Presidents Zelensky and Trump at the United Nations.
Presidents Zelensky and Trump at the United Nations.
Merriam-Webster: Aberrant (n) 1: a group, individual, or structure that is not normal or typical: an aberrant group, individual, or structure; 2: a person whose behavior departs substantially from the standard. Synonyms: (Adjective)  aberrated, abnormal, anomalous, atypical, especial, exceeding, exceptional, extraordinaire, extraordinary, freak, odd, peculiar ....

By BRIAN A. HOWEY

NASHVILLE, Ind. - On July 27, 2016, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made his infamous "Russia, if you're listening ..." appeal for dirt on Hillary Clinton. It commenced a two-year jigsaw puzzle type investigation that became President Trump's nightmare.

It all seemed to end last July 24, when Special Counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress that he could not indict Trump for obstruction of justice because of a Department of Justice rule that a sitting president can't be charged. Mueller distinctly said, “The President was not exculpated for the acts that he allegedly committed.” 

July 25 should have been a new day, a new era for President Trump, the proverbial sigh of relief. The House could impeach, but there was no way the 55-seat Senate Republican majority would convict. 

So what does President Trump do? 

According to a rough transcript released by the White House, the president essentially attempted to extort dirt on potential rival Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, from the rookie President Zelensky of Ukraine, a former comedian. It is the same Ukraine that gave up its nuclear weapons under the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction Program, went through a revolution in 2014, then saw Russian President Putin annex the Crimea before launching a low-grade war on the eastern part of the country that has since claimed 13,000 lives. This summer, President Trump inexplicably held up close to $400 million in U.S. military aid from this new president, pulled Vice President Pence away from attending Zelensky's inauguration last May, and then subtly put the screws on him on July 25.

This prompted the urgent whistleblower complaint from the Office of National Intelligence (then headed by Dan Coats) in early August. Now we have a whole new scandal. This is not a news media concoction; it is entirely Trump's making. If the Mueller probe was a complex and opaque jigsaw puzzle, the Trump/Zelensky call is a four-piece Romper Room version.

The early yield of this disheartening turn of events is aberrant behavior from someone who should be and act like the most powerful human on earth. As this column was being drafted, President Trump said on Thursday, “China should start an investigation into the Bidens.”

President Trump has suggested that if he were to be removed from office via impeachment and conviction, the result would be a second American "civil war." 

The president of the United States suggested the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, conducting the impeachment inquiry, is guilty of "treason."

President Trump also believes the whistleblower from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is also guilty of "treason," suggesting to a group of U.S. diplomats at the United Nations last week that such a person should be put to death. "You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now."

President Trump does not understand the concept of a federal "whistleblower," long a silent hero of Capitol Hill Republicans looking for internal allies to root out waste, fraud and corruption. Trump tweeted during a rage-filled Tuesday, "I want to meet not only my accuser. Was this person SPYING on the U.S. President? Big Consequences!" 

On Tuesday, President Trump tweeted, "As I learn more and more each day, I am coming to the conclusion that what is taking place is not an impeachment, it is a COUP." He suggested the same thing at the NRA convention in Indianapolis last spring about the Mueller probe.

A coup d’etat is generally defined as a sudden, violent overthrow of a government or a seizure of power by a military. The reality is that our Founding Fathers placed in the U.S. Constitution provisions for impeachment as a non-violent method for removing a leader determined to have politically committed "high crimes and misdemeanors." 

In a press event with the president of Finland on Wednesday, Trump insisted that Rep. Schiff couldn't carry Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's "blankstrap," which we figure meant "jockstrap." 

Whew.

According to a report in the New York Times, our president threatened to close down the U.S./Mexican border last March on the following day. If you've got an auto supply or agro export company in your town, ask the president or CEO if abruptly shutting down the Mexican border would be a good thing.

In that same report, the president of the United States privately talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled moat, "stocked with snakes or alligators." 

Donald Trump, the president of the United States, suggested earlier this year that the U.S. military drop nuclear weapons into hurricanes. Trump asked, "Why don't we nuke them? Why can't we do that?" Axios reported from a source present: "You could hear a gnat fart in that meeting. People were astonished." 

Many Americans voted for Donald Trump in 2016 to, essentially, burn the house down. He is now torching constitutional institutions.

If I'm a Hoosier Republican, I've got to be thinking a "President Pence" – assuming he’s not implicated in the scandal -  heading the national ticket in 2020 might be a more stable course than the aberrations we are witnessing on a daily basis, and are likely to get worse as the walls close in.

The columnist is publisher of Howey Politics Indiana at www.howeypolitics.com. Find Howey on Facebook and Twitter @hwypol.