Archive for Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Opinion: Republicans, rein in Trump now

May 16, 2017

Advertisement

The comparisons between the investigation into Russia’s nefarious involvement in the 2016 presidential election and Watergate aren’t perfect, but there are important lessons Republicans can learn from the latter. We don’t yet know whether anyone in the Trump campaign, knowingly or unknowingly, assisted the Russians in their effort to disrupt the democratic process, but we do know that President Donald Trump is obsessed with stopping a thorough investigation into the matter. His latest ham-fisted effort was to fire FBI Director James Comey a week after Comey testified on the matter.

Trump apparently thought Comey’s firing would be greeted with applause from both sides of the political aisle. He was disastrously wrong. Whether his actions were motivated by an intent to cover up wrongdoing or simply to get an unflattering story about his campaign off the front pages, we don’t yet know. But even the more generous interpretation should set off alarms in GOP circles. The road to Watergate started with a presidential preoccupation with bad news coverage and ended up with obstruction of justice.

Reports of what went on in the West Wing the week prior to Comey’s firing are deeply disturbing. According to dozens of White House staff members and associates of the president who had contact with him during the week, President Trump could not let go of his anger over the Russia investigation. In a week that might be seen as one of his best — the House passed an unlikely health care overhaul that he supported, his first major legislative achievement — the president was yelling at the television, calling friends to vent his anger and generally fuming over Comey’s testimony on Russian efforts to sway the election. He tweeted that the “Trump-Russia collusion story is a total hoax” the night before firing Comey. The picture is of a man unhinged, willing to take reckless action — and, most importantly, with no one around him who could dissuade him from his most destructive impulses.

Comey’s firing will not end the Russia investigation. I would argue that it may well invigorate it. And given the president’s mindset and personality, we can expect him to ramp up his efforts to shut it down unless members of his own party intervene directly and forcefully. The congressional committees investigating Russian intervention need more resources, as may the FBI. But those resources haven’t been forthcoming, because the GOP leadership isn’t all that eager to find answers.

Trump has succeeded in corrupting much of the Republican Party. Many Republicans seem afraid of Trump and Trump’s base — though given Trump’s plummeting approval ratings, it’s unclear why. The window is closing for Republicans to step up. If they won’t do it publicly (only a small handful have criticized the Comey firing openly), they need to do so in direct confrontation with the president.

Members of Congress from the president’s own party need to tell the president unequivocally that he needs to shut up about the Russia investigation. No more tweets. No more midnight calls to old friends. No more ranting and raving to staff. No more yelling at the TV. No more interjecting the subject into other discussions. No more campaign rallies to stoke grievances about news media coverage. He needs to express confidence in the processes of our criminal justice system to get the investigation right. He needs to express confidence in the coequal branches of government to engage in their proper investigatory roles and get to the truth.

If Republicans won’t stop the president from the path he’s on, he will not only destroy his own presidency but also bring the party down around him. No one in Donald Trump’s world has ever said no to him. Clearly, no one on his staff is willing to do so. The American people will get their chance in 2020 — if he lasts that long and is still interested in the job, which is a whole lot harder and less rewarding than he anticipated. In the meantime, congressional Republican leaders need to march down Pennsylvania Avenue to deliver this message: No more lies, no more conspiracy theories, no more rabble-rousing. Keep your eye focused on governing, and forget vendettas. Respect the separation of powers, or pay the consequences when Congress finally has had enough.

— Linda Chavez is a columnist with Creators Syndicate.

Comments

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 week ago

NO! Impeach him........do not let this incompetent, foolish, inexperienced and ignorant jerk continue to drag down our country and our civilization. He has proven to be completely incapable of the grave responsibilities of the office of President of the United Sates and needs to be removed before something very serious happens either domestically or internationally. The non-election of this non-candidate to this high office will live in history as one of the gravest mistakes in the history of the United States of America and the American voters.

Bob Smith 1 week ago

"... The non-election of this non-candidate to this high office..." Reality, Fred. Do you speak it?

Brandon Devlin 1 week ago

Fred continues on this rant of "non-candidate," "non-election," but doesn't answer the question of "how do you impeach a non-elected, non-President?"

And really, Fred, if it was a "non-election of [a[ non-candidate," how can it be the "gravest mistakes in the history of ... American voters?" I mean, according to you, he wasn't elected.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 week ago

Larry..Thanks for the hand up. You other guys......well........I know you worship Trump and the horrible Constitutional fraud that elected him with less than the lead in the popular vote. I recognize that some folks are just attached to this ancient and stupid "Electoral College" that defrauds any election from the methods that elect ALL OTHER OF OUR ELECTED GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS,..

THE WINNER IN ALL OTHER ELECTIONS IS THE ONE WHO GETS THE MOST VOTES.

WHY DO WE KNUCKLE UNDER TO THIS FRAUD???

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 week ago

I just turned 73 years old a few weeks ago.. I remember President Eisenhower. General Eisenhower was a war hero (World War II, "The Big One" for you under 50 folks). He was a lukewarm president, mostly because nothing much happened during his term. His fame as a war hero pretty much glossed over most of the less than spectacular things that occurred during his uneventful terms. (Now I know someone is going to find something to skewer me on for this foggy recall of 1950.).

John F. Kennedy was president for a short term before he was killed in Dallas. During his term, he was lauded as a good president and attacked by the Republicans who would have treated any Democratic president in this manner,. It all changed that horrible day In Dallas,

I was a sophomore in college at the time.

Suddenly the murdered president was a greater hero than he ever was in life. Kennedy had his problems but for the most part was doing a good job. But with his death, he became some sort of saint. He was not, but he was a good president.

Now have to avoid the urge to throw up when I see where the office of President of the United States has deteriorated with the inauguration of this complete fool and idiot to the White House. I still cannot get my sorrowful mind around the fact that this many people could be so mistaken and swayed by the behavior of this incompetent and disgusting fool.

Eisenhower and Kennedy are probably turning over in their graves at this catastrophe of political history in the United States of America.

Michael Kort 6 days, 18 hours ago

But Nixon Is thanking GOD because Trump is going to eclipse his fame as the most troubled president in a very much shorter time than it took Nixon to self destruct into that title.

Eisenhower had the Suez Cannal Ownership struggle, the nationalization of corporate oil investments in the Middle East, the Cold War, the Sputnik and the missile gap to deal with from a nuclear Russia .

But Ike was the Supreem allied commander in Europe, he kept his cool and he held the military industrial complex from racing off to create the next Great War for profit and fun .

If Nixon over reacted his paranoia with tapes and political break ins,Trump is simply sociopathing his way allong with lies that he is constantly spewing ....he's going....going....going to do something about abcderghijklmnopqrstwxyv .

Jim Phillips 5 days, 23 hours ago

And the Liberal meltdown continues! Fun to watch, but I think people should learn what "impeachment" really means and what it takes to impeach a President.

Sign in to comment

loading...