Newsletter: Those Ukraine revelations? Yeah, Trump will survive

President Trump in the Oval Office
President Trump in the Oval Office on Friday.
(Associated Press)

Good morning. I’m Paul Thornton, and it is Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. Let’s take a look back at the week in Opinion.

Tell me we’ve been here before: At the end of another week, we’re reeling from some revelation that President Trump did something normal presidents just don’t do.

This time, we’re told reports that Trump pressed the Ukrainian president-elect to do something that would aid his reelection effort are no big deal, because it did not apparently involve a quid pro quo. The leader who observed as a candidate that he could shoot someone in public and still retain his support appears once again to be putting that maxim to the test. (Spoiler alert: He’ll pass.)


There’s still plenty we don’t know about what’s in the intelligence community whistleblower complaint that touched off the latest furor. But one thing we can be certain about, according to The Times’ senior editorial writer Michael McGough, is that “this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad president has eroded civic and constitutional norms.”

This isn’t the only legal storm for Trump. Usually, a president insisting that he’s above the law would be a national scandal, but here we are: Trump is suing to stop prosecutors in New York from obtaining his tax returns in their investigation of payments made to Stormy Daniels. Trump’s argument: He cannot be investigated by New York because he’s the president. L.A. Times

We have one last chance to stop the climate change apocalypse. Global warming is here, and how bad it gets depends on the choices Americans make in the 2020 election, says the editorial board in its first of three pieces this week on climate change. In the second editorial, the board laments that poor nations will suffer the most from climate change, and in the third it lays out the sacrifices humanity must make to stop burning fossil fuels.

Really, this is the worst thing Trump did this week: He stripped California of its authority under the federal Clean Air Act to set its own auto emissions standards. Notes editorial writer Scott Martelle: “The Times editorial board has called Trump’s maneuver on the waiver for what it is: ‘Sometimes it seems like the only consistent policy coming out of the White House these days is vindictiveness.’” L.A. Times

The president has declared war on California, and not just our air quality. Like other Republicans, Trump envisions California as a once-great state controlled long ago by conservatives that lost its way and ruined its economy with high taxes and strict environmental regulations. In reality, California’s recent economic success has coincided with a hike in homelessness, and the president has seized on the latter without showing any evidence he cares about homeless people. New York Times