It’s the knowing smirk that rankles most.
When Donald Trump flashes his grating, self-satisfied grin, he’s signalling to you and me that he’s untouchable, beyond the reach of special counsel, Robert Mueller, and the comical remnants of the “rule of law”.
It’s his easy, quick way of quashing the frayed spirits and hopes of those of us aching for his belated comeuppance and eviction from the White House.
But Trump knows he’s not going anywhere, anytime soon. So, he basks in his immunity and smiles. It’s his tiny middle finger to anyone who believes that Mueller, the FBI or Congress will save the US.
Trump’s right. No one is going to save the US because there is no saviour leading a righteous cavalry over the horizon riding to its rescue and impeachment. Mueller isn’t John Wayne. Anyway, if The Duke were around today, he’d probably campaign for Trump.
Still, a legion of progressives clings, like desperate shipwreck survivors, to the risible myth that Mueller and his busy band of G men will ultimately slay the idiot King. It’s simply a matter of time, they say. Mueller’s coming guns-a-blazing and he will deliver the US from the pestilence of Teflon Don.
The proof, they say, that the US’s deliverance is at hand arrived late last week when one of Trump’s faithful courtiers, Lieutenant General Michael Flynn strode mute into a Washington, DC court and plead guilty to lying to Mueller’s men.
Blunt, cautionary note to progressives: It’s not 1974 and Trump isn’t going to be impeached by this or perhaps any future Congress as currently constituted.
Flynn, who was Trump’s National Security adviser for slightly more than a nanosecond, has turned, in effect, co-operating witness. The Naval War college graduate who once famously led a frothing Republican mob in a “lock her [Hilary Clinton] up” chant, was now reportedly squawking to the feds to save himself from being locked up for presumably a long time.
It was a glorious, near-orgasmic moment for progressives who cheered like giddy school kids: You see, Trump will be impeached. Flynn’s got the goods on his ex-boss, Trump’s kids, Ivanka’s hubby, Jared Kushner, and Vice President Mike Pence. The dirty dominoes are about to fall. Mug shots are in the offing. The system works. The good guys will prevail. It’s 1974 again. Trump is Richard Nixon redux and you know what happened to Tricky Dick Nixon.
Blunt, cautionary note to progressives: It’s not 1974 and Trump isn’t going to be impeached by this or perhaps any future Congress as currently constituted. The good guys aren’t likely to prevail. So, curb your enthusiasm. Look, if the rule of law or decency existed in the US’s capital, Trump would already have been impeached.
This stain of a president has, like many of his predecessors, offended the Constitution – he quite possibly hasn’t read, but swore to uphold – so many times since his inauguration to warrant being impeached more than once.
Remember when Trump sacked FBI director James Comey and the impeachment chorus cried: Oh, that’s it, he’s gone too far. Then, nothing happened.
Remember when Trump called fascists who roamed around Charlottesville, Virginia, carrying tiki torches with one hand, while offering stiff-armed Nazi salutes with the other, “very fine people” and the impeachment chorus cried: Oh, that’s it, he’s gone too far. Then, nothing happened.
Remember when Trump gave his blessing to a disgraced former Alabama judge’s Senate bid despite the deviant’s disqualifying habit of allegedly trolling shopping malls for girls for sex and the impeachment chorus cried: Oh, that’s it, he’s gone too far. Then, nothing happened again.
I could go on for another column.
This time is different, the impeachment chorus says. This time Trump is surely going to be charged with obstruction of justice and we’ve got the Twitter-obsessed charlatan’s tweet to prove it. He’s done, they say.
Meanwhile, Alan Dershowitz is telling anyone with a microphone or a TV camera that Mueller’s probe is fatally “misguided,” that President Trump can’t be charged with obstruction of justice and Flynn may turn out to be a legal “nothing burger”. And the ageing former Harvard Law professor insists he’s no friend of Trump’s, to boot.
Sixty-three million Americans and Fox News certainly are. They’re more than just friends, of course. They’re more like cultists who, like most cultists, have abandoned reason, reality and dignity to pay slavish fidelity to their infallible and illiterate deity.
Trump derives his strength, confidence and impunity from the vast and rabid network of rancid, right-wing enablers on radio, TV and social media who, in lock ideological step with the president’s locusts, wouldn’t, it’s clear, dump their dear leader even if he did shoot someone on 5th Avenue.
The media landscape in 2017 doesn’t remotely resemble 1974. Trump can rely on Fox News and company to discredit Mueller’s agents and any potential criminal charges as a politically motivated vendetta engineered by an old, compromised Washington hand. It will work because it has worked.
Do progressives believe that a solitary obstruction of justice charge is going to prompt this hear-no-evil, see-no-evil Congress to stir from its moral, legal and ethical hibernation and miraculously summon the will to defy Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh and remove this disgrace from office?
It’s not going to happen.
The US’s vaunted structure of so-called “checks and balances” is a silly, quaint anachronism. Progressives who remain convinced that Saint Mueller and the other “sacred” institutions that are supposedly designed to first neuter, then expel authoritarians like Trump, are deluding themselves.
Trump isn’t being ostracised, let alone expelled.
Trump has ample reason to keep smiling.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.