Speaking to the website of the Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, Dr Alireza Kouhkan pointed to the growing political pressure on Trump following the rising number of witnesses testifying against him during his impeachment case and said: The US president’s impeachment case is not formal yet. The only thing that has occurred is that the case is not confidential anymore. For this reason, we are witnessing some people informed about the case being summoned in the Ukrainian case.
He said the Democrats are doing this for two different purposes: On the one hand, they want to take the impeachment case seriously, but their long-term goal is to try to influence the outcome of the upcoming presidential election because, given the circumstances, the impeachment attempt will get nowhere.
Democrats Make the Most of Trump’s Negative Feature
“One of the clever ways they do is to make the most of a negative characteristic of Trump,” Kouhkan said. The feature is that during his term, Trump has ousted or relocated senior officials in the White House and his administration, and especially after their ouster he quarrelled with most of them and treated them roughly.
He added: Democrats also invite anyone who might be involved in Ukraine’s case to testify. Because they have personal issues with Trump, they make statements liked by the Democrats and against Trump that could verify the claims made by Democrats.
The professor of international relations continued: We must bear in mind that we are facing the dual effects of this case in American society. The fact is that the latest opinion polls and surveys inside America show that Trump is slowly losing his popularity despite the positive trend he has been going through for the past two years. In the past couple of years, Trump’s popularity grew steadily because he retained the votes he had received from fans and had managed to add new supporters for improving the economic situation.
Impeachment: An Opportunity for Trump!
But, given the positive results of his actions in the domain of economy is short-lived, their negative effects were gradually exposed, including conflicts in the international arena and cutting imports from China, which led to higher international costs and rising prices of commodities and the weaker class had to pay more for the goods they need. These issues are showing little by little in the society leading to a decline in Trump’s popularity.
“The Impeachment probe has created an opportunity for Trump to pretend innocence,” Kouhkan said, adding: “If you look carefully in all his speeches and tweets he has had about the impeachment, he has consistently followed this process that it is a politically motivated probe. He says because he is pursuing his electoral promises in the interest of the American people, they want to oust him politically. That is why he describes the process as a political coup and an exception in US history.
“Trump has used these words a lot in his interviews and tweets,” Kouhkan said. As a result, Trump’s popularity over the impeachment probe has risen rather than declining. The probe has had another negative side-effect for the Democrats because the Ukraine case is about Biden’s corruption and there is a public perception in US society that senior politicians are corrupt people; this is widely accepted in American society. The very mentioning of Biden’s name and its repetition in connection with Ukraine’s case has also had some disadvantages to the Democrat’s main candidate than advantages.
Democrats Want Fatigued Impeachment Probe
“What the Democrats are doing is trying to make this case as long as possible,” he said. They hope that the prolongation will have the effect they want to have in the election, and that it is first of all a free-of-charge publicity for Democrats, since this is covered by the mainstream media and the media get a lot of money before launching election campaigns but now they have to cover the news, and this is a kind of publicity for the Democrats in which everyone will talk about Trump’s corruption.
Kouhkan added: “Of course, the impeachment probe can get serious if something special happens and conditions change and a new witness is found or a new case such as a tax case and something like that comes up. Anyway, what we can see in US domestic politics is a kind of warm-up before entering the main competitions. The impeachment process is also to be seen on the sidelines of campaigns for the 2020 presidential election.
He also explained about the negative effects of the impeachment for Democrats: This is how social phenomena work, and what takes place is not necessarily what you expect. Democrats are now trying and working on a case called impeachment. Both parties are doing their best to take advantage of the case to their advantage and win the 2020 election.
“The reality is that if Trump fails to run in the 2020 election, the next president is most probably a Democrat,” he said. That’s why the Democrats are doing their best to eliminate Trump before the election. That is, he would either lose the presidency, or would be in a position not to run at all, or the Democrats would compete with a weak Trump in the election. Yet Trump is trying to take advantage of this forced situation in his favour.
Republicans and Trump
He also commented on some analyses suggesting that the Republicans might nominate a candidate other than Trump before the election or oust him and put one of his deputies in his place. “Under the US Constitution, this is not possible,” he said. Unless either the president is ousted or he resigns himself; then he would naturally be replaced by one of his deputies. That the Republicans don’t like Trump is a fact. However, at the time Trump was running, he was neither a party man nor his campaign was party-based; only after he won the election was he willing to pursue party politics.
“Even in the first year and a half of his presidency, when his plans in the Congress failed due to the Republicans’ opposition, he did something strange. Instead of negotiating with his party he began lobbying with the Democrats to get him a vote in the Senate. But much of the politics in the United States and the interests it divides are partisans. Republicans may not like Trump, but since Trump represents the Republican Party in the White House and as the US president, he has split about three thousand senior political positions among Republicans, because he has no one except for a daughter and son-in-law who have been assigned senior advisers and most of the positions have been given to senior members of the Republican Party.
“This is where they gain political advantage and then gain economic and other benefits, so they are less likely to turn to someone else,” he said. Given that many believe that if Trump does not want to represent the Republicans he will disrupt the game because he is not a person to sit quietly and quit easily.
It is therefore unlikely for the Republicans to risk nominating another candidate unless conditions change and it would make no difference for the public opinion if Trump wants to run or not to run and he would have no chance to win. So, given that Republican elders don’t like Trump, it is virtually likely for them to do so, but in the current situation, it seems unlikely.
He also commented on Trump’s criticism that he only responded to questions of impeachment via Twitter, as well as Nancy Pelosi’s invitation to Trump to testify during his impeachment probe: At least in the current circumstances, Trump’s political advisers would not advise him to do that. Trump, of course, believes he is a successful negotiator and can influence public opinion. It should be noted that by public opinion he means the American public, a society whose public sector has no political information, have no interest in it and are easily influenced.
The simple example of this is seen in Trump’s reactions that his tweets are widely publicized, said the university professor. He uses a very simple language, which is perhaps good for movies. For example, he says Abu Bakr Baghdadi is dead as if he was narrating a cowboy-criminal film. For this reason, Trump is very confident, but his political advisers would not advise him or his team now. Trump should now do his best so that even his close aids would not testify because their presence and the models of the questions asked will both give the impeachment process more legitimacy and attract more attention from the public opinion. Moreover, things may be said and heard that lawyers will not be able to answer and this may cause trouble.
“Although Trump was not a well-known figure in international politics, he was famous in American domestic society. Moreover, black points in his record are not few,” Kouhkan said. All those around him who were supposed to defend him have been sentenced in the last three years for violations, many of which have been linked to Trump. For that reason, at least in the current situation, it is unlikely for Trump and his entourage to think about testifying, and even Pelosi’s suggestion is to make a point that is unlikely to occur in publicity.