President Trump agrees with Democrats that the current impeachment scandal is “bigger than Watergate” — he just disagrees on what exactly the scandal is and who’s the true culprit.
On Sunday, Trump tweeted out a summary of what he says has actually been going on for the last three years, resulting in two articles of impeachment against him, passed last week without a single Republican vote.
It started with the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton campaign-funded Steele dossier, which Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigation on FISA abuse found played “a central and essential role” in the origins of the FBI’s surveillance of the Trump campaign, said Trump. The Democrats’ smear effort was then aided and abetted by a “corrupt media.”
“The Democrats and Crooked Hillary paid for & provided a Fake Dossier, with phony information gotten from foreign sources, pushed it to the corrupt media & Dirty Cops, & have now been caught,” he tweeted. “They spied on my campaign, then tried to cover it up — Just Like Watergate, but bigger!”
The Democrats and Crooked Hillary paid for & provided a Fake Dossier, with phony information gotten from foreign sources, pushed it to the corrupt media & Dirty Cops, & have now been caught. They spied on my campaign, then tried to cover it up – Just Like Watergate, but bigger!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 22, 2019
“We determined that the Crossfire Hurricane team’s receipt of Steele’s election reporting on September 19, 2016 played a central and essential role in the FBI’s and Department’s decision to seek the FISA order,” Horowitz’s long-anticipated report concludes. A fourth element of the initial FISA application, which claimed Trump campaign adviser Carter Page coordinated with Russia on behalf of the campaign, “relied entirely on” information from the discredited dossier.
Trump’s “bigger than Watergate” tweet comes a few days after he trollingly suggested impeaching Pelosi for imposing her own “quid pro quo” on the Senate. “Nancy Pelosi is looking for a Quid Pro Quo with the Senate. Why aren’t we Impeaching her?” Trump tweeted Friday.
Nancy Pelosi is looking for a Quid Pro Quo with the Senate. Why aren’t we Impeaching her?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 20, 2019
Trump’s “quid pro quo” comment is a reference to Pelosi delaying sending the articles of impeachment to the Republican-controlled Senate in an attempt to force Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to capitulate to the Democrats’ demands on how to conduct the impeachment trial in the name of “fairness.”
“So far we haven’t seen anything that looks fair to us,” Pelosi told reporters following the partisan impeachment vote. “That would’ve been our intention, but we’ll see what happens over there.”
Trump has had a lot to say about the Democrats delay tactic as well. “Pelosi gives us the most unfair trial in the history of the U.S. Congress, and now she is crying for fairness in the Senate, and breaking all rules while doing so,” he tweeted Monday morning. “She lost Congress once, she will do it again!”
Pelosi gives us the most unfair trial in the history of the U.S. Congress, and now she is crying for fairness in the Senate, and breaking all rules while doing so. She lost Congress once, she will do it again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 23, 2019
Many analysts have described Pelosi’s gambit as politically precarious, as it draws out an increasingly unpopular impeachment and diminishes Democrats’ insistence that Trump poses a serious “threat” to the country. As The Daily Wire noted, New York Times columnist David Brooks, a frequent critic of Trump, told “PBS NewsHour” that Pelosi was engaged in a “very risky” political ploy.
“As Mitch McConnell said, ‘Why is withholding something I don’t want to do, why is that leverage?’” Brooks said. “And so it was always going to be a reality that, once the House voted to impeach, they were going to lose control of the process.”
Brooks also argued, like many others, that Republicans’ most convincing case against impeachment centers on the very nature of the accusation against Trump, his alleged “quid pro quo” trading military aid for a political favor, which simply “doesn’t rise to the level of impeachment.”
Republicans can make the case that “if we set this standard, pretty much every president is going to come under impeachment for this,” Brooks suggested. “They could go back in history, Iran-Contra, and they could say, look, every president messes up in some very serious way — almost every president, many presidents. And if we set this standard, we will be just impeaching people for years and years.”