turned up, we are much closer to the day that Mike Pence is ushered into the Oval Office as the 46th president of the United States. With a blanket pardon of his predecessor and the entire Trump family as his first official act, Pence will stumble his way through the remainder of the term as little more than a placeholder. He will be encouraged by his party not to run in 2020 as the Republicans try to distance themselves from the Trump administration. I doubt the voters of 2020 will be so quick to forgive and forget.

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of the Herald owners, employees or advertisers. The Herald presents a variety of opinions from those in the Cove community in the interests of fairness and democracy. The majority opinion is not the only valid opinion.

Archived columns and resources can be found at Mr. Scott’s blog, thenonfictionsection.com.

 

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