Sunday, November 03, 2019

Chomsky: Impeachment Will Not Hurt Trump

theintercept |  MH: Let’s talk impeachment. The Democrats have launched an impeachment inquiry into President Trump specifically around this suggestion that he was pressuring a foreign country Ukraine to dig up dirt on his political opponent and even withholding military aid until they agreed to do so. Do you support the House Democrats’ decision to finally start an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump?

NC: First notice something, they’re going after Trump not on his major crimes but because he went after a leading Democrat. Does that remind you of anything? Yes. Watergate. They didn’t go after Nixon on his major crimes. They were off the record. It was because he had attacked the Democratic party. 

MH: Good point. 

NC: So yes, they’ll protect themselves. Is it the right thing to do? I mean, Trump is impeachable 100 times over. You know, he’s a major crook. There’s no doubt about it. Is it politically wise? I frankly doubt it. I think it’ll turn out pretty much like the Mueller report, which, that I thought was also a political mistake. What’ll happen is probably the House will impeach, goes to the Senate. The Republican senators are utterly craven. They’re terrified of Trump’s voting base. So they’ll vote to turn down the impeachment request. Trump will come along, say I’m vindicated. Say it was the Deep State and the treacherous Dems trying to overturn the election. Oh, vote for me. 

MH: I had the filmmaker Michael Moore on the show last week, and he thinks that eventually this evidence is going to pile up against Trump that’s so damning — and we’ve already seen some of the testimony from the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and others — that actually he thinks Republican senators, some of them who you know, who need to save their skins will join Senate Democrats to vote to remove Trump from office. You don’t seem to buy that?

NC: I think you may find a handful who will find a way to evade taking a position But if you just look at the record of the party — I gave you a couple of examples, but we could go on — it’s very hard to imagine any bit of principle emerging. It’s true that if some of them thought they were really going to suffer for it politically or in other ways, maybe they’d change, but that doesn’t seem too likely. I mean, just take a look at Trump’s voting base, you know, there are pretty regular polls and studies. They haven’t changed. They buy his line. Here’s our hero. The one man in the world who’s willing to stand up for us.

MH: Although whether it works or not in the Senate, it doesn’t mean the House Democrats shouldn’t take a stand regardless of whether Republican Senators convict. Can Trump be beaten at the ballot box next November? Is there a Democratic candidate who you think can beat him or more than one candidate?

NC: Well, here it’s very interesting to see what’s being done. You may have seen a day or two ago in the New York Times was a big article about a meeting of the Democratic centrists, the establishment, the billionaires, the donors, you know, the mainstream political figures. And it was about, their concern about just what you asked, is there a Democrat who can defeat Trump? And they went through the possible Democratic candidates and discussed their flaws, and then asked, can we bring in someone else like Bloomberg or Michelle Obama? Take a look at the leading candidates they listed: Warren, Biden and Mayor Pete. Do you notice somebody missing? 

MH: Senator Sanders doesn’t make the cut of these lists.

NC: There’s a very good reason for it. He has absolutely infuriated the liberal establishment by committing a major crime. It’s not his policies. His crime was to organize an ongoing political movement that doesn’t just show up at the polls every four years and push a button, but keeps working. That’s no good. The rabble is supposed to stay home. Their job is to watch not to participate.