The big international news over the past week or so has been the stand-off between the US intelligence services and President Donald Trump. It seems that an attempt is being made to link the failure of the Democrats to hold on to power with the activities of Trump’s assistants and their contact with Russians? Will Trump be impeached?
Edward Lozansky, President and Founder of the American University in Moscow and Daniel Pipes, American historian, writer, and commentator share their views as to what will happen next.
Daniel Pipes starts the program by saying that there have been as a series of rather extreme allegations that have led to the resignation of the national security adviser, but we on the outside "have really very little idea what this is all about.” Dr Lozansky says that "my pessimism has switched perhaps not all the way to optimism, but maybe cautious optimism… the question of impeachment is now simply over.” Dr Lozanasky says two thirds of the congress needs to support impeachment for that to happen, and judging by Trump’s popularity amongst Republicans at least, that is not going to happen.
However, Daniel Pipes strongly disagrees that impeachment is off the table. "If Trump continues to focus on irrelevances such as the size of his crowd at the inauguration… the Republicans in Congress will be growingly frustrated by this opportunity lost and will look to Mike Pence as the saviour, as the one who can pull them out of this morass, and so were Trump to engage in something that was illegal, such as the Russian connection or something else, I think they might be quick to jump on that and say let’s push him out and get someone in we can work with.”
Dr Lozansky says that a small military success of the USA and Russia fighting together against ISIS would do a lot to garner public support for Russia within America. Daniel Pipes says that "ISIS is a small challenge compared to Iran. …a temporary victory over ISIS would pale in the face of larger differences [between Russia and the USA] over Iran. Dr Lozansky asks that if Daesh is such a small thing, the why are the allies unable to defeat it?
A discussion ensues over whether there has been a plot against President Trump carried out by the Obama team whilst still in office, and democrats since then. The massive amount of SIGNET realised under an executive order 17 days before Obama left office would be an example of the kind of tactics being used. Dr Lozansky says that using Russia as a scapegoat for the democrats own problems and mistakes is the real problem. Daniel Pipes says that the Democrats under Obama have become ever more partisan, the fact that Obama stayed in Washington after standing down, only shows that the situation is political. "There are indications that the old administration is looking to undermine the new one. …I think this is a ratcheting up of partisan politics in Washington, there is very little comedy across the aisle, and it makes it hard for the politicians to get things done.”
Dr Lozansky says that he thinks that impeachment will now not happen for at least two years. "CNN has even indicated that Trump may win a second term.” Perhaps one issue that people have overlooked is that fact that if Trump is impeached, we still have Mike Pence. Daniel Pipes says that Mike Pence is: "a normal conservative politician, …he is someone other conservatives will feel more at ease with, …by choosing a mainstream Republican of good standing, I think Trump has made it much more possible for himself to be impeached.”
A discussion follows concerning the power of the Supreme Court over Congress, an issue which "Concerns the most delicate themes of American politics” Daniel Pipes says. He insists that it is Congress that could impeach Trump, not the Supreme Court.
The final moments of the program are taken up by discussing the implication of what is happening in America on the rest of the world. As this programme shows, the picture is not straight forward as perhaps many in Russia, for example, think it is; certainly the whole world is debating this subject.