Republicans, with their responses to the scandal engulfing the so called president in the wake of news that he tried to use U.S. economic and military power to secure a favor from a foreign president in service to his reelection campaign, are proving QED what we already knew — they have no principles at all.
Let us be very clear at the outset — there are zero circumstances in which any president of the United States should try to browbeat a foreign leader into investigating spurious allegations about any U.S. citizen, much less a likely political opponent.
Some Trump apologists have compared the notorious phone call with the president of Ukraine to the Mueller investigation into Trump himself. This is preposterous. Robert Mueller had a formal appointment from a federal official who had the authority to make the appointment, which carried a very specific mandate to investigate specific actions the occurrence of which already had substantial evidentiary support. Mueller has years of relevant experience as a U.S. attorney and director of the FBI.
It is true that the president of the United States has the responsibility to ensure that the “laws be faithfully executed,” (Article II, Section 3, U.S. Constitution) but, especially in the modern era of expertise and specialization, presidents delegate many of the details of enforcing the law to subordinates. Especially a president who is as devoid of understanding of law and legal procedures as Trump should not try to ensure investigation of crimes himself. Insofar as reasonable suspicion of crimes exist (!), investigating and prosecuting them is the job of the Department of Justice. Foreign policy concerns are the job of the Secretary of State. The persons who currently occupy positions running both agencies are hand picked Trump toadies, so he should have no concerns about their alignment with his policy priorities (!).
Further, the specific allegations in this instance — that former vice president Joe Biden, during his service as Vice President, used his power to prevent investigation into illegal conduct by his son, Hunter, who was at the time serving as a director of a corporation in Ukraine — has zero basis in reality. It is purely a manufactured fantasy of the “conservative” political machine. Trump picked it up from his favorite source of TV fantasy, Fox “News.”
So the whole thing is a Republican boondoggle from the beginning. For any thinking person to lend it a scintilla of credibility is deeply embarrassing. It deserves none. Just the sort of idea Donald Trump loves to run with (see, e.g., wall, border, effectiveness of).
That alone is typical of Trump and deeply annoying in its capacity to prompt him to waste public funds and cause harm to innocent asylum seekers and their children.
But the Ukraine nonsense, involving as it does a leading Democratic candidate to run against Trump in 2020 for president, proved to be criminal catnip to the presidential Siamese.
Way back in June, after Trump said flatly in an interview that he would again consider accepting negative information about an opponent from a foreigner during an election, the Chair of the Federal Election Commission issued an unusual statement declaring emphatically that accepting anything of value from a foreign national in aid of a U.S. election is a violation of federal law.
Trump, of course, being entirely clueless, took no heed of this warning and likely saw no connection between it and his decision to ask the president of Ukraine to pursue an investigation into the allegations against Biden. Doing so, however, was plainly illegal and what finally prompted the House of Representatives to begin an impeachment investigation.
Despite very clear evidence, both that Trump ordered the delay in sending military aid to Ukraine shortly before the call, and a summary of the call that clearly shows Trump asking the president of Ukraine about the investigation, principle free Republicans continue to assert, against all evidence, that the call involved no illegal conduct at all.
Lindsey Graham, Senator from South Carolina, always a vocal Trump toady, has defended the president’s conduct. House minority leader Kevin McCarthy is in danger of suffering a hernia from his pseudo heroic efforts to provide some reasonable explanation for the call. Mitch McConnell has not only already promised to ensure that the Senate will not find Trump guilty in an impeachment trial, he is raising money on the promise. In an impeachment, the Senate functions as a jury that has the power to decide guilt or its absence in the offending conduct. McConnell has essentially declared that, as a juror in the case, he already knows the outcome before the trial even starts. One does not need to be a lawyer to realize that, any potential juror who claims before the trial starts to have decided the outcome would get excused from the jury immediately.
Loyalty to their Party at the expense of every other consideration has been the hallmark of Republican politics and policy, such as it is, at least since Newt Gringrich’s partisan bomb throwing days of the early 1990s, culminating in the absurd impeachment of Bill Clinton, which was the leading political hit job of the 20th century.
With this attitude, the Republicans do the country no favors. It has produced such policy debacles as frittering away budget surpluses with ill considered, unnecessary tax cuts, eight years of bloody minded, absolute opposition to a Democratic president, and now the man who clearly deserves the title of worst president in the history of the republic.
Republicans should feel shame for their perfidy and malfeasance but, having no principles, they also have no shame.
No Republican deserves to hold public office.