We knew it was coming, and now it is here. The Trump presidency had crisis written all over it from the beginning, and all the symptoms were apparent from the first day of his campaign. Americans who voted for Donald Trump hoping for some disruption didn’t know the half of what they were bargaining for. We’re about to experience that. Trump is a bad bargain.

We should all be grateful for the speed and apparent rigorous professionalism that special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has brought to his investigation of Russia’s subversive involvement in our election. It will make it a good deal harder and a good deal less credible when Trump turns on him personally, which seems almost inevitable. The charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his longtime business partner Rick Gates have now set in motion the first, if not the final, crisis in Donald Trump’s presidency.

The medical meaning of the word “crisis” is useful here, as an inflection point in a process of a disease. It is the threshold where things turn better, or worse. What it is not is government as usual. The Trump presidency has been an impeachment waiting to happen. Trump knows it, and is ready to start a scorched-earth protection of himself whenever needed. How do we know this? Have you been paying attention to who he is and how he behaves?

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My personal opinion is that the best of a bad set of choices is to remove Trump from office as quickly as possible. If a crisis is a turning point in a disease, yes, I consider the Trump presidency a disease of the American political system. Trump has shown over and over and over again that he has no regard for the democratic norms of honesty in governing or any respect for legitimate opposition centers of power. And now one of those independent centers of power is getting ominously close to Trump.

This process will lead either to the orderly removal of Donald Trump from office, or a newly empowered and vengeful Donald Trump.

Neither scenario will be pretty. The second scenario is nothing but terrifying.

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