And The Third Year, Came The ‘impeachment’ | International

“We have defended the borders of other nations while refusing to defend ours, and we have spent billions of dollars in other countries while the American infrastructure was deteriorating. We have made other countries rich while wealth, strength and confidence in our country disappeared from the horizon. ” On January 20, 2017, President Donald Trump took office with a speech similar to the one that had won the elections, painting a dark portrait of the most powerful country in the world – “This American butcher shop stops here and now,” he told refer to deindustrialization and the drug epidemic — and advancing the nationalist turn that would come.

“From this moment, America will be first. Every decision we make in commerce, taxes, immigration, foreign affairs … will be taken for the benefit of American workers and American families. ” The words written in the notepad of the journalists who covered the inauguration were blurred by the drops of water that began to fall just when the new president took the floor. The press compared that day with the much more crowded Barack Obama possession ceremonies. At night, in the traditional dance, Trump commented exultantly: “The crowd has been incredible today. There was not even rain. When we finished the speech, we went inside, and then it fell. ”

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And so, with a debate as prosaic as the weather, or the success of the public, the era of "alternative events" was inaugurated, as they were baptized by a Trump adviser, Kellyanne Conway. He also began a sickly connection with the media – the Trump despises and insults them, but he loves to appear in them and makes declarations compulsively – and a new model of relationship with the rest of the world that will leave sequels many years later this Government win or not reelection the Republican next November.

The presidency of Trump, the businessman and showman who gave the bell to win in the 2016 elections, arrives on Monday to his third anniversary marked by impeachment, the Senate's political trial for cases of serious crimes and that has led to held another two times in the history of the United States. However, a strange sense of routine involves this episode, perhaps because the president's acquittal is taken for granted, given the Republican majority who clothes him in the upper house; Or, maybe because he arrives after three years aboard a mechanical bull.

“It is the culmination of one of the most erratic presidencies of the modern era, but impeachment is the most severe form of political and constitutional control that can be invoked. History will keep this process as one of the main things to mention to understand this Administration, ”says Michael Bitzer, Professor of Politics and History at Catawba College in North Carolina.

This Government is a challenge for historians and analysts, who find it difficult to find parallels in the past or draw plot threads. For the rest of the world, it is a focus of instability.

On Monday, January 23, 2017, Trump made his first decision as president, and withdrew the United States from the Pacific trade agreement (TPP) that Barack Obama had signed with 11 other countries. A few months later he did the same with the Paris Climate Agreement and, the following year, to the despair of the great powers, he also broke the nuclear pact with Iran. Just a few weeks ago he ordered the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleiman, escalating tension with the Middle East. He has become the first US president to step on North Korea, is pure sympathy for Vladimir Putin, has started a trade war with China – now in truce – and has executed the controversial move of the US embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem .

Traditional partners such as Canada or Europe have been treated as enemies, with public insults, and allies in wars such as Syria have left them announced as withdrawn from troops without consensus. To the neighboring governments of the south, to that of Mexico and the countries of Central America, they have folded their arm in immigration matters under threat of tariff offensive.

For Amanda Sloat, a researcher at the Brookings Institute with a decade of experience in the State Department, the consequences will be lasting. “Trump has neglected the importance of the allies in addressing global challenges, calling the European Union an enemy and questioning the US commitment to NATO. These actions have been corrosive to the trust of the transatlantic relationship. Even if there is a new president, Europeans will wonder if America is going to abandon them one day, ”he says.

In the United States, Trump has just signed up a couple of important political victories: the new American trade agreement and the pact with China. But he has also learned that governing is not tweeting, that replacing Obama's health reform requires consensus on the alternative, or that building the controversial wall in Mexico needs congressional complicity, even if he looks for shortcuts such as the national emergency declaration using Pentagon funds. . An executive coup – something similar to a decree law in Spain – did, as he had warned, the immigration ban with a group of Muslim-majority countries and has restricted the conditions for legal immigration.

But, probably, the most irreversible and lasting, which hardly a new Government can erase, is the breaking of the unwritten rules of the presidency of the United States. Trump has normalized the insult since the highest institution, showed the guts of discussions that were previously secret and turned the messages on Twitter, written in capital letters and with admirations, in his preferred way of communication, either to threaten a thermonuclear war or to tell your secretary of state that you are fired.

Julian Zelizer, a professor at Princeton University who has just published Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974, sees only the way he has to communicate “instantly, without a filter, and with a raw language” and that the bar of presidential rhetoric has already gone down forever.

This turn of what the United States wants to be in the world has been running amid the scandals. The one in the Russian plot exploded even before the inauguration. The investigation of the special prosecutor Robert S. Mueller found no evidence of his collusion with the Kremlin, but uncovered his attempts to torpedo the investigations and laid the groundwork to accuse him of obstruction. He is also suspected of a crime of illegal campaign financing for payments to a pornographic film actress to silence, within a few weeks of the 2016 election, his supposed idyll, and is investigated for accepting money from foreign governments through his empire hotelier.

But it has been a recent case of maneuvers on the Government of Ukraine to force an investigation into its political rival Joe Biden, a candidate for 2020, which confronts him with a political tribunal for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. The Democratic victory in the House of Representatives in the 2018 legislatures has become the great turning point of the Trump era, which has made it possible to open this process.

It is not clear the effect that the impeachment will have at the polls next November, neither from the point of view of the damage to credibility among its voters nor in the case of a boomerang effect, which spurs to its bases to leave running to defend the president with his vote in November. The news cycle in Washington is so frantic that it is not known how much will be said about this trial in summer, if it really will remain in the minds of Americans who should elect president. The economy is doing well and Trump's popularity is at 45%, according to Gallup's most recent data, a rate that, although it seems low, is at the peak of his term.

It is difficult to draw conclusions about it, with so few precedents of impeachment in history (that of Andrew Johnson in 1868 and that of Bill Clinton in 1999), but the level of partisanship, of tribal confrontation, is now higher than 20 years ago , as the votes of all the previous phases of this trial reveal, in which the legislators have pronounced themselves in the line of the party almost to the millimeter, with few exercising of loose verse. Society has also become more cynical. If a turning point were to be cited, one could think of the Watergate case, which led to the resignation of Richard Nixon before the political trial. Before that episode, more than half of Americans responded in polls that hoped that presidents were doing "the right thing." The percentages have never recovered.

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