(the "2" in the url suggests that this is the second post I've entitled "Normalization of Deviance" which I find amusing and alarming in equal measures).
It's clear, as I have written elsewhere, that Trump senses he has screwed up harder and gotten himself in bigger trouble with this Ukraine thing than at any previous point in his presidency. It very well may work out the same as before – that is to say, with no consequences – but the sheer number of excuses they've floated trial balloons for is noteworthy. "Rick Perry told me to do it" and "I'm being set up by the CIA" are not excuses one trots out when things seem like they're going well. Someone's worried, and it stands to reason that indicates that even worse things will be revealed before long (as always).
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The strategy, big picture, is the same strategy Trump has fallen back on repeatedly over the past few years, and we saw it when he answered reporters' questions by openly asking foreign governments to "investigate" Biden. He's already admitted he did it, and mountains of evidence will tumble forth confirming that he did it, so his only play is to talk about it openly to make it seem like the most normal thing in the world. "Everyone does it" and "This is just a normal part of my job" are narratives intended to normalize what he did to the point that he can bank on everyone shrugging at it like speeding or being illegally parked – it's against the law but nobody thinks it's a big deal.
That's the goal. Whether it will work is not yet clear. It has worked before, so it could work again. But there is a real reluctance on the part of a lot of Republicans to get drawn into this one so far. That might change. Right now, though, some of them appear smart enough to realize that every time Trump gets himself into these situations, the information that comes out starts with a trickle of bad news and turns into a river. If they are thinking, hell this sounds pretty bad and it's probably even worse than this, the next couple weeks could be crucial.
There's no confidence that Trump will ever face any consequences – now or ever – as he has spent his whole life avoiding them. It's not your imagination, though. This situation is different, at least in how worried it has the people who are once again going to have to defend and make excuses for this guy.
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If they get the sense that he won't survive this, the stampede for the exits will be on.