Impeachment now a threat like no other Trump has facedPosted: Updated:
By JULIE PACE and ZEKE MILLER
WASHINGTON (AP) - From the moment Donald Trump became a national political figure, he has been shadowed by investigations and controversy.
They have been layered, lengthy and often inconclusive, leaving many Americans scandal-weary and numb to his behavior. And with each charge against him, Trump has perfected the art of deflection, seemingly gaining strength by bullying and belittling those who have dared to take him on.
Now Trump is facing a high-velocity threat like none he's confronted before.
It has rapidly evolved from a process fight over a whistleblower complaint to an impeachment inquiry within two weeks. Much of the evidence is already in public view. A rough transcript of a phone call in which Trump asks Ukraine's president to help investigate Democratic rival Joe Biden. The whistleblower's detailed letter alleging the White House tried to cover up the call, and possibly others.
Unlike special counsel Robert Mueller's two-year investigation, which circled an array of people in Trump's orbit but not always the president himself, Trump doesn't have the benefit of distance. His words and his actions are at the center of this investigation.
"The Mueller report , it was always Manafort this and his son that. There was a cascade of players," said presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, referring to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Jr. "This was just Donald Trump and a disturbing conversation with another world leader."