Shakedown Street

1600 Pennsylvania Ave has probably seen its share of unsavory types over the years, but I doubt any were as blatantly corrupt and lacking in any respect for the office as the current occupant. It’s not surprising to anyone who has any knowledge of his history in business. He’s all about making a buck in any way possible while promoting himself as the best businessman in the known universe. His dealings have been shady, littered with bankruptcies, stiffing investors, lenders and contractors. The little we’ve seen of his tax history shows fairly obvious tax avoidance strategies that are likely tax evasion instead. As President he’s made the most of his position by constant trips to his properties, dragging the secret service and the rest of the government entourage along, charging the taxpayer for all of it. The most egregious of these offenses involved having Air Force planes enroute to the Middle East make a lengthy trip out of the way to Scotland to gas up at a small, struggling airport that Trump’s golf resort relies on for tourists. Of course the Air Force personal stayed at the Trump resort while they were there. It’s shameful and unconstitutional, but again, not surprising.

It’s also not surprising that he has no regard for the laws of the land as demonstrated by his willful cooperation with Russia to help him win the 2016 election, then the repeated efforts to stop the investigation into his participation. Yet he got away with it, and instead of wiping his brow and choosing to stay on the straight and narrow path after skating by on the epic scandal, he got right back to work. Due to his gullibility, ignorance and irrationality, he is prone to all manner of conspiracy theories. Due to his narcissism, he seems to really believe he’s an extremely stable genius as he has proclaimed many times, somehow without embarrassment. He has claimed to know more about almost any topic than anyone else, and has dismissed government intelligence agencies, scientists, and basically everyone else. As he infamously said when asked who he consulted with as a candidate for President, he consults mostly with himself, as he has said a lot of things and has a very good brain. As a result, he continues to believe that the former Vice President, Joe Biden, did something untoward when he was the messenger to the Ukrainian government in an effort to get them to clean up their corruption. His son Hunter ended up with a cushy board job for a Ukrainian company at some later date, which while unseemly, was investigated and found to have no relevance to the VP’s mission to Ukraine and just another case of a child with a famous pedigree getting advantages not available to common folk. Trump of all people should get that. Perhaps because of how his corrupt mind works, he can’t accept that others don’t operate as he does and he is convinced, no matter how many times he’s told there’s nothing to the conspiracy theory, that Ukraine holds the secrets to Biden’s corruption.

When the opportunity presented himself, he moved in for the shakedown. Congress appropriated military aid money for the struggling democracy who is in an ongoing war against Russia. Trump saw the opening and delayed the transfer of funds and sent his pal Rudy Giuliani to find out if the newly elected President of Ukraine was willing to play ball with Trump, and by play ball he meant, investigate Joe Biden and his son. Once it was deemed the Ukrainian President was desperately seeking the aid he had been promised, Trump played mob boss and got on the horn with Ukraine. The US has been very good to Ukraine, says the two-bit mobster DJ Trump. But he can’t say its been reciprocal. Ukraine’s new President plays along, complimenting Trump and letting him know he stayed at Trump Tower while he was in NY. That’s good, but not what the mob boss is looking for. When the Ukrainian anxiously inquires about the aid, saying Ukraine is ready to purchase more anti-tank Javelins from the US, the man sworn to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States decides the laws don’t apply to him, and tells Ukraine, “I would like you to do us a favor though,” then proceeds to request he investigate Joe Biden in coordination with Rudy G. and the US Attorney General Bill Barr. Just to be sure the message was clear, he repeated it 7 more times. Then, as all innocent people are prone to do, the transcript of the call was hidden away in a secret, code word protected server that typically stores covert ops information.

At some point in the affairs of men, someone will stand up for justice and do the right thing. What appears to be a CIA professional blew the whistle on the Trump hustle and in no time, we find ourselves as a nation facing the impeachment of a sitting President. The mob boss may be nervous, but he’s not done being a gangster. He’s in the midst of witness intimidation, threats against those investigating his wrongdoings, and warning of a Civil War should he be removed from his throne.

There’s no telling where this ends up, but the US faces its most serious existential challenge in recent history, with its systems being tested against a man who has strung together a coalition of support that, while a minority of the country, is still millions of members strong. He will obviously obstruct, deflect, attack, and threaten, while the wheels of justice turn. Public support for the investigation has grown rapidly, as has support for removing the rogue occupant of the Oval Office. It’s early going, but as of now, there’s reason to be cautiously optimistic. It’s possible that the American people just will not tolerate a mobster in the seat of power where so many men have sat and tried to do America’s bidding, rather than advance their own personal interests.

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