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If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like hell. ~ CARL SANDBURG
Even with compelling evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin hiding in plain sight, it was inevitable that the congressional investigations into the Russia scandal would descend into mudslinging as conservative Republican calls for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's firing reach a fever pitch, giving the president an opening to again play his favorite responsibility ducking go-free card -- what appears to be true is false and what is false is true -- for perhaps the highest stakes of all. That would be preserving his feeble and endangered presidency.
What is so frightening is that this Orwellian subterfuge might work.
By my own count, there were 31 instances where Trump campaign officials communicated with Russians with ties to Vladimir Putin's successful cybersabotage of Hillary Clinton, including 19 face-to-face meetings. Predictably, these what-is-true facts have failed to move the conservative media-driven Trump sycophancy in Congress, who with the hot breath of a 2018 midterm election meltdown blowing on their crimson napes are yelling like hell that what is false is true, that Mueller's probe is a Democratic plot and it is the investigators who should be investigated.
After all, Trump famously believes that the rules don't apply to him, so why should they apply to the Republicans standing between the president and the constitutional imperative of impeachment.
Leading the charge is Newt Gingrich, that "waddling eminence," in the words of one pundit, who has gone from praising Mueller's appointment as a "superb choice" and a pillar of "honesty and integrity" to using the craven, soul-selling argument that the special prosecutor is engineering a deep-state coup.
Not coincidentally, all of this pre-emptive screeching is occurring as plain-vanilla and nationally distributed USA Today, of all papers, editorializes that:
With his latest tweet, clearly implying that a United States senator would trade sexual favors for campaign cash, President Trump has shown he is not fit for office. Rock bottom is no impediment for a president who can always find room for a new low. . . .
A president who'd all but call a senator a whore is unfit to clean toilets in Obama's presidential library or to shine George W. Bush's shoes.And The Washington Post, in its latest and most damning investigative blockbuster, reveals in deep-sourced detail how Trump continues to manically refuse to acknowledge Russian election interference while pursuing Putin's affections.
The breathtaking takeaway grafs:
Nearly a year into his presidency, Trump continues to reject the evidence that Russia waged an assault on a pillar of American democracy and supported his run for the White House.
The result is without obvious parallel in U.S. history, a situation in which the personal insecurities of the president — and his refusal to accept what even many in his administration regard as objective reality — have impaired the government’s response to a national security threat. The repercussions radiate across the government.As I noted here, if Trump moves against Mueller, it is likely to be sooner rather than later. The Washington swamp jungle telegraph says before Christmas, while Trump said on Sunday he has no plans to fire him (cough, cough).
The reason Trump may get away with all this is that he can. And he can because we keep losing sight of the big picture. (How about you, bucko?)
"It's not a Republican thing or Democratic thing — it really is an American thing," former FBI Director James Comey said of the threat from Russia in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee in June. And you'd better believe Trump's comrades are preparing a 2018 encore. Yet as the WaPo story noted, he hasn't convened a single Cabinet-level meeting to discuss Russia, while his Presidential Daily Briefing is delivered orally and parts are censored because the Russian intelligence it sometime contains might provoke him to fly into a rage.
As I have written over and over -- and over -- the Kremlin plot to elect Trump was an unprecedented assault from America's greatest foe on the bedrock of our democracy. It is the most explosive scandal since Soviet spies stole atomic bomb secrets over 70 years ago. It may well be considered the crime of the century, yet it has devolved into just another partisan food fight in the eyes of too many people. Our inability to recognize the scandal for what it is because of a toxic mix of avarice, apathy and naïveté has become a moral failure so profound as to boggle the mind.
Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal.