If you’ve read my blog for a while, you’ve probably noticed that I treat US Republican politicians as if they were a hive mind. That’s obviously false, but when they act as a unit to continue family separation policies or put partisan hacks on the Supreme Court then their differences are small enough to safely ignore.
Today, we got another example of that. The Intelligence Committee within the US House of Representatives held a hearing on Russian interference. Rather than contribute towards that, however, every Republican on the committee used their time to demand the head of the committee step down. Why? According to a letter they released,
Despite these findings [of the Special Council report], you continue to proclaim in the media that there is “significant evidence of collusion.” You further have stated you “will continue to investigate the counterintelligence issues. That is, is the president or people around him compromised in any way to a hostile foreign power?” Your willingness to continue to promote a demonstrably false narrative is alarming.
My colleagues might think it’s OK that the Russians offered dirt on the Democratic candidate for president as part of what’s described as the Russian government’s effort to help the Trump campaign. You might think that’s OK.
My colleagues might think it’s OK that when that was offered to the son of the president, who had a pivotal role in the campaign, that the president’s son did not call the FBI; he did not adamantly refuse that foreign help – no, instead that son said that he would ‘love’ the help with the Russians.
You might think it’s OK that he took that meeting. You might think it’s OK that Paul Manafort, the campaign chair, someone with great experience running campaigns, also took that meeting. You might think it’s OK that the president’s son-in-law also took that meeting. You might think it’s OK that they concealed it from the public. You might think it’s OK that their only disappointment after that meeting was that the dirt they received on Hillary Clinton wasn’t better. You might think that’s OK.
You might think it’s OK that when it was discovered, a year later, that they then lied about that meeting and said that it was about adoptions. You might think that it’s OK that it was reported that the president helped dictate that lie. You might think that’s OK. I don’t.
You might think it’s OK that the campaign chairman of a presidential campaign would offer information about that campaign to a Russian oligarch in exchange for money or debt forgiveness. You might think that’s OK, I don’t.
You might think it’s OK that that campaign chairman offered polling data to someone linked to Russian intelligence. I don’t think that’s OK.
You might think it’s OK that the president himself called on Russia to hack his opponent’s emails, if they were listening. You might think it’s OK that later that day, in fact, the Russians attempted to hack a server affiliated with that campaign. I don’t think that’s OK.
You might think it’s OK that the president’s son-in-law sought to establish a secret back channel of communication with the Russians through a Russian diplomatic facility. I don’t think that’s OK.
You might think it’s OK that an associate of the president made direct contact with the GRU through Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks, that is considered a hostile intelligence agency. You might think it’s OK that a senior campaign official was instructed to reach that associate and find out what that hostile intelligence agency had to say in terms of dirt on his opponent.
You might think it’s OK that the national security adviser designate secretly conferred with the Russian ambassador about undermining U.S. sanctions, and you might think it’s OK that he lied about it to the FBI.
You might say that’s all OK, that’s just what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s OK. I don’t think it’s OK. I think it’s immoral, I think it’s unethical, I think it’s unpatriotic and, yes, I think it’s corrupt – and evidence of collusion.
Now I have always said that the question of whether this amounts to proof of conspiracy was another matter. Whether the special counsel could prove beyond a reasonable doubt the proof of that crime would be up to the special counsel, and I would accept his decision, and I do. He’s a good and honorable man, and he is a good prosecutor.
But I do not think that conduct, criminal or not, is OK. And the day we do think that’s OK is the day we will look back and say that is the day that America lost its way.
And I will tell you one more thing that is apropos of the hearing today: I don’t think it’s OK that during a presidential campaign Mr. Trump sought the Kremlin’s help to consummate a real estate deal in Moscow that would make him a fortune – according to the special counsel, hundreds of millions of dollars. I don’t think it’s OK to conceal it from the public. I don’t think it’s OK that he advocated a new and more favorable policy towards the Russians even as he was seeking the Russians’ help, the Kremlin’s help to make money. I don’t think it’s OK that his attorney lied to our committee. There is a different word for that than collusion, and it’s called ‘compromise.’
And that is the subject of our hearing today.
Every Republican on the committee walked out of the hearing. Even Will Hurd, who’s been a vocal critic of Trump’s policies, did the same. Republicans appear united in defending corruption and retaining power by any means possible, even if that means harming the Americans they claim to represent. [HJH 2019-03-28: They’re not even interested in reading the report, they’ve already made up their minds about Trump’s guilt.] It’s time for everyone in the US to vote them out of office, no matter their political affiliation.
(Since I haven’t done it in a while, I’m going to plug the Political Madness endless thread. SC and Lynna have done an excellent job of summarizing the worst of the day’s news, and deserve a tonne of credit for keeping the thread active and relevant.)