I know I’ve been beating this point like a rented mule, but it bears repeating: Il Trumpe has done so many things that would have triggered impeachment hearings, even before we consider what the Mueller investigation might find. Jonathan Chait is commenting on Trump’s use of insecure communications–the same thing that the House GOP investigated multiple times and the New York Times blew completely out of proportion–but the point is rather general (boldface mine):
Politico reports that President Trump uses at least two mobile phones that lack the necessary security features to conceal his communications. The president “has rebuffed staff efforts to strengthen security around his phone use,” the article explains, and while President Obama swapped out his phone every month for security staffers to see whether it had been hacked, Trump has refused to do the same because it would be “too inconvenient.” In other words, the offense is identical to Clinton’s, except that the president is a far more inviting target for foreign hackers than the secretary of State, and Trump in particular is especially vulnerable to espionage and blackmail due to his concealed business interests and habitual adultery.
Notably, Politico’s solid report landed as a second-tier revelation, at best a distant second-place contender for most-damaging Trump news story of the day. Clinton’s sloppy info-sec story blossomed into a narrative that overwhelmed every other aspect of her campaign…
There is no chance that Trump’s parallel sloppiness could play remotely as large a role in shaping public perception. There would be no reason for it. Trump has done so many consequential things, both in terms of his policy agenda and in his degradation of governing norms, that a myopic focus on his unsecured phone would serve no public interest. It does not rank as one of the 100 worst things Trump has done so far.
That is to say, nobody wants to live in a world where Donald Trump is held to the same standard as Hillary Clinton. Nor can anybody imagine what such a world would look like. It already feels like we are numb from the sensory overload of endless sirens directing us to the latest unprecedented outrage. No human could generate the mental space to process Trump’s firehose stream of offenses calibrated at Clinton levels. The political system couldn’t function at such a standard. He would have been impeached his first week in office.
One problem is that we view Il Trumpe’s myriad scandals as independent problems, when they really are only one or two far-reaching scandals (boldface mine):
The sheer volume of Trump scandals can seem difficult to keep track of….
The preceding wall of text may appear to some as an abridged list of the Trump administration’s scandals, but this is an illusion created by the perception that these are all separate affairs. Viewed as such, the various Trump scandals can seem multifarious and overpowering, and difficult to fathom.
There are not many Trump scandals. There is one Trump scandal. Singular: the corruption of the American government by the president and his associates, who are using their official power for personal and financial gain rather than for the welfare of the American people, and their attempts to shield that corruption from political consequences, public scrutiny, or legal accountability…
In each of these cases, the president or one of his associates was seeking to profit, personally or financially, from their official duties and powers. When that conduct has potentially run afoul of the law, Trump has sought to bend federal law enforcement to his whim, the better to protect himself and his associates from legal accountability. The president’s ongoing chastising of his own Justice Department, and his war of words with current and former FBI officials, stem less from any coherent ideological principle than from Trump’s desperate need to protect himself. An authoritarian model of law enforcement, where the president personally decides who is prosecuted and who is not based on his own political agenda, is simply the best way for Trump to shield himself and his inner circle from legal consequences.
I think the philandering and the emoluments (including all of the conflicts of interest) are pretty separate, though they do occasionally overlap (Michael Cohen is Il Trumpe’s bagman, regardless of the shit being shoveled). Still, if we realize that the narrative is that Trump et alia are stripping the government and the nation down to the copper fittings–and will do anything to keep doing so–then it becomes much easier to keep track of the various ‘scandals.’