The decision of Republican Congressional leaders to place blind loyalty to president Donald Trump above the Constitution, the law and morality has Washington and the nation roiling Friday — the day Trump says he will release a politically driven memo that threatens national security and the nation.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell apparently have no use for what is right or legal as they fall lockstep in line to follow Trump into the abyss.
Writes former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough, now host of “Morning Joe” on MSNBC:
Despite daily reminders that President Trump holds democratic traditions in deep contempt, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and his Republican caucus are allowing themselves to become co-conspirators in the president’s push to compromise U.S. constitutional norms.
Is it too much to ask that Ryan place grave national security concerns from the Justice Department ahead of his political peonage to Trump?
Has Ryan noticed that the president is executing an erratic but effective plot to undermine the independence of America’s law enforcement agencies?
Do Capitol Hill Republicans even care that Trump has taken on the nasty habit of demanding loyalty oaths from FBI agents and Justice Department officials who happen to be investigating his White House?
Is Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) even slightly concerned that former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, like former director James B. Comey before him, was driven from his job after being administered — and apparently failing — a loyalty test?
Most presidents have had the sense not to bully the FBI by defaming its leaders and — ridiculously — painting its agents as leftist political hacks. Most members of Congress have also understood how unwise it would be to pull such stunts. But Trump and his hapless henchmen on Capitol Hill, led by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), have chosen the wrong enemy. History strongly suggests they will be sorry.
The far-right echo chamber resounds with wailing and braying about something called the “deep state” — a purported fifth column of entrenched federal bureaucrats whose only goal in life, apparently, is to deny America the greatness that Dear Leader Trump has come to bestow. It is unclear who is supposed to be directing this vast conspiracy. Could it be Dr. Evil? Supreme Leader Snoke? Hillary Clinton? This whole paranoid fantasy, as any sane person realizes, is utter rubbish.
Roger Cohen of The New York Times weighs in:
President Trump’s most significant, and ominous, achievement in his first year in office is the corruption of the Republic. I don’t mean that he has succeeded in destroying the checks and balances on which American freedom rests. I mean that he has so soiled the discourse that a kind of numbness has set in, an exhaustion of outrage that allows him to proceed with the unthinkable.
Trump has lowered expectations. He has inured people to the thread of violence and meanness lurking in almost every utterance; or worse, he has started to make them relish it. He has habituated Americans to buffoonery and lies.
The appalling becomes excusable, the heinous becomes debatable, the outrageous becomes comical, lies become fibs, spite becomes banal, and hymns to American might become cause for giddy chants of national greatness.
Tim Weiner, author of Enemies: A History of The FBI and One Man Against the World: The Tragedy of Richard Nixon, notes:
President Trump entered office last year as a singular figure. But he has come to resemble two of his predecessors in one crucial respect. Though he’s more paranoid than Richard Nixon and more mendacious than Bill Clinton, he seems bent on following them down a road to hell: a confrontation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Like them, he’ll lose.
He might win the battle with the bureau over the pending release of a scurrilous memo concocted by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, a cudgel created to attack everyone who’s been in charge of the federal investigation of Team Trump. He may try to fire them all. But he won’t win the war.
America is on the ropes. The destructor lives at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and his co-conspirators walks the halls of Congress.
Let us call them what they are: Enemies of the state. The same, sadly, must be sad of those who applaud their excesses.
They are the enablers who seek to destroy the United States of America.
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