In a column for Politico, senior media editor Jack Shafer claimed that President Donald Trump appears to be winning his Senate impeachment trial battle but that he is setting himself to lose the war in the long run.
According to the columnist, the president is likely responsible for directly coming up with his impeachment defense but also notes that he hasn’t looked past the trial and what awaits him if he gets his wish and Senate Republicans dismiss the charges against him.
“Following the maxims laid down by his attorney and mentor, the late Roy Cohn, he’s brushed aside the truth, he’s brushed aside the letter of the law, he’s refused to apologize, and he’s launched counterattack after counterattack. “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” Trump bellowed early in his presidency when Attorney General Jeff Sessions failed to protect him from his enemies,” the columnist explained. “Little did Trump know that like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, the power he sought was always inside him. He’s his own Roy Cohn.”
Shafer notes that Trump shouldn’t sit back and savor his impending pass from the Senate because by forcing embattled GOP lawmakers to toe the line and defend him in the face of overwhelming evidence and polls showing the public wants him ousted from the Oval Office, he may come through worse off following the 2020 elections.
“The ease of the Trump strategy is that it requires him to think only two steps ahead at a time, which is about his limit,” he wrote. “It’s only when you start thinking in three-step increments that things turn dicey for Trump. The long-term effects of Trump’s lies about the Ukraine affair—which he continues to tell on the path to acquittal—have yet to be realized.”
At issue would be the loss of the Senate to the Democrats, taking control away from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who could no longer run interference, which combined with a likely Democratic-led House could make the president’s life miserable.
“In 2020, at least four Republican senatorial incumbents—Susan Collins of Maine, Cory Gardner of Colorado, Martha McSally of Arizona, and Thom Tillis of North Carolina—have real contests on their hands. If Trump beats back conviction in the Senate—as we expect him to—the Democrats will hang the Ukrainian mess around these candidates’ necks for helping to exonerate him. If they all lose, Trump’s triumph in the Senate will ultimately have weakened Trump’s hold on the upper chamber,” he wrote before adding, “But that’s thinking four steps ahead, something the brilliant legal strategist Trump has proved incapable of doing.”
You can read the whole piece here.