Trump: the beginning of the end?
As Donald Trump embarks on the presidential aeroplane Air Force One to start his first international visits as the President of the US, he could hardly be leaving behind a more scandal-ridden White House.
A hectic nine-day tour of Saudi Arabia, Israel, Belgium, Italy and the Vatican will certainly divert attention from what is happening at home but the problems are not going away.
The President’s choice of destinations has raised eyebrows among political commentators and pundits as, historically, the first stops for international visits by US Presidents is usually either Canada or Mexico. Although, in absolute fairness, Trump can probably be forgiven for swerving Mexico where it is rumoured he is quite unpopular after he accused the majority of their population of being rapists.
Instead, Trump has chosen to visit the relatively trouble free and sanguine area of the Middle East where his maverick style is almost certain to be welcomed with open arms. Excellent knowledge of the area and delicate diplomatic skills are characteristics Trump is well known for, at least in his own mind and within the realms of his own imagination things are sure to be a success.
Things are going somewhat worse for ‘The Donald’ back on US soil however as a number of revelations have hit the previously rock solid administration. There has been shock and surprise that an administration so adverse to chaos previously has now been engulfed in what can only be described as the biggest White House crisis since Watergate.
Just over a week ago Trump took the extraordinary decision to unceremoniously fire James Comey, head of the FBI and, totally coincidentally, the head of the investigation into the President’s links with Russia, by releasing a rambling statement to media outlets. Trump gave his reasons for firing Comey as advice provided to him by the Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Days later he then revealed that he had fired Comey over ‘that Russia stuff’.
There was then a memo released, allegedly from former director Comey, showing notes from a meeting with the President in which Trump asked Comey to drop his investigation into collusion with the Russian government to sway the US election. The revelations came to light after the New York Times reported Mr Trump asked Mr Comey to end the investigation into Mr Flynn, citing a memo written by Mr Comey himself.
"I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go," the President said to Mr Comey during that meeting, according to the memo.
"He is a good guy. I hope you can let this go."
As if this weren’t enough, it was then reported by US media outlets that Trump had revealed highly classified information to Russian diplomats in a meeting at the White House. The Washington Post reported on Monday that Trump shared details of intelligence gathered about an Islamic State threat that had been closely guarded within the United States government and among close US allies.
The report said that while Trump did not describe the specific source used to gather the intelligence, he provided highly classified details, apparently connected to an Isis plot related to the use of laptops on board passenger aircraft. It is said that Trump passed on the sensitive information without the permission of the ally state that had gathered it.
Trump has been accused of putting security operatives lives in danger by revealing the information which is thought to have been collected by an ISIS infiltrator, perhaps in Syria where Russia are believed to be fighting a proxy war by supporting current Syrian leader President Assad.
This has been enough to start rumours swirling around Washington that impeachment proceedings are about to be sought by Democrats and Republicans in The House of Representatives. Trump is currently being investigated by five, yes FIVE, government bodies for improper conduct and these include former FBI director Robert Mueller who is heading an independent investigation, the House Intelligence Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, the House Oversight Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee.
With greater numbers of Senators and Congressmen now seemingly willing to listen to the possibility that Trump could be impeached, the wheels have a real sense of being in motion to bring down a presidency with a grand total of four full months to destroy itself.
Lawrence Douglas, for The Guardian has said that ‘The announcement that the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, has appointed Robert Mueller III, the former FBI director, to serve as special counsel overseeing the Russian probe only strengthens the spreading sense that Trump is finished.’
It’s now becoming increasingly hard to disagree with him.