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Steigmann: Trump can't help himself

Sometimes criminals commit one serious crime but are punished for another less serious crime. So it was in my view and the view of many others with respect to O. J. Simpson. So it may be with President Donald Trump. This is no longer a partisan issue or at least not a Democrat vs. Republican issue.

He was elected with less than half the popular vote. Currently his overall approval rating runs from a high of 40 percent to a low of 36 percent depending on which poll you read. In any case, no other president has had so low an approval rating so early in his presidency.

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He has two crimes to answer for. He promised to replace the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) with something much better and less costly to be signed on the day he was elected. He also stated that Obamacare was failing. But the great majority of citizens prefer Obamacare to any of the Republican alternatives proposed to date. And as far as failure is concerned the wish is father to the act. If it is not failing yet President Trump will make it fail. President Trump has already defunded some important subsidies, and more reductions will follow with no legislative authority.

There are indeed problems with Obamacare. It was designed in large part based on Romneycare, which in turn followed a blueprint proposed by the conservative Heritage Foundation. The fatal flaw is the dependence on private insurance companies.

The Medicaid system is not failing. That does not involve private insurance companies as the payment system. Medicare is not failing and so long as the supporting FICA tax is adjusted every few decades will not fail. Republican President Ronald Reagan and then House Speaker Democrat Tip O'Neill took care of that the last time it was done.

I remember a poignant moment many years ago when the very conservative Tea Party group first was formed. One woman paraded with a sign saying "Keep Government Hands Off My Medicare." Obamacare does need some fixes in some states but President Trump and other Republican leaders want to throw out the baby with the bath water.

Bottom line: The proposed destruction of our working government health insurance systems is the major crime for which President Trump and to a lesser extent the Republican Party need to be punished. But the sin for which President Trump could ultimately be impeached and convicted or alternatively forced to resign relates to the interference by the Russians in the 2016 elections on behalf of Donald Trump.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is tasked with this investigation. President Donald Trump and his team are already looking at ways to interfere with this investigation, and that is a crime. They are criticizing a lawyer hired by Mueller because he once contributed to Hillary Clinton's campaign. Of course, Trump himself once contributed to one or more Democratic candidates, including Sen. Chuck Schumer, but this irony is unnoticed by the lawyers hired to defend Donald Trump.

Trump is already investigating whether or not he can legally pardon his family members or even himself if they or he are convicted of anything. He is also considering firing Mueller. We don't know yet if Trump is guilty of anything in relation to the election but he sure acts like he was guilty of something. His impeachable offense will be for interfering with the investigation. It is very likely he will commit that offense.

He just can't help himself.

Peggy Steigmann writes from Eldersburg.

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