Last week Swamp Rabbit and I watched House Republicans grill FBI agent Peter Strzok and wondered if they really believed Strzok was part of of an FBI conspiracy to link Donald Trump to Russian interference with the 2016 election, even though they knew the FBI had undermined Hillary Clinton’s chances, not Trump’s, by restarting an “email probe” against Clinton right before the election.
And we realized the Republicans at the hearing, every one of them, were trying to make a case they knew was not only false but implausible, in the hope of somehow discrediting special council Robert Mueller if he releases evidence linking Trump to the Russians.
And we had to conclude that the TV hearing marked a new low point for the GOP, the point where they tacitly admitted they’d rather invent untruths and pursue false leads than publicly voice doubts about their dear leader, a dangerous fool who consistently sides with Vladimir Putin against the FBI and the Department of Justice.
And I remarked on the lies and cowardice of the Republicans, and on how none of Joe Stalin’s Soviet minions wanted to be the first to stop applauding when he made a speech, lest he or she be taken out and shot for lack of fervor.
“Hold on there, Odd Man,” Swamp Rabbit said. “Trump ain’t Stalin and the Republicans ain’t minions. Ain’t nobody gonna have them shot.”
I replied, “You’re right, Trump can’t have them shot. Not yet. But he can rile up his base and have his minions driven out of office if they take sides against him.”
Today Trump and Putin met in Helsinki for a private love session then took questions from reporters. Trump expressed doubt about whether Russia was to blame for election interference, and he voiced confidence that the U.S. and Russia would get along better in the future.
After the Q&A, some Republicans in Congress conceded the Russians really were to blame for election misconduct — hacking, etc. — but only those few who didn’t endorse Trump or aren’t running for office again said anything overtly negative about his conduct. Certainly nothing approaching former CIA chief John Brennan’s charge that Trump’s performance at the Helsinki meeting was “nothing short of treasonous.”
I told Swamp Rabbit that Trump’s minions will continue to applaud him, no matter how rotten his actions, unless the tide turns and they think supporting him might hurt their chances for re-election.
“OK, but just don’t compare Trump to Stalin again,” Swamp Rabbit repeated. “He ain’t no killer dictator.”
“That’s an accident of time and geography,” I replied. “Lucky for us and his minions.”