Let's get the obvious out of the way: Fuck Eric Schneiderman. I know we're supposed to do the whole "innocent until proven guilty thing" but just like with Roy Moore, Schneiderman's victims told their friends about what had happened so there is contemporaneous collaboration of their stories. There's also photo evidence and there is zero chance that an alleged violent drunk like Schneiderman only lashes out in private so we're going to start hearing about it soon enough from people who didn't have the nerve to speak up before.
Plus, he resigned within hours. Innocent men do not do this. So, fuck Eric Schneiderman.
On the other hand, the timing is suspicious. Trump is rapidly approaching the point where he can no longer safely fire Robert Mueller and openly shut down the probe into his various criminal schemes. Republicans will, of course, back his unconstitutional trampling of the rule of law because they don't dare cross Trump's base. But doing so will enrage the rest of the country beyond anything we've ever imagined, turning the blue wave already coming into something we'll probably have to invent new political vocabulary for.
If Trump does it early enough, the furor will die down within a few weeks to months as other stories demand our attention, particularly if Trump kicks off a crisis overseas (we, as a nation, suffer from collective A.D.D.). If he waits until the middle of the summer or later, people will carry their rage right into the election. Clearly, time is not on his side and getting rid of obstacles like Schneiderman is a priority.
That brings us to the shocking revelation that disappeared almost instantly but would have led to the immediate impeachment of any other president without an (R) after their name:
Aides to Donald Trump, the US president, hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to orchestrate a “dirty ops” campaign against key individuals from the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, the Observer can reveal.
People in the Trump camp contacted private investigators in May last year to “get dirt” on Ben Rhodes, who had been one of Barack Obama’s top national security advisers, and Colin Kahl, deputy assistant to Obama, as part of an elaborate attempt to discredit the deal.
In other words, a sitting president is using the resources of the federal government to invade the personal lives of American citizens he considers political enemies. When Rudy Giuliani was on T.V. last week whining about the Gestapo, he was engaging in a classic case of projection. This is some serious Stormtrooper shit and the only reason Trump hired an Israeli firm to do it is because he hasn't been able to remake the FBI in his corrupt image. Yet.
There is currently no evidence that Trump had anything to do with the truth about Scheiderman coming out. In the current era of #MeToo, it was inevitable that a powerful man abusing both women and his authority to silence them (even "jokingly" as he'll no doubt claim) wasn't going to get away with it forever. But the fact that we even have to ask about the possibility of Trump crossing names off his enemies list is terrifying. Or, it would be if we weren't so numb that we don't seem to have noticed the President of the United States has taken a huge step towards being an unaccountable dictator.
A word of caution, however, for gleeful Trump followers who have been celebrating online: The removal of Schneiderman isn't going to make Trump's legal woes vanish. It won't taint Mueller's work (no matter how loudly you say it does). It won't justify firing Rosenstein (no matter how many times to insist it does). It will give Fox News a few days of headlines and some new talking points but our justice system is designed to be bigger than any one person.
At least as long as we still have a functioning justice system.
Schneiderman is almost certainly a scumbag (read the article, it's....bad) but his story shouldn't overshadow the dangerous turn our country just took. Sooner or later, Trump won't have to rely on Israeli agencies to destroy his enemies, he'll have the full power of the United States Intelligence Community at his command with no legal, and certainly no moral, restraints.
The only way to stop him is with a Congress willing to be a check on his out of control administration. And that's only going to happen if Democrats control both chambers of Congress after November. Vote like the future of this country depends on it because it absolutely does.