Not long after the 2016 election, over drinks and conversation on the back deck with friends, I made a prediction: Donald Trump would be impeached by the House, convicted by the Senate — and try to remain in office by force. It was clear before the election that Trump is a corrupt madman, and that there was no ‘better’ Donald Trump waiting to emerge once the hurly-burly of campaigning had ended, so how else could the story possibly end?
New York Times columnist Charles Blow has figured it out:
I expect Trump to admit nothing, even if faced with proof positive of his own misconduct. There is nothing in the record to convince me otherwise. He will call the truth a lie and vice versa.
I also don’t think that Trump would ever voluntarily leave office as Nixon did, even if he felt impeachment was imminent. I’m not even sure that he would willingly leave if he were impeached and the Senate moved to convict, a scenario that is hard to imagine at this point.
I don’t think any of this gets better, even as the evidence becomes clearer. I don’t believe that Trump’s supporters would reverse course in the same way that Nixon’s did. I don’t believe that the facts Mueller presents will be considered unassailable. I don’t believe Trump will go down without bringing the country down with him.
In short, I don’t believe we are reaching the end of a nightmare, but rather we are entering one. This will not get easier, but harder.
There are, indeed, ugly times ahead. It’s crazy, but Trump’s cult identifies with him and his fortunes; when he is convicted, they will take it personally and rally to him.