The unfolding Russiagate scandal is serious. Its implications go far beyond the partisan posturing that we became accustomed to during the Obama administration made-up scandals and the sooner we accept that and stop pretending that Russiagate equals Benghazigate or emailgate, the better off we’ll all be. The problem is getting the new Republican ascendancy to stop playing partisan politics and get serious about serious issues.
We’ve got an incompetent clown in the White House, pretending to be the supreme leader. What’s worse, he seems to have made his way to his position thanks to the intervention of a hostile foreign government in our last election. When it comes to questions of whether or not he or proxies in his campaign colluded with that government, the Clown-in-Chief seems to have no other goal than to create the appearance of guilt, whether it involves firing – and then bragging about firing – the FBI director leading the investigation in order, el payaso explicitly claimed, to ease Russia-related pressure, or efforts to deliver what smells like payback to the Russian government.
The accumulation of one after another damning disclosure has forced the House and Senate, despite their reluctant GOP majorities, to mount investigations – of varying degrees of probity, admittedly. Additionally, a special prosecutor has been appointed, and there is an ongoing FBI investigation – or investigations. The threat to national security and the integrity of our election process is so great that were the entrenched GOP majority in Congress not so determined to make full use of the idiot bill-signing machine in the White House, articles of impeachment would already be in the process of being drawn up.
There is no better example of the Republican desire to gloss over the dereliction and incompetence that emanates from the White House than the behavior of our own Senator Roy Blunt. Blunt sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee and is in a unique position to represent our national security interests. However, faced with the fact that a President who failed to get a majority of the popular votes may have engineered his electoral college victory via the machinations of a Russian dictator desirous of sowing chaos in U.S. political life, Blunt just rolls over and salutes el Presidente.
Blunt showed his colors last week when, as Chris Cillizza observed, he joined other GOPers in trying to mitigate the effect of former FBI Director Comey’s damning testimony:
Blunt was, somewhat surprisingly, one of Comey’s most aggressive questioners last week. In retrospect, I shouldn’t have been surprised. Blunt just got reelected in 2016 and has always been a guy who toes the party line. He was in House leadership before coming to the Senate, after all.
The only thing that was surprising is that Cillizza is surprised at the alacrity with which Blunt takes the low road.
This week, when the iron-shoe was on the foot of a member of the Trump administration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Blunt was all gracious bonhomie and went out of his way to make nice with what The Guardian characterized as an “extremely friendly line of questioning” – in spite of the fact that Sessions’ answer to Blunt’s question about the disputed meeting with the Soviet ambassador at Washington’s Mayflower Hotel contradicted earlier testimony:
In his opening statement, Sessions broadly declared: “I did not have any private meetings nor do I recall any conversations with any Russian officials at the Mayflower Hotel. I did not attend any meetings at that event.”
But later, when questioned by Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), Sessions said that “it’s conceivable that [a conversation with Kislyak] occurred” but that it included “nothing improper.”
Then, in response to questions from Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), Sessions said: “I didn’t have any formal meeting with him. I’m confident of that. But I may have had an encounter during the reception.”
Blunt did not pursue the matter – although Sessions has a record of misleading congressional investigators about his pre- and post-campaign contacts with representatives of the Russian Government. You’d think, given the centrality of the question of Sessions’ credibility on the issue of his meetings with Russian officials, Blunt might have pressed the issue? Just a little?
But that, of course, might upset the Supreme leader.