Trump's Defense

Trump has four days to produce an answer to the impeachment articles now pending in the Senate. The Chief Justice got sworn in, the senators took an oath of impartiality, and deadlines were set. The charges seem to be well supported by evidence, and they are serious enough to require removal from office. Trump withheld money meant for a foreign government, offering to release the funds if the country's leader would investigate the son of Joseph Biden, who wants to run against Trump.

Since nobody's likely to believe any denial Trump might make, I'm suggesting a defense along somewhat different lines: not the voice of learned defense counsel, but a first-person plea:

Did I pressure Ukraine to gain a political advantage? Yes. Was there anything wrong with that? No. It was a corrupt practice, but my willingness to engage in corrupt practice is one of the reasons I was elected. Not just me, but a succession of corrupt administrations has led this country for a generation. I would not be doing my job properly if I did not exploit every possible political advantage, as my predecessors have done, without regard to artificial rules of conduct. The people who elected me expect this of me, and I am obliged to deliver.

Corrupt practice is not punishable in our system when it's indispensable to the performance of official duties, as it is in the case of my office. It's not as if I made any secret of my predisposition to defy rules. With the grabbing pussy and the shooting on Fifth Avenue, you maybe could see where I was going. I defy authority as a sacred duty. I do it because I can. I do it for the good of the republic. You can't give me a job that requires me to trash rules and standards and then fire me for violating a rule or standard.

For instance, you hand me a government at war in half a dozen countries, and you instruct me to tell the people that we're winning, when a 20-year engagement is pretty much an acknowledgement of humiliating failure and defeat. No way to carry on that costly enterprise without some corrupt practice. Then you have the government lending money at zero interest to rich people, allowing them to bid up assets and double their money every year, while working people pay usury on their insignificant debts. Try justifying that without sharp practice.

The mass media are shocked, shocked at my aggressiveness toward my accusers. That's funny, because I have been encouraged by my sponsors in the mass media to seem capricious and dictatorial, and I have always obliged. The mass media love to hate me, but they still hang on my every word. They made me a national celebrity, and my sociopathic stage presence must be maintained to keep me in good graces with them. Everyone knows this, and the nation is strengthened by my resolve.

As for my accusers in Congress, each and every one of them will take full advantage of the occasion of my trial to curry favor with their patrons, benefactors and supporters. Much money will be donated to promote my removal and equal amounts will be spent to prevent it. If that's not corrupt practice, with a trial pending, I don't know what is.

Corruption caused the failure of the economy in 2007. People who got rich on the losses paid no price. Corrupt practice got the US into war after war. No price paid. Corrupt practice keeps millions of sick people from proper health care. And don't get me started on 9/11. The richest people among us have more power, each and every one, than any monarch in history has ever had. And you whine about what I did?

What I did was trivial political manipulation. It was expected of me and amounted to a duty of my office. You got a hell of a nerve criticizing me for doing the job you assigned me.