"We are in a real testing time for democracy," said Thomas Mann, a scholar at the Brookings Institution. "You really have to go back to Watergate to find anything of this scope and dimension."
The indictments and guilty pleas are causing a firestorm of media analysis, social media posts, tweets, and worry, particularly in our nation’s capital. Some diminish what is going on by making convenient analysis and excuses, while others may be over analyzing what is happening with the Mueller investigation.
Regardless, the following quote is appropriate:
"We are in a real testing time for democracy," said Thomas Mann, a scholar at the Brookings Institution. "You really have to go back to Watergate to find anything of this scope and dimension." As reported by The Washington Post
As The Washington Post accurately states, “criminal investigations can expose malignancies in Washington.” In this case, there is a cancer in Donald Trump’s world. The cancer may be malignant, creating an incurable disease that existed in Trump’s organizations before he became the occupant of the Oval Office. He, like his business associates, may have played it so fast and loose that he participated, willingly, in criminal activity. Then again, he may be ignorant of what is going on around him. Regardless, what happened before Trump moved into the Oval Office may be a indicator of what happened in his campaign and what is happening now that he is in the Oval Office.
Lie down with dogs, wake up with fleas?
The indicators are that there is more to come, more facts to reveal and likely more prosecutions on the horizon. "The charges brought last week could easily result in prosecutions extending into 2019, just on the trial level, not even the appellate level," said Jonathan Turley, a law professor at George Washington University Law School. "That is going to continue to have a dysfunctional impact on the Trump administration." As reported by The Washington Post.
Will the investigation implicate Trump? Yes, but whether he committed a crime is yet to be seen. However, the fall out is continuing. Consider Trump campaign advisor Papadopoulos:
Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to giving false statements to federal agents in his initial interviews about the interactions. He now says that he discussed the Russian overtures he had received with several other people in the Trump campaign, including a "senior policy adviser," a "campaign supervisor" and a "high-ranking campaign official." Among the campaign officials he emailed were Manafort, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and national campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis. As reported by The Washington Post
Therefore, the cancer is spreading, how far it reaches is unknown. However, Donald Trump can no longer deny that his administration is filled with swamp rats that are swimming around in a cesspool of deception, splashing the dirty swamp water all over his administration, including Trump himself.
As CNN puts it Donald Trump can't tweet his way out of this one.
The President's tried and tested political defense mechanism is to whip up chaos to tip his enemies off balance and launch a fierce counter attack. He'll also take cover with his ultra-loyal political base, rely on Republicans who are too cowed to repudiate him and fog an issue with alternative facts.
If Trump tries to whip up chaos, he only looks guilty. If Trump continues to deny what is happening around him through simplistic statements showing he is hiding his head in the sand, he looks not only guilty but incompetent and unwilling to do something about the growing situation around him. As Thomas Mann appropriately put it, we are in a real testing time, if not crisis time, for democracy. How Donald Trump handles the situation will demonstrate not only his ability to cope with the issues, supporting the republic we live in, but will also be a true test of his character.
So, far his reaction shows he is either in denial, or he is a guilty man trying to hide his tracks. If his next move is to fire Mueller, that firing will clearly show he is a man trying to hide his tracks.
Either way, there is trouble for Trump and trouble for Congress, how both react will be an important test for our republic.
How the Mueller investigation unfolds will be a test of our justice system.
Either way, we are in a testing time for our democracy.