Doris Kearns Goodwin's 2005 book about how Abe Lincoln chose a Cabinet of intellect, integrity, and independence is titled "Team of Rivals."
A good title should she ever depict the Cabinet of Donald Trump would be "Gang of Weasels."
Before getting to Individual 1 and the latest activities that have delivered him to impeachment's door, some questions about that coterie of con men:
First, has William Barr contacted you?
He went to Australia seeking political dirt. He went to London. He went to Italy.
Where in the world is Bill Barr now? Is he at your house? Please advise. I have a "no soliciting" placard and dogs. Will either deter him?
Mike Pompeo: Our secretary of state feigned ignorance about the phone-call transcript that had Washington convulsing. Then after a press report, he admitted that -- come to think of it -- he was on the call.
Mike Pence: For a while, he kept silent on the extorting of Ukraine with tax dollars. True to his short-legged mammal nature, he hugged the ground and sought shelter in the wind storm.
Finally exiting his burrow, Pence said the issue is not an illegal shakedown of a foreign government. The issue is the character of Joe Biden. Or so says the GOP talking-points memo.
And wouldn't you know? The departing Rick Perry, the least consequential energy secretary since the invention of kerosene, now flees the flames just as Trump intimates that the call to the Ukrainian president was Perry's idea.
Anyone looking out for the nation's best interests, guys? Not a chance.
Does our secretary of state have time to attend to, um, matters of state when serving as a tag-team intimidator of Ukraine's new president?
(For a moment the image of Trump and Pompeo in red Spandex WWF tights visits me; I shake it off.)
Let us now return to the focus of all of this, and it's not Joe Biden.
Donald Trump is in deep. He has committed what one observer called the "mother of all campaign finance violations," leaning on the Ukraine for a political favor with $400 million in taxpayer dollars dangled on a string.
Oh, yes, that's a quid pro quo. Texts provided by former Ukrainian envoy Kurt Volker confirm that Trump wanted a probe of Biden as a condition of a meeting with the Ukrainian president.
Consciousness of Guilt
For police, the term "consciousness of guilt" kicks in when a suspect keeps changing his alibi or attempts to take a demonstrable narrative to the off-ramp and into the ditch.
As this scandal blew up in his face, Trump said the freezing of aid to Ukraine wasn't about attempted extortion but about being tight-fisted on aid to Europe. Sure it was.
What other nations had their funds frozen? None? Curious.
Readers should know, however, the real reason Trump was so furious last week.
It's not just because he's about to be impeached. It's because Team Trump planned to unveil this Biden red herring months down the road. A "vicious" whistleblower ruined it.
Yes, the October Surprise – "Ukraine fingers Biden" – that Trump wished to spring on voters at just the right time must be sprung one October too early, thanks to "spies" he has hinted at executing.
This means Team Trump had to speed up the slime and pump out the cash: a hastily concocted, $2 million, totally fallacious anti-Biden ad campaign. CNN rejected one ad based on its utter bogus-ness. Watch for it, however, on Fox News. It's already circulating online.
Did Putin give Trump an advance on his advertising allowance?
New polls show a firm plurality of Americans supports Trump's impeachment.
What? Don't they care about corruption in the Ukraine?