|THE CONSERVATIVE TREEHOUSE|
There is an existential crisis gripping America. It is the increasingly unhinged presidency of Donald Trump and the argy-bargy notion of the newly empowered Democratic congressional leadership of waiting for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's final report on the Russia scandal before beginning the long and vastly difficult process of impeaching Trump. Republicans goose-stepping to Trump's side and sieg heiling him with reassurances that his presidency will lumber on although they know full well that he is a kook and a crook are taking that crisis even deeper into unexplored territory.
Oversight and Accountability might as well be quaint villages on the Kansas prairie for Republicans, not their sworn duty.
Lapel-pin patriot John Cornyn slipped on his traitor's coat with great flourish on Saturday after Trump delivered a rambling, morally vacuous, hypocrisy and lie-filled two-hour diatribe at the Wingnut Woodstock --the annual Conservative Political Action Conference -- in which he said investigations into his criminality were "bullshit" and mocked onetime associates like Michael Cohen, for 12 years his consigliere, who have become cooperating witnesses.
"We're not going to turn on our own and make the Democrats happy. We don't see any benefit in fracturing, but we do see a lot to lose," said Cornyn, a senator from Texas, as he stood before a backdrop of propaganda-styled art declaring that Trump had been "chosen by God."
This followed a week in which a contrite Cohen testified to just a few of his former boss's many lies (and some of his own), Trump held a foreshortened summit with Kim Jung Un in Vietnam for which he obviously was unprepared, a disaster compounded by his shameful about-face and betrayal of Otto Warmbier, and scruples-free son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner slipped away to Saudi Arabia where he is suspected of discussing U.S. help for a Saudi nuclear program that could be used to make nuclear weapons even as Trump was ostensibly trying to persuade Kim to scrap North Korea's nuclear program.
Kushner, of course, is the guy who got a top-secret security clearance at Trump's insistence although his intelligence chiefs believe that Kushner is dangerously compromised because he is beholden to Saudi Arabia and other foreign governments with whom he has sought financial relief for his family's struggling real-estate empire.
But what really brought me to my senses was the lemming-like capitulation of Republicans and their increasingly bizarre rationalizations for backing their kook-crook.
Sayeth Rick Santorum: "The president doesn't tell the truth about a lot of things fairly consistently. And so the fact that he's not telling the truth about Russia fairly consistently . . . why is that any different? I mean, it's not like he's doing something out of character with the Russia investigation that he’s not doing in any other areas."
In devising a strategy predicated to taking nibbles rather than a big bite in going after Trump, Democratic congressional leaders say they're holding off on initiating impeachment proceedings until Mueller sings because to do otherwise would roil the country and energize Republicans. In the meantime, they'll keep the heat on the president through investigations into his multiple crimes, which they say is the most effective way to damage him.
The Democratic strategy would seem to have merit even if the gratification that the onset of impeachment proceedings would bring for so many of us would remain on hold.
That is, until you consider that:
Mueller may not complete his investigation and submit a final report to Attorney General William Barr anytime soon.
Despite the evidence of Trump being in the Russia collusion loop, there is no assurance that the final Mueller report will reflect that.
Nor is there any assurance that Barr will make the report public, let alone share it with Congress.
Impeachment will roil the country and be a Republican call to arms no matter when proceedings are initiated.
Leaving the heavy lifting to Mueller is a betrayal of voters who expected Democrats to act swiftly on impeachment.
That betrayal is enormous because every day that Trump remains in office is another day that the country is being destroyed."Yes, we have unambiguous evidence that the president has committed a crime at this point, I think," says Representative Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the Judiciary Committee, which would get the impeachment ball rolling. "Do we have unambiguous evidence he has done impeachable offenses? We've got a ways to go yet."
In private, Nadler would surely acknowledge that this is horse hockey, as Colonel Potter liked to say on M*A*S*H when confronted by the obvious gussied up as something else. (And not that cross-dressing Corporal Klinger.)
Beyond being a party to collusion, Trump has repeatedly sought to obstruct justice, which should be the primary article of impeachment, as well as undermine the Justice Department, intimidate witnesses, and perjure himself many times over. Then there's that emoluments thing -- using the Oval Office as a profit center for the businesses he never bothered to divest himself from after Putin gifted him the presidency.
House Intelligence Committee member Mike Quigley is only slightly less disingenuous than Nadler.
"[Impeachment] should be the last thing on members' minds," he says. "You have to be patient and you have to be practical. You don't stop a criminal investigation when you have enough. You stop when you have learned everything there is to be learned."
Which could take years.
Nadler also has said that he would not even consider initiating impeachment proceedings without "significant" Republican backing. After the lock-step Republican condemnation of Michael Cohen last week and the likelihood of similar receptions for other Trump associates who have flipped when they testify, expect the next Ice Age to commence before that happens.
Meanwhile, Tom Steyer, a billionaire who has dipped into his personal fortune to underwrite national advertising and town hall meetings in crusading for impeachment, tells it like it is:
"There are only two questions left: How deep is the corruption and what do you want to do about it?"
Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal
and related developments.