Sunday, May 14, 2017
What a week, amirite?
You have the following revelations:
- Trump asked Comey for loyalty to himself rather than the law and doesn't see anything wrong with that.
- Trump flat out admits to obstructing justice in his firing of James Comey.
- Trump hints that he is recording conversations in the Oval Office, a practice he engaged in while in business.
So, to recap, we have basically the Watergate timeline that took Woodward and Bernstein and Archibald Cox almost two years to unravel basically occurring in a couple of news cycles. In the words of Ron Burgundy, "Well, that escalated quickly."
Of course, as soon as the Saturday Night Massacre comparisons started to be made, the question becomes, What next? Recall the Watergate timeline:
June 17, 1972 - The Plumbers are arrested bugging the DNC headquarter in the Watergate building.
October 10 - The Post reports that the bugging was tied to the reelection of Nixon.
November 11 - Nixon wins a landslide
January 30, 1973 - Liddy and McCord are convicted.
April 30 - Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Dean resign or are fired.
May 18 - Senate Watergate hearings begin.
July 13 - Butterfield lets slip that the White House tapes everything
July 23 - Nixon refuses to turn over the tapes.
October 20 - Saturday Night Massacre, Nixon fires AG, Asst AG and Cox
December 7 - The 18 minute gap is revealed.
July 24, 1974 - Supreme Court rules all tapes must be turned over.
August 8 - Nixon resigns.
That's two years. Trump managed to compress that into two days. He says he fired Comey over the "Russia thing" and that he might be tape recording stuff. There are also reports he might be ready to fire a bunch more people. Whatever, it's not Sean Spicer's fault that Trump routinely undercuts him in real time.
Like with Watergate, the problem is that the true problem resides in the Oval Office. You can fire as many staffers as you want, but as long as Trump is president we are in for a rolling crisis in governance that seriously undermines the country.
This is bad.
Whenever Watergate comes up, the examples of Howard Baker and Barry Goldwater are dredged up to show how Republicans acted with honor and put their country first. The problem, of course, is the timeline. The Republicans at first defended Nixon. Again and again they defended him. And of course Democrats controlled the Congress in the mid-'70s. Republicans can't react to Democrats exposing the dark secrets of the Nixon White House, they have to react to their own President revealing his crimes.
The question becomes when will Republicans break with the President. And the answer is, "Most likely never." Republicans are so afraid of the mouth breathing morons who elevated this would-be dictator and charlatan that they dare not cross their voters. Sharp partisanship means that, while I imagine every single Republican Congressman would prefer to work with President Pence, they will be left to cower in the corners in fear of exciting their own voters against them. That leaves us with Profiles in Cowardice like this.
This story is moving incredibly fast. It is impossible to keep up with the revelations in real time. Perhaps as this story sinks in, some of that Republican support for Trump softens and the institutional GOP ousts him in favor of Pence.
I can't see that from here.
But as we go into 2018, we need to express loud and clear and often that this is not a Trump Problem, this is a Republican Problem. They've sold out their constitutional duty to keep a grip on power.
Shame on them.