Donald Trump. For years he questioned Obama’s nationality and loyalty. He’s the one who says “America first” while his actions are “America second.” Photo: Gage Skidmore–Flickr
[Speaking Truth To Power]
For some time now, political pundits have been characterizing Donald Trump’s actions to obstruct investigations in Russia as Nixonesque.
But isn’t it evident by now to everyone—except Republicans running interference for this White House—that Trump’s attempt to obstruct the Russia investigation paints him in a worse light than President Richard Nixon? He just spews a lot of crap to confuse the public about the seriousness of the matter.
The latest turmoil, in an epically scandal-plagued presidency, are revelations that Trump tried to get special prosecutor Robert Mueller removed from the Russia investigation—only a month after Mueller was tapped to replace former FBI Director James Comey, who was fired by Trump.
According to the New York Times story by Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman, “Trump ordered the firing last June of Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel overseeing the Russia investigation… but ultimately backed down after the White House counsel threatened to resign rather than carry out the directive.”
The story says: “After receiving the president’s order to fire Mr. Mueller, the White House counsel, Donald F. McGahn II, refused to ask the Justice Department to dismiss the special counsel, saying he would quit instead.” Reportedly, Trump was going to justify the firing of Mueller on three weak excuses, including: Trump’s belief that Mueller was mad at him over a dispute about golfing fees that occurred years ago at Trump’s National Golf Club in Sterling, Virginia.
Mr. McGahn’s refusal to obey the dictates of Trump is comparable to the decisions of then Attorney General Elliot Richardson and then Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus; both of them refused to fire Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox on October 20, 1973. On that day, during the infamous Saturday Night Massacre, Richardson and Ruckelshaus rejected President Richard Nixon’s immoral order to fire Cox and continue to obstruct justice. Cox was looking into the Nixon White House’s role in the burglarizing of the Democratic National Committee party offices in the Watergate office complex in Washington D.C.
Richardson and Ruckelshaus also resigned from Nixon’s White House.
In this our own historic moment, Mr. McGahn did what Richardson and Ruckelshaus did: he refused to obey a presidential order he viewed as being either illegal, and, or, politically untenable.
The Times story tells us McGahn thought firing Mueller would have deleterious political consequences for Trump. Reportedly, McGahn also said Trump wouldn’t act to fire Mueller alone. Doesn’t this suggest Trump knew he couldn’t fire Mueller in the way he had fired Comey, without it causing considerable political condemnation? Is this why he was trying get McGahn to have the Justice Department do the firing? This is a pattern with this cowardly president.
As a long-time Republican lawyer, McGahn’s actions helps Republicans who’ve already had serious political problems covering-up for Trump on Russia. Obviously, Republicans are presently aiding-and-abetting Trump in concealing his Russia connections. But what excuses would Republicans have had to use to justify the second firing of a FBI Special Counsel who was investigating the relationship between Russia and Trump? Moreover, a Republican one?
History will judge this current Republican Party as one of supreme hypocrites. Republicans have often lectured us of how, supposedly, Ronald Reagan was this great president and standard-bearer of their party. However, why aren’t Republicans concerned about the connections between Trump and Russia—a country Reagan called the “evil empire?”
Since Trump has been in the White House he has adopted a bellicose stance in foreign policy, except, noticeably, when that nation is Russia. He has attacked most Muslim countries as well as North Korea, Iran and Cuba. When it comes to Russia, Trump takes a conciliatory “why can’t we be friends” tone. He knows what they know that most of us don’t know.
In addition to the political improprieties such as possible collusion to gain advantage over Hillary Clinton, possible wrongful financial dealings are being investigated. Trump is the kind of person who does everything based on economic calculations. Isn’t this the same reason why Trump now loves the leaders of Saudi Arabia—even though we know Saudi Arabia is a primary exporter of terrorism with its financing of violent extremists including ISIS in Syria?
Republicans like South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy were vociferous that America needed to get to the bottom of what happened at the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya on September 11-12, 2012; an attack which killed 4 Americans and 7 Libyans. Gowdy spearheaded a two-year partisan probe in a vain attempt to find political dirt to smear Clinton who served as secretary of state under President Obama.
The tragedy of the Benghazi Embassy attacks started with the unjustified American and NATO intervention into an internal Libyan political situation that led to the killing of Colonel Muhammar al-Quathafi. The “rebels” that Capitol Hill, Clinton and President Obama talked about are now running auctions of enslaved Africans in Libya.
If Gowdy’s findings had any real legitimacy it would’ve condemned America’s military intervention into Libya, period, since that was the precipitating event that led to the embassy attacks. But, “small government” Republicans find it difficult to denounce military involvement into foreign countries. Ironically, it now appears Mr. Gowdy is running interference for this scandalous Trump White House. Gowdy is one of several Republicans now arguing about a “secret society” of FBI agents who are, supposedly, trying to harm Trump. Apparently, Gowdy has no problem making such a curious claim based on negative text messages from two reportedly romantically-involved agents.
Somehow though, this is enough for “law and order” Republicans to criticize the FBI as an institution. Isn’t this their way of creating doubt ahead of Mueller’s findings? The clear idea is to muddy the Russia evidence by castigating the conduct of these FBI agents.
In the Watergate scandal President Nixon’s motive seems to have been to get political information from the Democratic National Committee headquarters which he could use for politically strategic purposes. This is a criminal act that shouldn’t be tolerated—especially, from a Republican like Nixon who won the presidency on a cry of “law and order.”
However, as bad as Nixon’s corrupt conduct was his actions cannot be characterized as treasonous in the way Trump’s actions seems to be. Nixon’s actions were injurious in an internal sense. Trump’s actions are treasonous because his corruption is intertwined with a foreign country. Trump’s main bedfellow is considered one of the primary political enemies of America.
In July, of 20016, during a press conference, referencing the hullabaloo regarding the Clinton e-mail messages, Trump said: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing. I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”
At the time, this comment seemed to be just one more bizarre comment by Trump. But given all we know now; honest Americans should be asking — did Trump have inside knowledge regarding Russian hacking into the DNC that informed this comment?
This is surely a relevant question. So why aren’t Republicans interested in finding the answer?
If President Obama had any such dealings with a hostile foreign power, Republicans would’ve called for his impeachment from day one. But because Trump is their latest White House champion, Republican “leadership,” like Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Leader Mitch McConnell, pretend to be deaf, blind and dumb—so they can get Trump to sign off on their political policies.
Perhaps, unwittingly, these Republicans—by protecting Trump—are proving to foreign powers that American democracy can be undermined by bribery and money. The “swamp” is now filled with an assortment of sharks.
President Nixon resigned because he knew he had lost the support of enough Republicans who voted for article of impeachment against him. Today’s Republican Party is doing everything in their power to protect a president far worse than Nixon.