Wow. Is there any chance on God’s green earth or in the hot brimstone of Hell that a single Republican anywhere in the country, elected or sitting at home mainlining Fox “news,” would feel the same about the Trump-Russia nexus were it Obama-Russia instead? Had Obama, lying that he wasn’t under investigation, fired the FBI director who was investigating him, right after he’d asked for more resources for the probe? When a Grand Jury had issued its first subpoenas? Would they feel the same had the House Intelligence Committee, if led by Democrats, effectively refused to investigate? If neither the House nor Senate committees had hired adequate staff to conduct the inquiry with which they were tasked? Can anyone seriously believe the answer is yes?
What if the firing of the FBI director had been “at the recommendation” of an Attorney General who’d promised recusal from the same investigation because he had his own connections to Russian operatives and lied about them at his confirmation hearing? What if the justification given for the firing were actions from months earlier, which Obama praised at the time? Would Mitch McConnell make excuses? Or would darker motives be floated like an armada heading to Pyongyang?
What if Barack Obama declared, “I have nothing to do with Russia. No deals, no loans, no nothing,” and what if one of his children managing his businesses said, “Russia makes up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of our assets” and the other said, “We don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need from Russia”? Would Republicans find it inconsequential?
What if Obama had appointed a National Security Adviser with undisclosed ties to Russia, fired by the previous administration, about whose unsuitability the prior president had warned him? What if, after the selection occurred anyway, the Acting Attorney General had gone to the White House to warn that that person was subject to blackmail but it took nearly three weeks to fire him; and only after the info had been leaked? Would Republicans pretend leakers were the only important issue?
What if President Obama, before dismissing the FBI director mid-investigation, had fired the acting Attorney General who, among other things, was looking into communications between his people and Russia? Would there be no screams of cover-up, no broaching of the i-word? What if Obama both bragged about and denied a relationship with Putin?
Would anyone argue that if President Obama surrounded himself with people who’d had major financial dealings and secret contacts with a geopolitical enemy there’d be no alarms raised? That if intelligence sources from an ally suggested the same rival had compromising information on him, Republicans would be untroubled?
What would be the response, were it known that Russia had directly interfered in the election for the purpose of helping Obama win? Would our friends on the right pass it off as insignificant? Fake? Would they not perceive a serious future threat to our democracy, no matter which candidate had been the beneficiary? What if, right after firing the FBI director, Obama, leering like a toothpaste model, welcomed to the Oval Office the very Russians suspected of spearheading the election-tampering?
Donald Trump, over whom serious unanswered questions hang regarding his relations with Russia and those of his campaign and hired hands, has now fired three people who were investigating, and one with direct involvement. He’s personally attacked the credibility of a central witness before her testimony to the Senate. His Republican majority in both Houses of Congress have stonewalled, refused to investigate, or, at hearings looking into it, changed the subject. None of this bothers average Republicans?
We, all Americans, need a brave, independent investigator. (Sally Yates springs to mind.) With this Congress, though, we know it’ll never happen. Maybe in 2018, if voters wake up.
So it falls upon journalists to do the work abdicated by Congress and quashed by the president. Which explains why Trump endlessly attacks them as fake, as “the worst people on earth.” Trumpists swallow it, crook, lie, and twitter, even as his actions increasingly mirror those of the dictators he so admires. Their acquiescence to the implications for America’s democracy, and their unprecedented level of hypocrisy are as ominous as they are indefensible.[Image source]