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The president has put the Republicans on a tightrope -- again

Susan Estrich on

In Texas on Thursday, former Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said that at least 35 Republican senators would vote to impeach the president -- if they could do so privately.

Flake's colleagues, particularly those who are up in 2020, have had precious little to say. The president has put them on a tightrope -- again.

In the first days after the release of the whistleblower complaint, the country was -- as usual -- divided right down the middle in terms of support of impeachment proceedings: Democrats overwhelmingly for, Republicans overwhelmingly against, independents not yet convinced. I put it that way because what should be worrying Republicans, among many other things, is that the news keeps getting worse and worse, and with it, the inevitability of articles of impeachment being not only introduced but also approved.

It is terrible to be afraid of your own president. But how can you not be? Even people with borderline personality disorder generally have some limits.

Donald Trump has none.

No limits. No judgment.

 

The only question is what his party will do.

When I worked at the Democratic National Committee 10 years after Watergate, the most stunning thing to me was that Richard Nixon risked his presidency to wiretap a struggling fundraising operation in what was shaping up to be a landslide defeat for Democrats. How insecure could he have been? And, really, is Hunter Biden an effective weapon against the father of Donald Trump Jr.? Why would the president take such needless and reckless risks?

For Trump, it's not insecurity. Just the opposite. It is the monumental arrogance of a monarch who is above the law. It is precisely what the Founding Fathers rebelled against.

Of all the things Donald Trump doesn't need, it is the help of a foreign power to get himself reelected. And using Hunter Biden as the weapon? After years of defending his own family's finances? Donald Trump is many things but not stupid. Having spent the last two years denying that he ever sought such help, he picks up the phone and breaks every rule of diplomacy and democracy and asks Ukraine to dig dirt on his rival's son ...

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