|JOHN BOTSFORD / THE WASHINGTON POST|
You have to give Trey Gowdy and Lindsay Graham credit. Not much, but a little bit.
Donald Trump's performance at the Surrender Summit was so repulsively astonishing that they have emerged as two of the very few Republicans pleading with the president to puh-leez remember his first responsibility is to protect the country, and to do that he has to admit that Russian interference in the 2016 election occurred even if, in his profoundly narcissistic view, such an acknowledgement would seem to threaten his legitimacy.
Gowdy and Graham staged on-air teevee talk show interventions over the weekend for an audience of one, although we can be certain that the president, who had reversed field twice in the previous week in denying interference, grudgingly admitting Russian interference amidst the post-Helsinki fallout and then doubling back down in tweeting that it is all a "hoax," wasn't listening.
He was playing golf. And doing his best imitation of a petulant little child king covering his ears and squeezing shut his eyes when confronted with reality.
This included deeply culpatory FBI documentation of campaign associate Carter Page's star turns as a Russian flunky, to which Trump responded by declaring that the documentation proved the FBI was corrupt. And criticism from the very Obama administration intelligence officials who had briefed him on Russian interference two weeks before he took the . . . uh, oath of office, to which he responded at the time by railing in the presence of stunned aides that he was "being set up" and then over the weekend by threatening to strip the now former intelligence officials of their security clearances in an unprecedented abuse of presidential authority that would have made even Richard Nixon blush.
There is no way you can listen to the evidence and not conclude, not that the Democrats were the victims, but the United States of America were the victims. We were the victims of what Russia did in 2016, and it ought to be a source of unity and rallying around the fact that we are never going to allow this to happen again, and we’re going to punish those who try to do it.And Graham:
I think the president gets this confused. If you suggest that Russians meddled in 2016, he goes to the idea that, "Well, I didn’t collude with them." You didn’t collude with the Russians, or at least I haven’t seen any evidence. But, Mr. President, they meddled in the elections. . . . Harden our electoral infrastructure for 2018. Mr. President, Dan Coats is right. The red lights are blinking.But the telling-truth-to-lies statements from Gowdy and Graham were merely annoying bumps in the road for the child king's bulldozer.
The bulldozer plowed into the new week with speculation still raging over what kind of kompromat Vlad the Impaler has on the child king, let alone what the heck they discussed in secret in Helsinki for two hours, as Rudolph Giuliani, the child king's dumb pill-addicted lawyer, declared that yet another counteroffer had been submitted to Robert Mueller with yet another demand regarding the special counsel's request for an interview with the child king himself. As in there be no questions asked about obstruction of justice and the firing of FBI director James B. Comey, which of course are central to the case against Trump.
The child king also fumed over the release of one of Michael Cohen's secretly recorded chick tapes, which was yet another window into his fundamental sleaziness, and threatened to declare war on Iran in a ham-handed effort to change the subject. Which had the consequence of being a reminder that Trump has no Iran policy.
Meanwhile, the Russian Foreign Ministry kicked off a social media campaign, accompanied by the shouts of a Moscow flash mob (flesh mob?), to free Mariia Butina, who is moldering in a federal lockup a few blocks from the White House on charges she is a covert agent, and the child king rolled out a new line on Russian interference, claiming without evidence that the Kremlin will support Democrats in the midterm elections.
In another it's-a-whole-new-week happening, Paul Manafort won a request to postpone his fraud and tax evasion trial a few days. But lost a bid to get back the eight iPods that Mueller's agents seized when they raided his condo, one of which includes the contemporaneous notes Trump's then-campaign manager took during the infamous June 9, 2016 Trump Tower meeting convened by Donald "If What You Say Is True I Love It" Trump Jr.
The sage Andrew Sullivan suggests that we're making the whole Trump-Putin thing too complicated. It may be that Trump "simply believes what he says."
Andrew is on to something when he writes that:
The slackened jaws, widened eyes, and general shock that greeted his chuffed endorsement of the Kremlin over Washington . . . were understandable but misplaced. Everything Trump did in Europe -- every horrifying, sick-making, embarrassing expostulation -- is, in some way, consistent, and predictable, when you consider how he sees the world. It's not a plan or a strategy as such. Trump is bereft of the attention span to sustain any of those. It is rather the reflection of a set of core beliefs and instincts that have governed him for much of his life. The lies come and go. But his deeper convictions really are in plain sight.The question then becomes -- or rather, we again return to the question of -- how to stop the bulldozer.
There is only one immediate remedy, the rest will have to wait, Maximum Bob and the other forces bearing down on the child king willing. Register to vote. And work to get others to register to vote. Do it, dammit!
Click HERE for a comprehensive timeline of the Russia scandal
and related developments.