President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Rickter Scale: Trump’s relentless war on truth

The Rickter Scale is a weekly column

Rick Stiebel/Columnist

Trump’s bottom-feeder barometer hit a new low when he called Republican colleagues who don’t worship his every word “human scum.”

Sadly, we should prepare for more of the same as Trump begins to show signs of buckling under the strain of an impeachment noose that appears to be cutting off circulation to his beleaguered brain.

He recently amped up his relentless attacks on the media by tweaking his old standby, “fake news,” to “corrupt news” in an effort to dismiss the evidence that’s piling up faster than the imaginary wall he’s building along the border. His downfall may for once turn out to be the truth, his Achilles heel. And I’m not talking about the one with the fake bone spurs he used to dodge his duty in Vietnam.

Adding to the confusion and tipping the scale’s in Trump’s favour is a political system too complicated to explain in less than 5,000 words.

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There’s three branches of supposedly co-equal government, an Electoral College no one paid attention to until the last election, and a dizzying amount of power wielded by one individual, often to the dismay of their own party.

Fortunately, the founding fathers had the wisdom to put an impeachment mechanism in place designed to slam the brakes on any leader who wades into the pool of high crimes and misdemeanours. What exactly that constitutes, however, wasn’t clearly defined by the dudes in triangular hats who cobbled the constitution together before signing on the dotted line on Sept. 17, 1787, in Philadelphia. It’s only been put to the test three times in the past 232 years with mixed results, depending on whether your last name is Jackson, Nixon, or Clinton.

In Trump’s case, the Coles Notes version suggests there’s strong evidence that he held up military aid to the Ukraine in return for an investigation into a political rival. A classic case of abuse of power, case closed, you might think.

However, according to some, everything about that “perfect” phone call was just fine, thank you. Nothing to see here folks, there’s no quid pro quo in the call at the core of the investigation, there’s been no cover up, so just move along. I wonder if Volodymyr Zelensky, the former comedian turned Ukrainian president, was laughing about what was said on the other end of the line.

If I was to wager on the outcome at this point, I’d bet that what happened to Nixon, when the evidence became irrefutable and his own party turned on him in the name of justice, won’t be repeated this time around. The members of the Senate swathed in Republican cloth will stand by their man, unless public opinion becomes so strong that they fear losing their seats. Whatever the outcome, it will send shock waves around our planet, maybe more so for we Canadians, America’s polite, humble next-door neighbours to the north.

In the meantime, Trump will continue to plumb new depths in search of fresh layers of slime to smear whoever stands in his way, friend or foe.

Rick Stiebel is a semi-retired local journalist.

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