(CNN) – Donald Trump is tightening his evil grip on American politics as Joe Biden struggles to stabilize his own troubled presidency, celebrating the kind of political victory his predecessor never achieved.
It often feels as if the 45th president will never leave the stage, given the corrosive and complicated impact of his poisoned legacy in Washington. The traumatic aftermath of his tenure will take a new twist on Monday when his political guru Steve Bannon is expected to turn himself in after a federal investigative jury indicted him last week for ignoring a subpoena from the House investigation into the attempt. of Trump’s coup. In the last flashback Jarring of that terrible day, on January 6, Trump defended the rioters who chanted “Hang Mike Pence” (“Hang Mike Pence”) after his vice president refused to throw the election, in the audio of an interview conducted for a new book by Jonathan Karl published by ABC News.
Trump, while relentlessly solidifying plans for a likely presidential race in 2024, is meanwhile stepping up his efforts to increase his hold over the Republican Party, vowing to overthrow the lawmakers who backed the $ 1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure package. Biden.
The current president will hold a high-voltage signing ceremony for the measure at the White House on Monday, which will include at least two Republican senators who will come forward in defiance of Trump. However, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a relentless target of the former president, who also voted in favor of the bill, will not participate in Biden’s victory lap. The event will be a reminder that Trump’s own inept attempts to pass such infrastructure reform became the subject of ridicule.
If ever a president had needed a victory, it is Biden, who endured a difficult summer. As he signs the measure that he hopes will give his presidency a boost, the president will put Mitch Landrieu, the former Democratic mayor of New Orleans, in charge of implementing the vast new law. But a rare bipartisan spending program needed to fix America’s roads, railroads, bridges and airports is unlikely to be a magic bullet for a presidency in crisis.
Biden, whose approval rating fell to 41% in a new Washington Post / ABC News poll on Sunday, faces allegations that he is not focused enough on the issues that matter most to Americans. A CNN / SSRS poll, released last week, found that 58% of Americans believed that Biden had not been paying attention to the nation’s biggest issues. More than a third of those surveyed thought the economy was the most pressing problem.
An alarming spike in inflation and high gasoline prices are creating the kind of perfect economic storm that everyone in the country feels and that shapes political discontent.
While the elements of the infrastructure plan and the supplemental social spending plan that have not yet been approved are popular, they could create jobs and ease the burden on American workers – they will take many months and years to develop. The high cost of living, caused mainly by the pandemic and related supply chain problems, is giving Republicans a massive opening now that the midterm elections are looming in a year.
With the costs of Thanksgiving turkeys and travel on the rise due to supply chain backups and high energy prices, legislative victories will do little in the short term to ease Biden’s plight. The White House may also have another political fire to put out this week following a CNN story that revealed mutual frustration between the West Wing and Vice President Kamala Harris over their performance thus far in the administration.
Trump derails democracy as Biden tries to save it
In many ways, Trump and Biden continue the battle that the former president lost in the 2020 election. Trump and his allies’ obstruction of the January 6 commission represents a broadening of the assault on democracy, which was born when he could not accept the truth of his defeat a year ago.
Trump and his volcanic ego are now trying to turn the 2022 midterm election, and potentially the 2024 election, into a referendum on his lies that the last presidential election was stolen, a narrative that millions of Republican voters already accept. . It also helps explain why he and his allies try so hard to cover up the truth of an attempt to derail democracy.
While Trump’s challenge to the rule of law is ingrained in his political bill, Biden’s infrastructure bill is also deeply ingrained in the DNA of his presidency. He intends for the bipartisan bill to show that Americans can achieve great things when they are united and not torn apart by demagogues like Trump.
His use of government to create jobs and improve the lives of American workers serves another purpose, too. The infrastructure bill and spending bill, still facing an uncertain fate amid cross-party clashes on Capitol Hill, are meant to show that democracy works and to drain the populist pool of resentment that so often inflames. Trump.
The news that the architect of that populist movement had been indicted by a federal investigative jury on Friday was a significant advance in the confrontation between Trump and the Select Committee of the House of Representatives investigating the insurrection that he incited on January 6. .
Bannon, a former White House official and podcaster Arousing the mob, he allegedly played a major role behind the scenes in a “war room” dedicated to Trump’s attempt to steal the election by disrupting the peaceful transfer of power to Biden. His claim that his conversations with Trump are protected by executive privilege appears to have little legal merit, as he was not even serving as a civil servant at the time of the insurrection. And the commission wants to discuss its conversations with other Trump supporters that do not involve the former president.
If convicted, the 67-year-old Bannon could face a maximum of one year in jail and a fine of up to $ 1,000 for each of the two charges against him. The Justice Department’s decision to pursue the case followed a formal contempt of Congress summons passed by the House of Representatives. The indictment made an important statement for now and in the future about Congress’s ability to enforce subpoenas in vital investigations. But Bannon is likely to wear it as a badge of honor and fuel claims that once again a deep state political establishment is trying to go after Trump, a narrative that is central to the former president’s appeal among many grassroots supporters.
The impeachment against Bannon may be a sign that the House Select Committee, in a race against time should the Republican Party take back the House next year and shut it down, is ready to take a hard line against witnesses. who refuse to testify. This includes former White House Secretary General Mark Meadows, who did not show up on Friday.
“When the witnesses finally decide, as Meadows has, that they are not even going to bother to come forward, that they have such disregard for the law, then that forces us to act and we will act quickly,” said Rep. Adam Schiff of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. California, a member of the commission, on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
The “harsh and harsh truth”
One of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over the insurrection, Representative Anthony Gonzalez of Ohio, issued an extraordinary warning Sunday about Trump’s control over his party and influence.
“The harsh truth is that Donald Trump led us into a ditch on January 6. The former president lied to us. He lied to each of us and in doing so cost him [a los republicanos] the camera [de Represenantantes], the Senate and the White House, “Gonzalez told Jake Tapper on CNN’s” State of the Union. “
“I see, fundamentally, a person who should not be able to take office again because of what he did around January 6. But I also see someone who is a huge political loser. And I don’t know why someone who wants to win the future elections would follow that. I just don’t understand it ethically. I certainly don’t understand it politically. Neither makes any sense. “
Trump has already targeted members like Gonzalez for their impeachment votes, backing a main rival of the Ohio congressman, who has since said he will not run for reelection. But now the former president is targeting the 13 Republicans in the House of Representatives and 19 in the Senate who voted for the infrastructure bill, furious that they allowed a victory for the incumbent president on an issue Trump obviously failed to advance. .
“Saving America begins by saving the Republican Party from the RINOs! [republicanos de nombre], Soldiers and Known Losers! “Trump wrote in one of many enraged and lie-filled weekend statements. He called on pro-Trump forces to run primary campaigns against lawmakers who supported the US bill. infrastructure, while the former president tries to transform his party into his own undemocratic image.
Trump’s power in the party and the impact of his maneuvers against Republicans who cross him were epitomized once again Sunday by the failure of a powerful Republican senator to repudiate his insurrectionary rhetoric. Wyoming Senator John Barrasso was asked repeatedly on ABC News’s “This Week” about Trump’s inability to come to terms with his then-vice president, who refused to give in to his pressure to steal the election from Biden. while following the constitutional requirements to certify the result of the election in January.
“President Trump brings a lot of energy to the party. He is an enduring force,” Barrasso said. “I do not agree with President Trump on everything,” he added. “I agree with him on the policies that have given me the best economy of my life and I will continue to support those policies.”
As extreme as Trump becomes, the essential Republican position – appeasing him to win power – remains the same.