After two years of the unlikeliest front-line political candidate in history repeatedly defying conventional wisdom, expert opinion and betting markets, it is tempting to tire of asking the question. Nevertheless it may be more pertinent than ever. The Trump Impeachment Saga is escalating.
In the wake of the latest revelations in the Trump Russia scandal, any hope of it subsiding has gone. The acknowledgement that Donald Trump Jnr, Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort did attend a meeting with Russian operatives offering damaging information on Hillary Clinton feels like a gamechanger.
No longer can this story be dismissed by the president and his allies as ‘fake news’, a ‘witch-hunt’ or Democrat excuse for election defeat. At the very least, it is firm evidence of a willingness to collude with a hostile foreign power and exposure of repetitive lies from Team Trump. Taken alongside stacks of circumstantial evidence which in itself demands a long, thorough investigation, it is anything but the ‘Nothing Burger’ earlier claimed.
The news is likely to worsen for the President as the trail of connections and events are explored further. As we saw with Clinton’s Benghazi and e-mail scandals, investigations take years as journalists and opponents pore over every small detail. Those investigations – which ultimately yielded no charges – nevertheless destroyed Clinton’s reputation, yet here’s how the former editor of Politico compares it to the relatively little we know of Trump Jnr’s communications.
We've read tens of thousands of Hillary's emails; FBI spent a year investigating too. Not a single speck as troubling as Don Jr's one email.
— Garrett M. Graff (@vermontgmg) July 11, 2017
The son, however, is a minor player compared to the son-in-law. Kushner is arguably the President’s closest adviser and his actions are being scrutinised to what could be ruinous effect.
Kushner has already been forced to amend the list of foreign contacts on his security application – adding over 100 names. Inevitably, Democrats are calling for his security clearance to be at least reviewed, if not revoked. They are not alone – here’s George W Bush’s ethics lawyer’s take.
Jared Kushner's security clearance should be revoked. If not, we should just throw in the towel and give one to Vladimir Putin himself
— Richard W. Painter (@RWPUSA) July 16, 2017
Furthermore the investigation into precisely how Russia interfered with the election will place Kushner central stage. The principal claim is that, using a sophisticated network of bots to make stories go viral, hacked information and fake news such as Pizzagate were spread to damage Clinton. Having spent 2016 literally glued to the campaign on social media, I am certain that happened – regardless of who was responsible.