Sunday, November 3, 2019

What did Donald Trump do today?

He threatened to hold the government hostage if Congress tried to impeach him.

Last week, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said he was concerned that Trump was preparing to shut down the government in order to obstruct the impeachment inquiry. The current funding bills expire on November 21, after which most of the federal government will be forced to shut down if Trump refuses to sign an extension.

While this would be an astonishing act of hostage-taking, Schumer had no firm evidence that Trump was planning to do this, and it would have been easy for Trump to simply deny it. 

Trump was asked point-blank today, in the context of a discussion about the impeachment proceedings, whether he had any such plans. He said that a shutdown was indeed a possibility.

Q Can you commit to no government shutdown? I mean, can you — for people that are concerned, what would you say?

TRUMP: It depends on — it depends on what the negotiation — I wouldn’t commit to anything. It depends on what the negotiation is.

Trump paid a political price last year when he shut down the government for an unprecedented 35 days last winter, but even in that case, it was at least in theory over a policy matter.

Why does this matter?

  • The federal government has more important things to do than protect Donald Trump from investigation.
  • Innocent people don't take hostages.
  • In a democracy, no one is above the law.