The US President had been caught cold. He denied that he lied, but when there was no turning back, he apologized to the Americans: "I have sinned." From then on, he ignored the topic, kept his discipline and continued to work as if nothing had happened.
The president was Bill Clinton, whose extramarital affair with the intern Monica Lewinsky came to light in 1998. While neither Mea Culpa nor rhetorical discipline prevented him from impeachment, they certainly helped to ensure that the impeachment ultimately failed.
Now in a similar vein is Donald Trump, who is currently threatening such an unworthy trial. But this time it's about more than perjury and a Techtelmechtel: In the Ukraine scandal Trump should have abused his foreign policy power to harm his domestic rival Joe Biden.
In addition, Trump is said to have urged Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in a telephone call to support US Attorney General William Barr in his investigation of the Russian affair and investigations by special investigator Robert Mueller. This reports, among other things, the "New York Times".
Something else distinguishes Trump from Clinton: Trump does not think to apologize or ignore the matter.
Video: Impeachment - how does it work?
On the contrary, since the weekend Trump has chased more than a dozen angry tweets into the world. He rages and threatens, insults his critics as spies and traitors and even prophesies "civil war-like" conditions.
He wrote some tweets in capital letters, like outraged screams. The presidential panic is understandable: unlike the complex Russian affair, which took place in slow motion, the impeachment drama is easy to understand, circles out on a daily basis - and becomes a far greater threat to Trump's presidency.
"If I feel like I'm being ripped off, I'll beat you back," Trump wrote as early as 1987 in his book "The Art of the Deal." He learned this instinct from his mentor Roy Cohn, the notorious lawyer and communist hunter, who had no means of being dirty.
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Distracting, threatening, defaming, eliminating: Cohn's brutal methods continue to influence Trump's practices during political crises. He portrays the Ukraine scandal as "dizziness", coups and conspiracy by Democrats and "corrupt" media to overthrow him. In addition he lies, promotes baseless conspiracy theories - and does not hesitate to incite to violence.
- An impeachment will trigger "a civil war-like rupture of this nation," Trump tweeted - a quote from a Trump-friendly pastor on Fox News. "The Democrats want to destroy the Republican Party, our country is at stake!"
.... If the Democrats are successful in removing the president from office (which they will never be), it will cause a civil war like fracture in this nation from which our country never wants to heal. "Pastor Robert Jeffress, @ FoxNews- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
- Democrats Adam Schiff, chairman of the Intelligence Committee for Impeachment Review, threatened Trump with "arrest" for "fraud and treason."
Rep. Adam Schiff illegally made up a FAKE & terrible statement, pretended to be the most important part of my call to the Ukrainian President, and read aloud to Congress and the American people. It bore NO relationship to what I said on the call. Arrest for Treason?- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2019
- The Whistleblower, whose complaint brought the scandal to light, and his White House informants resembled "spies," Trump said. They would have to be treated like "in the old days," so executed.
- The White House is about to "figure out who the whistleblower is, Trump threatened on Monday - even though this is legal anonymity. Allegedly, the informant is now even under police protection. "This person's life is threatened," warned former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta at CNN.
Several US broadcasters reported Trump's advisers had vainly offered him public restraint. In the White House, there is "total panic" because impeachment seems inevitable and there is no strategy to respond to it.
Trump's chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, apparently wants Clinton to set up a "war room" at the time - a hub that coordinates Trump's defense. In addition one wants to bring back also earlier advisors, about ex-campaigning boss Corey Lewandowski.
But Trump's tweets have destroyed every order so far. But at the same time they are more than just hot air: Trump's autocratic inclination, which has often been hinted at, breaks through more and more openly.
"These are the actions of dictators, not democrats," wrote Michael McFaul, former US Ambassador to Moscow. The threats of the president were "very dangerous".
For Trump, they could also backfire. The first US opinion polls tilt towards impeachment and the first Republicans distance themselves from Trump.
Trump's Civil War allusion is "repugnant," said MP Adam Kinzinger, an air force veteran serving in Iraq and Afghanistan: "He knows nations devastated by civil war," and was appalled to see a president like that would say something.