Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Cancel Anytime
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
Just $1.99per week for the first 24weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](,dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Early in his administration when Donald Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, calling him “dumb as a rock,” Mr. Tillerson reacted calmly, but made a telling point.

“So often, the President would say ‘here’s what I want to do and here’s how I want to do it’ and I would have to say to him, ‘Mr. President I understand what you want to do but you can’t do it that way. It violates the law.’”

“It violates the law.” Mr. Tillerson recognized right away that this was a President without a moral compass. Mr. Trump’s backstory had amply demonstrated that. His actions in office would do the same.

Story continues below advertisement

But with his rhinoceros hide and some fantastically fortuitous twists of fate, Mr. Trump has endured. His call to the Ukraine President, tantamount to blackmail, came right after he had skirted serious culpability in the Mueller inquiry into Russian collusion. It surely increased his sense of invincibility, as had his surviving the Access Hollywood tape and so much else.

Whistle-blower alleges Trump’s envoys met with Ukrainian officials over President’s demands for Biden probe

Key takeaways from Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

Trump asked Ukraine’s President to investigate Joe Biden’s activities, rough transcript shows

When he said Wednesday that it was “a joke” that he could be impeached for the call to the Ukrainian leader, he probably meant it. He had lowered the bar so much that he thought his alleged pressing of a foreign government to investigate Joe Biden was no big deal.

Remarkably, he thought the transcript of the telephone call would clear him and released it. He couldn’t see a smoking gun there. Former president Richard Nixon, we recall, didn’t release the smoking gun Watergate tape until the Supreme Court ordered him to do so.

You reap what you sow. It seemed inevitable that at some point the President who goes rogue all the time would go rogue once too often. At some point the Soprano President would run out of luck. It’s happening now.

For only the fourth time in America’s nearly 250-year history, the House of Representatives has started an inquiry into whether the President should be impeached. Senator Elizabeth Warren, writing on Twitter, captured the seriousness of the charges. “Donald Trump solicited foreign interference in our elections from the Oval Office. He attempted to cover up his actions. And his appointees intervened, against the law, to attempt to suppress this whistle-blower complaint.”

Mr. Trump will maintain the support of his base in railing from the rooftops against the charges. Republicans will maintain it’s just another witch hunt and the Mueller result will assist them in making that contention. “Nothing has changed,” said White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, "with the release of this complaint, which is nothing more than a collection of third-hand accounts of events and cobbled-together press clippings – all of which shows nothing improper.”

But their defence thus far is devoid of foundation. It is simply a denial that what has transpired is serious enough to merit condemnation and consequence. But unlike with respect to the Mueller inquiry, there is hard evidence here. There is the whistle-blower’s transcript. There is the transcript of the phone call with the Ukrainian leader. There are the words of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, who provided CNN’s Chris Cuomo with a definition of bribery that is sure to haunt Mr. Trump. "The crime of bribery is if I offer something of value to someone in return for their official action.”

Story continues below advertisement

Although the White House’s redacted transcript of the phone call did not show an explicit quid pro quo in respect to Mr. Trump tying nearly US$400-million in military aid for Ukraine with getting its leader Volodymyr Zelensky to go after Mr. Biden, Mr. Trump did say, “I would like you to do us a favour.”

The scandal comes with an election only a year away. It’s a controversy that will drag on for months. It will make the government even more dysfunctional than it has been. It will jeopardize the chances of the new North American free-trade deal, USMCA, being ratified.

It will push other important issues such as gun control and the climate crisis even further down the priority scale. It will serve to exacerbate, if it can be imagined, the already extreme degree of political polarization that exists.

It brings more rage and hell to the United States. But there’s a cancer on this presidency that has to be exorcised. The whistle-blower’s revelations offer the best hope to date of that happening.

Keep your Opinions sharp and informed. Get the Opinion newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow the author of this article:

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies