Congressional Republicans continue to choose Donald Trump over their country. The latest controversy involves a congressional investigation into Russia’s meddling in the last election.
Politico reports that Republican leaders are rejecting calls for a select congressional panel to investigate Trump’s ties with the Russian Government. Instead, they want to limit any investigation to the narrow oversight work already being done by the House and Senate intelligence committees in order to shield Trump from impeachment.
Because congressional Republicans are taking this approach, there’s no guarantee that the final reports would be released to the public. This move also potentially shields Trump from a more intensive investigation into Russia’s involvement.
Republicans such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan have publically supported probes into Russia’s involvement in the last election. But these actions show that they are being insincere.
For McConnell’s, this seems to be a case of quid pro quo. McConnell’s wife was recently granted a cabinet post by Trump.
On Dec 12,2016, BBC wrote:
Senior Republicans in Congress have said they will support further investigation of findings that Russian hackers meddled in the US election.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said any foreign intervention in the polls was unacceptable.
President-elect Donald Trump has repeatedly poured scorn on the claims, made by US intelligence.
The CIA concluded on Friday that Russia’s motive was to help Mr Trump.
Mr McConnell and Mr Ryan said their respective intelligence committees would investigate the allegations.
“Any foreign breach of our cyber-security measures is disturbing and I strongly condemn any such efforts,” Senator McConnell told reporters, adding that “the Russians are not our friends”.
Mr Ryan echoed these remarks, but warned against exploiting the work of the intelligence community for “partisan purposes”.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) are rejecting growing calls for a wide-ranging special congressional panel to investigate the issue, instead pointing to the narrower oversight work already being performed by the House and Senate intelligence committees.
This approach offers no guarantee that final investigative reports will ever be released to the public — and potentially shields President-elect Donald Trump from a deeper congressional investigation looking into Russia’s motives.
This might be bigger than Watergate. Late Tuesday night, the New York Times reported that U.S. spy agencies had intercepted multiple phone conversations between associates of President Donald Trump and Russian intelligence agents. That means Trump allies may have colluded with a foreign power in an effort to undermine the American democratic process — and that Russia may now have access to the highest levels of American government.
That seems like the kind of thing that people might have some questions about! And yet the House and Senate Republican majorities have been reticent to back a major investigation into possible links between Trump and Moscow, even following the recent departure of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn under a crowd of suspicion.
But lest anyone think GOP lawmakers are dragging their heels, it’s important to note they’ve offered up some good reasons for their desultory approach. Here are some of the best ones.
1. There’s already an ongoing investigation, so a new one would be redundant.
That’s a favorite excuse of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who have now spent months deflecting calls for an independent commission by gesturing at existing committees and U.S. intelligence agencies.
As early as two months ago, Ryan was saying that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) “has my support” to look into allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 election. McConnell has similarly backed an investigation by the Senate Intelligence Committee. But both of these bodies are chaired by Republican Trump loyalists; Nunes himself was a member of the Trump transition team.
Yet Ryan and McConnell have held the line. This week, Ryan said he would not “prejudge” the circumstances around Flynn’s departure and noted that “the intelligence committee’s been looking into this all along.”
Echoing Ryan, McConnell said: “The Intelligence Committee is already looking at Russian involvement in our election. They can look into whatever they choose to.”
2. Executive privilege means we can’t get the information we’d need.
Speaking of Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence Committee leader said Tuesday that he would not examine conversations between Flynn and the president because of executive privilege.
3. Flynn resigned, so the whole thing took care of itself.
House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) told reporters Tuesday the fact of Flynn’s resignation meant there was no point in scrutinizing the events leading up to it.
“It’s taking care of itself,” he said.
4. We’re too busy trying to repeal Obamacare.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) thinks a full investigation would get in the way of all the other important work that Congress needs to do — such as cutting people’s health insurance.
“I just don’t think it’s useful to be doing investigation after investigation, particularly of your own party,” said Paul. “We’ll never even get started with doing the things we need to do like repealing Obamacare if we’re spending our whole time having Republicans investigate Republicans. I think it makes no sense.”
One might reasonably object that there’s no reason why Congress can’t investigate the White House and repeal Obamacare simultaneously. But Paul is right to worry; repeal now seems to be in serious jeopardy, as Republicans are unable to settle on a replacement plan.
Trump banning Free Speech
This is not a drill. Everyone knew Trump was a fascist, but his latest move proves it. The following sentence is almost unbelievable, but it’s true.
Donald Trump is calling for an outright ban on constitutionally free speech. He took to Twitter early this morning to call for a one-year jail sentence or “loss of citizenship” for those caught burning an American flag.
The Supreme Court has ruled that flag burning is constitutionally protecting free speech under the First Amendment. We knew Trump likes to silence those who disagree with him, but revoking citizenship is too far!
How on earth can anyone support this man? Republicans supposedly care about the Constitution, but it seems that if their Beloved Orange Leader wants to violate it — eh, who cares!
Elizabeth Warren is demanding an IMMEDIATE congressional inquiry into Donald Trump’s and Michael Flynn’s sketchy ties to Russia. This could be the investigation that will lead directly to Trump’s impeachment.
Warren has been leading the Democrats in the effort to topple Trump, but it looks like the Orange Tyrant’s administration is self-imploding. The Massachusetts Senator is absolutely enraged at the circumstances surrounding Flynn’s resignation.
“Flynn’s binding religious hatred and shady Russian ties disqualified him as NSA on day one,” Warren started. “His removal is a win for American values.”
“But American national security demands that we not allow Michael Flynn to become a scapegoat for this Admin’s disturbing ties to Russia,” Warren said. “This. Is. Not. Normal.”
This story is only just getting started, folks. Flynn made his treasonous phone call on someone’s orders – was it Trump’s?
“Who knew what,” Warren asked. “Who approved what?”
If it comes to light that Trump himself ordered this phone call, then you can kiss Donald Trump’s presidency goodbye. Talk about a fast track to impeachment!
Thank goodness Warren is on top of this. Her calling for this congressional inquiry into Team Trump’s Russian ties means the dominoes are starting to fall.
America’s spy agencies weren’t even passing all their intel to the White House because they knew the Kremlin had compromised Team Trump. Michael Flynn’s resignation is the first step toward kicking Putin out of D.C.
Comments from NYTIMES Evan Mcmullin:
Wisconsin 7 hours ago
The Republicans’ “grand bargain to back Mr. Trump’s Moscow-assisted victory” was the final proof that they have no principals, no patriotism, no loyalty to anything but the preservation of their own power at any cost. I would not count on these people to protect our democracy from assault by the ruthless authoritarian leadership of Russia, or of our own.
L.A. 7 hours ago
The editorial is all about the subtutfuge of Russia. But what voters in sufficient quantity VOTED for this hot mess of a person? What do they still think of him? They were fine with him in the voting booth. They still are. Why? Because of two huge reasons that go way beyond Russia’s cyber attack: #1.) Alt-right media like Fox News spread disinformation and conspiracy theories for decades; #2.) the Republican Party’s obstructionist policies that have weakened this country as profoundly as actual treason. Who knew that so many American voters would vote for anyone other than a woman?
Putin found an easy target.
We must clean up this geopolitical cyber mess that Putin is administering to other countries too, but we need to look at our own house — how one political party could so lose any concept of national honor.
new jersey 7 hours ago
This time next year you’ll still be writing articles about the spineless GOP as Trump breaks every piece of China in the White House. Putin will be sleeping in the Linchon bedroom and NATO will be limping along underfunded. Calling on the GOP is like whistling for a deaf dog.
is a trusted commenter North Carolina 5 hours ago
While I commend you on your courage in writing this very revealing piece, I would further encourage you to take the hardest step and name names. Make the constituents of these spineless, self-serving “congressmen” confront the bitter truth. Then, if they still vote for them they richly deserve their fate. The tragedy is the rest of us do not. And that is, increasingly, a very serious threat to the ongoing viability of this nation. We are, quite literally, splitting apart. I no longer know where this will lead, or what to expect. And that is extremely frightening.
Trump went barking mad at his press conference. Everybody can see it, it’s a sanity check if you refuse to see it.
Shepard Smith, FOX News said on the air:
“It is crazy what we are watching every day, it is absolutely crazy,” Smith said. “He keeps repeating ridiculous throwaway lines that are not true at all and sort of avoiding this issue of Russia as if we are some kind of fools for asking the question.”
Smith then started to look into the camera and added, “Really? Your opposition was hacked, and the Russians were responsible for it, and your people were on the phone on the same day it was happening, and we are fools for asking those questions? No sir, we are not fools for asking those questions, and we demand to know the answer to this question. You owe this to the American people.”
Trump is getting crazier by the day — you can see his mental dissolution happening in front of us. Independent of whatever crimes have been committed, this man cannot be president of the United States.
Joe From Boston
Massachusetts 7 hours ago
Mr. mcMullin should supplement this article by telling the Republicans in Congress that he refers to that they have a week to come forward and demand a special prosecutor to look into the Flynn situation and the Russian connections in general, and if they fail to do so, he will start naming names.
In addition I suggest that he record his recollections in writing and/or in audio/video recording, because I would not put anything past those with connections to the Russians. In Russia, as the news media periodically report, people who have information that could be embarrassing or otherwise inconvenient for those in power have been known to be murdered.
This failure of the Republican leadership, Congressional representatives and party in general to deal responsibly with the “Russian Question” is the third of the de-stabilizing blows they have delivered to our system of government.
1. The openly proclaimed goal of having Obama’s presidency fail. This had
to include willingness to accept some collateral damage to our government,
in much the same way as refusal to extend the debt limit implied willingness
to accept some damage to our creditworthiness. As we now see, a failed
presidency is a fearful thing. The Republicans fought hard to force a failure. Think about that as we view the Trump chaos.
2. The refusal to have hearings on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee.
This implied willingness to accept damage to the Court’s (already weakened) reputation as standing above politics. But even greater damage would result
if the Democrats replied in kind and refused to accept the next Republican nominee, as some are threatening to do now. Does anyone think the seasoned
Republican Senate leadership didn’t ever consider that Democrats might retaliate? They were willing to accept the damage, to the Court, and to the 60 vote tradition.
DC 7 hours ago
I agree with much of this piece, but any faith in the GOP leadership is, I think, misplaced. Ryan, et al sold their souls to Trump for the chance to further cut taxes on the wealthy and to roll back the social safety net. National security takes a back seat to that agenda. They are more than happy to allow V.V. Putin to take the lead in world affairs as long as the “Ryan agenda” gets passed.
is a trusted commenter Massachusetts 5 hours ago
Mr. McMullen, your suggestions and ideas are inherently decent but your tone and methods not strong enough.
Since I agree with you that we are facing the biggest danger this country has ever faced since its inception, your call for a special prosecutor does not differ from anything already proposed by both Democrats and some Republicans.
I place the emphasis on “some.” Your leadership – and I know you ran as an independent – is as complicit in the destruction of this country as Donald Trump.
Mitch McConnell is one of the most dangerous men in America because his raw ambition and hold on power will always trump what is best for this country. He has proved it time and time again.
Paul Ryan is not much better: this so-called policy wonk also wants to have the power to push his ideas into legislation.
Do you think these GOP powerbrokers are going to lift a finger to investigate Donald Trump unless their backs are absolutely pushed up against the wall?
If Youvare sincere about this country’s urgent need to hold Donald Trump accountable for his Russian ties, you must do more then write an editorial in the New York Times.
Please Evan, get out there and hustle among the people you know and Congress.
Tell them the American people – and the people who post here to your article – are scared to death that democracy is dying. Tell them their place in history will be defined by how they either stood up to or didn’t standup to Donald Trump.
Los Angeles 7 hours ago
Obviously Republicans in Congress will ignore McMullin’s advice. They have thrown in with Trump and will ignore or even cover up his transgressions. So the real question is what McMullin and the other few remaining honest conservatives will do about it. If all they do is write op-ed pieces, things will not go well.
Luxembourg 7 hours ago
Thank you for your integrity and for confirmation of my suspicion that the Congressional Republicans were “in the loop” about Trump’s Russian link. Regardless of party affiliation or loyalty, this issue and it’s investigation are critical to our country, it’s present and future self-respect. If for nothing else I have always taken great pride in being an American because America always stood for mercy and integrity even when that integrity required self correction. Today under Mr Trump I see zero evidence of either virtue and find myself shamed to call myself American while abroad. A thorough and honest investigation would reverse my shame and re-instill the pride I felt standing on Omaha Beach awed by the fearsome courage of ordinary Americans in the face of tyranny and fascism backed by militarism. I ask our Congress to display some of that same courage as have you in voicing your opinion.
It is wise to remember and note the stance taken by Evan McMullin. He is not alone. John McCain and Lindsey Graham are stalwarts. It is time for everyone who loves this country to demand a non-partial, transparent investigation into this attack on our election process. History is not going to be kind when assessing this bizarre chapter.
Crete, Illinois 7 hours ago
Mr. McMullin, your fears come much too late. Even earlier this week, the House Ways and Committee voted against subpoenaing Donald Trump’s tax returns, along party lines, of course.
Republicans have always made a grand show of being the sentinels of the nation’s security. They dress themselves up in George Washington’s costume and assume the position of leadership at the helm of state as the bark crosses the Delaware, always in the forefront of what’s best for the nation. And America stupidly bought it.
Cutting right to the chase, Mr. McMullin, you said it bluntly: “they can’t say they didn’t see the Russian interference coming. They knew all along”. So why didn’t they put the flag before the party? Because, as you write, they ” remained silent for fear of antagonizing his supporters.” Is this not rank political expedience?
The problem, Mr. McMullin, is that Republicans *do not* want to own this disaster of a presidency. Where’s the outrage from Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan about the perhaps fatal compromise of America’s best interests? Republicans have spent the last eight years torpedoing the presidency of Barack Obama to the great detriment of our prestige abroad and our confidence at home as to the security and proper functioning of government. Republicans own that, do they not?
Where, Mr. McMullin, does America’s security come in this catastrophe? When the crater is smoking, what good is wealth and privilege if no one is left to enjoy it? Whither the patriotic GOP?
Chicago 7 hours ago
Can we have another presidential election now we know that Trump campaign colluded with Russian government? Never in my lifetime would I imagine this could happen to the most democratic country in the world. Maybe I was so wrong about that. If the Republican led congress does nothing about it, we know where they stand–unpatriotic, hypocritical, and most of all, betrayal of the American people.
Trump’s embrace of Putin and Russian foreign policy early in his campaign suggested the candidate was compromised personally, financially, or ideologically. It is not normal for an American politician to demonstrate a soft spot for a ruthless leader bent on the destruction of western democracies. It is one thing to say better relations with an adversary are desired and another to state, in effect, what Russia wants might not be so bad. Trump’s campaign did not require commonality with Russian goals, admiration of Putin, or even mention of them, and they were mentioned consistently.
Trump brought suspicions upon himself. It may have been bluster and justification of an authoritarian-toned message to invoke Putin, but not Putin’s anti-democratic and anti-Western policies. Evidence related to suspicions needs to be investigated by those who can transcend political differences.
NJ 7 hours ago
What a shameful presidency this is and proven so in only three weeks, along with the Know Nothing party.
Our security was traded for power. What is that called?
is a trusted commenter New York City 5 hours ago
The Repub legislators
Of Trump are terrified,
Even the few Trump haters,
That cannot be denied.
In offices, they cower, fret,
Pretend they haven’t heard,
Approve each of the Cabinet,
Most of whom are absurd.
O Repub legislators
Devoid of pride or shame,
Both Trump lovers and haters
Do you not share the blame?
Only if you completely ignore the IC can you claim there is no evidence for these reports. Furthermore, these were not normal talks of diplomatic relations from promises from an incoming administration to lift sanctions placed by the outgoing administration based on the word of the IC.
If there was absolutely no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, Trump should invite an investigation to put these accusations to rest, especially since his party has majorities in both house and senate, reducing the chance of a witch hunt a la Benghazi.
I have a very hard time believing that Trump supporters would be so quick to dismiss the entire IC were the accusations directed at a democratic president, which makes your patriotism as thin as Trump’s skin. Love of country should far outweigh loyalty to party. It’s sad that for so much of the country, it doesn’t. Apparently Trump’s “win at any cost” approach appealed to you on a deeper level than I thought.
The author has enlightened us all, and he is to be commended for coming forth, just as Gov. Romney is to be commended for trying to get GOP’ers to resist DJT in the primaries.
The larger problem with support for DJT is how to counter statements and sentiments like those expressed in October 2016 on NPR by Faux Noise Machina commentator/Dallas preacher Robert Jeffress, saying of DJT:
” I don’t want some meek and mild leader or somebody who’s going to turn the other cheek. I’ve said I want the meanest, toughest SOB I can find to protect this nation. And so that’s why Trump’s tone doesn’t bother me. ”
New York 8 hours ago
How relieved I am that Mr. McMullin highlighted the involvement of RT TV.
My son married into the Russian Jewish community in Brooklyn and he told me that there was urgency by his wife’s grandmother to vote for Trump.He had to drive her to the polls even though he supported HRC.He asked the 80 year why the urgency? Her answer, “Russian TV told me to”.
I called Schumer’s office and I was going to call Rep Schiff. Thank you Evan.You would have been a POTUS to be proud of.