As all who care are aware, on February 7, 2020, President Trump removed from their respective positions European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondlund and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, two witnesses whose testimony implicated the President in a scheme to pressure a vital but vulnerable ally for his own domestic political purposes. The President has since commented that he “imagine[d]” that the military would “take a look” at disciplinary action against Lt. Col. Vindman, a Purple Heart recipient. There is a link below to a National Public Radio account of the removals; what follows is included within the NPR piece:
“Sondland and Vindman join a long list of other witnesses in the Trump impeachment investigation who have moved on from their jobs. Former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovich has retired from the foreign service. William Taylor, who had replaced Yovanovich in Ukraine after Trump recalled her, left in early January. Kurt Volker, the special envoy to Ukraine, resigned as the impeachment process was unfolding. Jennifer Williams, a career foreign service officer who was assigned to Vice President Mike Pence’s office, recently left for a new position. And Tim Morrison, Vindman’s boss at the NSC, left after he testified.”
On February 11, 2020, the United States Department of Justice, led by U.S. Attorney General William Barr, said that it was reducing the sentence it was recommending for convicted Trump confidante Roger Stone after the President tweeted that the 7-9 year term initially recommended by DOJ was “disgraceful” and a “miscarriage of justice.” There is a link to an NBC News account of the DOJ’s shifted stance immediately below. The four U.S. attorneys involved in Mr. Stone’s case, career prosecutors, have withdrawn from the matter in protest.
All, literally, within the first week after the President was acquitted by the Senate.
If I were any Republican Senator save U.S. UT Sen. Mitt Romney, I would be thinking: What have I done? (I concede that they are all probably too busily engaged, cowering in corner stalls of Capitol Hill washrooms, to have such reflections.)
In a note I posted almost two years ago about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of the interactions between Mr. Trump and his associates and the Russian government, I quoted passages from Mario Puzo’s novel, The Godfather, and suggested that Mr. Trump’s legal fate might rest upon whether Mr. Trump had read the novel and utilized the manners employed by the fictional Don Vito Corleone to insulate himself from prosecution for untoward activities. My speculation was obviously entirely wrong; Mr. Trump has ignored the safeguards practiced by the Don, and yet seeming flourished; clearly, whether or not he ever read the novel, he did see and internalize The Godfather Part II:
One cannot help but be dismayed at these events, and at the prospect of more like them. I would, however, submit that they contain a silver lining that is not insignificant, if one still believes in the good intentions of the majority of our people: the President is overplaying his hand, is moving too soon. He is flaunting his self-perceived omnipotence, lack of scruple, contempt for the rule of law, voraciousness, and vindictiveness in the face of our people before securing his re-election, instead of sitting back, and letting his Fox News and Alt-Right propaganda machine, the Democrats’ disarray, and and the seemingly strong economy do his work for him. He’s perhaps making a mistake, one that the fictional Michael Corleone would never make. It’s not too late.