Just the Beginning

Stuff is happening, no doubt about it.  But let’s not lose sight of just how big this crisis is for our country.  As tempting as it is to root wholeheartedly for a swift and humiliating defeat of Trump — in the form of impeachment or even criminal prosecution — we might do well to hold off until we can gather sufficient facts to identify and hold accountable as many of his co-conspirators as possible.

Depending on what is discovered by the House and Senate investigations — suddenly kicked into high gear by this week’s dramatic events — and the newly energized FBI and Justice Department investigations, under the direction of Special Counsel Mueller, we very well might be able to get rid of more than just Trump.

Just in case it becomes necessary, and also to allow us to plan our resistance accordingly, here is who would become President once Trump is impeached. (Check out 3 USC 19, a section of the U.S. Code, which was established as part of the Presidential Succession Act of 1947.)

Vice President — Mike Pence.  Given the extent of Pence’s involvement in the transition — he was its Director — and subsequent role in the Mike Flynn firing, it seems very unlikely that Pence would survive calls for his own impeachment for his entanglement in both the underlying crime — colluding with the Russians to hack the election — and the subsequent cover-up.  http://prospect.org/article/russiagate-keep-your-eye-pence

Speaker of the House of Representatives — Paul Ryan.   Though perhaps a harder case to make, evidence exists of Ryan’s own knowledge of the ongoing involvement between the Trump Campaign and the Russian hacking.  The Washington Post revealed earlier this week — in a scoop that would, under any other circumstances, have exploded on the political scene — that back in July, 2016, House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy shared with other Republican leaders his belief that Trump was being paid by Vladimir Putin.  Ryan interceded immediately and “instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: ‘No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.'”  http://wapo.st/2pXRFxO?tid=ss_mail&utm_term=.a8d5b51deef1

That leaves us with President Orrin Hatch, the President Pro Temp of the Senate.  It remains to be seen whether he too will be sullied by the same charges of wilful ignorance if not downright collusion that his House counterparts have been.

But let’s not stop with the question of who takes over for Trump and Pence. There is plenty of evidence to lead to the dismissal of Attorney General Sessions as well, and possibly also other of Trump’s cabinet appointees.  Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, for example, has extensive ties with a Cyprus bank that is at the center of an investigation into Russian money laundering. http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/new-commerce-secretary-at-nexus-of-lucrative-trump-russian-deal-886220355575

And that’s all just based on a brief scan of the news we now know.  Who knows what more will be uncovered as these investigations move forward and continue to gain momentum?  All of which to say, the situation we are in now did not arise all on its own.  Our democracy is and has been under attack — not only by the Russians and their collaborators, but also by the gradual erosion of our own commitment to and faith in democratic governance.

Lots going on folks.  Let’s be sure we don’t cut off the snake’s head only to leave its body to regenerate and come back stronger.

Keep paying attention.