We are 118 days into the Trump presidency. In a little over a week, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, and he revealed highly classified security intelligence to the Russians in the Oval Office. In that same time, we’ve learned that the intelligence Trump willingly gave up connects to Israeli assets, and the level of detail Trump gave is enough for savvy adversarial foreign intelligence officers to reverse engineer in order to stop whoever it is. We’ve also learned that there is strong reason to believe that James Comey kept a paper trail of every conversation he had with the president, and that he is in possession of a memo that has Trump asking Comey to stop his investigation into Michael Flynn, who was fired in the wake of revelations about his connections with Russia. Now, Democrats are crying out for impeachment, and so far congressional Republicans have largely stepped aside and not offered the usual spin and defense of Trump to which we’ve grown accustomed. As one Trump aide put it, it’s hard to see how the president isn’t “completely fucked.”
Anything else I’m missing?
I won’t try to predict whether Trump will be successfully impeached, though it is hard to imagine that congressional Republicans would touch Trump and sacrifice their careers in the midst of an ever-polarizing populace and a right-wing propaganda machine drilling it into the heads of its audience that Trump is doing a fantastic job. There’s the possibility of the 25th amendment coming into play, but it’s never been used, and since I’m not a constitutional scholar, I won’t pretend to have an honest grasp of when it should.
But one week is a short time to have so many scandals blow up at once, and it’s likely that this isn’t the end. Maybe they won’t come in such rapid succession has they have over the last nine days, but they’ll keep coming. And like I said, we’re only 118 days in. This is insane.
This is also increasingly looking like Trump won’t last his full term, something I thought was ridiculous to say before a week ago (and honestly still think was a decent assessment given what little info about the Trump-Russia connection we had). So what does that mean?
It means that Trump has so far only surpassed William Henry Harrison in number of days served in office. He has to stay in office another 1144 days in order to surpass all the presidents who died during their first term in office, and 1312 days to surpass all the president’s who were finishing another president’s term and were not elected president thereafter.
What happens next, of course, depends on what we learn from the FBI’s investigation into his campaign and the contents of the Comey memo (and others, surely). If it really does turn out to be as bad as it looks right now, I don’t know how Trump weathers the storm. That’s not to say I think he can’t—his base are loyal to him like dogs to a master, and that base is large enough to give him political power other Republicans are afraid to question. But it essentially comes down to whether or not the scandals are as bad or worse than they appear to be, and whether Republicans in congress choose to do anything about it.
Although even before the scandals broke I never took talk of impeachment or removal seriously, expecting Trump to be in office for at least four years, and although a part of me fears that even in the face of obvious wrongdoing Trump will be permitted to complete his term(s), I can also imagine Trump not making it beyond the threshold of days served of presidents who died in office or filled another’s term. That alone would speak volumes about the kind of president he was.