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Republicans, You Now Own the Cover-up

February 17, 2017

watergate

Let’s say it plainly: The Republican Party has decided to be complicit in covering up what may well be the greatest political scandal in American history.

As the New York Times stated today, the only way RussiaGate is going to get a genuine investigation is with an independent Special Prosecutor, which the congressional Republicans continue to block. The Republicans are simply too focused on implementing their legislative agenda now that there is nothing to stop them to allow a little thing like having a president compromised by ties to Russia get in the way.

Mitch McConnell, the most cynical and self-serving senate majority leader in recent memory, continues oppose even the appointment of a select congressional committee, and most Republican leaders are acting as if Flynn’s resignation has taken care of the problem. Paul Ryan makes occasional clucking sounds, but has been silent about the larger scandal and called Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador “entirely appropriate.”

As economist Paul Krugman points out, the Republican chairs of the relevant congressional committees are simply ignoring what is in front of their noses. Devin Nunes, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, dismissed calls for a select committee saying, “There is absolutely not going to be one.” Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House oversight committee — who hounded Hillary Clinton endlessly over Benghazi — declared that the “situation has taken care of itself.” (However, Chaffetz isn’t too busy to investigate a pre-school cartoon character on PBS!)  Rand Paul explained: “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.”

Most tellingly, this week the House Ways and Means Committee, which has the power to demand individual tax returns, rejected a Democratic push to get the IRS to release Trump’s returns, on a straight party-line vote.

The handful of senate Republicans with any remaining vestiges of moral integrity continue to prevaricate. Curmudgeonly John McCain makes occasional harrumphing noises, but has backed off from calling for a select committee. Tinkerbell-like Lindsay Graham flits around making vaguely disapproving statements once in a while, but has not called for an independent investigation either. As they showed during the election campaign, when the chips are down, they will go with Trump.

Meanwhile, the Democrats simply don’t have the votes in Congress to force anything and will have to make what they can out of the Republican-controlled inquiries in the various committees, which are likely to focus on Flynn rather than aggressively go after the bigger scandal.

Trump’s appalling ability to dissemble, dodge, distract, and misdirect were on full display at yesterday’s mind-boggling press conference. His responses were completely incoherent even regarding Flynn, while he claimed incredibly to have absolutely no dealings with Russia.  There has to be a pony somewhere in this pile of horseshit.

At this point, the only hope really is that the press will uncover further evidence regarding RussiaGate and that the American public will forcefully demand a full and independent investigation.

Otherwise, it’s the end of the world as we know it, and the Republicans feel just fine.

 

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