My colleagues are covering the details of the emerging DOJ scandal tied to the sentencing of Roger Stone. I want to note a pattern, which seems critical. Famously, the day after Robert Mueller testified before Congress Trump was on the phone with President Zelensky of Ukraine, trying to bully him into opening those investigations. The plot had been going on for months – but Trump was largely in the background, letting his henchman speech for him. It was on July 25th when Trump grabbed the plot with both hands and communicated directly to Zelensky. He followed up by shutting down the military aid pipeline.
The day after he finally felt he was free and clear, that his allies had shut the investigations down, he was back at it and upping the ante. He learned that he absolutely could get away with it and he went right back to it.
In recent days we’ve seen a striking replay of the pattern. The moment Trump was acquitted he started firing most or all of the public officials who had obeyed congressional subpoenas. Today he mused that he might have the Pentagon further punish LTC Alexander Vindman. And now we have this direct, brazen interference in the Roger Stone case.
We keep hearing these risible claims from acquitting Republican Senators that, well, sure he must have learned his lesson. This impeachment was no fun. But each time he learns the obvious lesson. All the “adults in the room” who said he absolutely, positively couldn’t do that … well, they were wrong. Morally and practically. He did it and he was 100% fine. And every Senator who called privately and said you absolutely can’t do that … well, they were wrong too. Because he did it and when they sat in judgment of him, they agreed it was fine. A perfect phone call.
He keeps doing anything he wants and getting away with it. The lesson is really clear.