Will Trump be removed from office?

For the first time, reasonable people in the United States have begun to speculate that President Donald Trump could be convicted by the Senate and thus removed from office. The likelihood may still seem low, but Trump’s position is weakening, and opinion polls are steadily moving against him. It is widely assumed that the House of Representatives will vote to impeach him, sending the question of his presidency to the Senate, where a two-thirds vote is needed and Republicans hold a majority.

Trump has been behaving nearly hysterically in public, his language increasingly reckless and vulgar. And he’s made major foreign-policy errors that have enraged members of his own party. Trump’s agreement, in a late-night call with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to remove US troops in northeastern Syria incited a calamity there (not for the first time, America betrayed its Kurdish allies). Turkish troops have now entered northeastern Syria and Syrian forces are advancing there as well. ISIS prisoners have escaped from some prisons once guarded by Kurds.

Russia, no surprise, is once more at the heart of Trump’s foreign policy and is benefiting both from Trump agreeing to Erdogan’s request and his allies’ pressure on Ukraine. Trump tends to believe any fantasy he is told, in particular conspiracy theories about the 2016 election – in this case that the real culprit wasn’t Russia, which has been proven to have helped Trump, but Ukraine. Trump wanted Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to investigate a myth put in Trump’s head by his personal attorney, Rudolph Giuliani: that Ukraine helped his 2016 rival, Hillary Clinton.

Giuliani’s role in the Ukraine scandal has been coming to light in the US, and an army of reporters is now trying to track down what else he’s been up to that affects US foreign policy and domestic politics, as well as who his other clients are – and who is paying him in his supposed role as Trump’s private attorney. Giuliani, once the much-admired mayor of New York City, has become a macabre figure of national mirth, seemingly out of control in his numerous television appearances. It’s known that he had business interests of his own in Ukraine – including in the highly corrupt natural gas industry, in which Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden, sat on the board of a company at a time that his father was vice president and charged with cleaning up Ukraine’s widespread corruption. (No misdeeds by either Biden have been found.)

And then two Russian-born clients of Giuliani’s, who had been living in the US and were also involved in Ukraine’s energy industry, were arrested at Dulles airport outside Washington, charged with having made illegal campaign contributions of $630,000, beginning in 2016, to Republican candidates and political action committees, including $325,000 to a pro-Trump PAC. Trump denied that he knew the two men, despite photos of the three of them at a White House dinner. “I have a picture with everybody,” Trump said. This money is believed to have been provided by a Russian oligarch.

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