Has the GOP Finally Hit its Breaking Point?
It seems that they may have-and you know no one is more cynical about the Grand Ole Party than I am. I used to call my blog Diary of a Republican Hater-till I figured out that this got my blog banned in some places for ‘fomenting hate.’
Serious pt: no more reporting on “concern” from McCain, Graham, et al unless they’re willing to *vote* for investigation / subpoena https://t.co/0Lp3K1W1ew
— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) May 17, 2017
Fallows is right of course. He also has a great piece out this morning on how this is even worse than Watergate. I will look at that piece in a later post this morning but here it is.
Having said that, there is some reason to think the GOP is finally willing to do something. It’s been pretty absurd watching Paul Ryan say Gee, if only I had some control over the situation. He and Mitch McConnell have more control over this situation than anyone in America.
On the other hand, I’ve argued that some GOPers like McCain-especially McCain-have been much more concerned about this than their seemingly prosaic public comments suggest.
I do think his vote with Democrats to kill the CRA Senate bill last week-which would have rolled back Obama era environmental regs-was a warning shot to McConnell and friends that the GOP must get serious about this.
Remember too that McCain was the one who sent the Steele Dossier to Comey back in December. Comey had seen it months ago, to be sure, but it was a time before the Beltway media acknowledged its existence. So clearly he has been very concerned about this.
Ok-so it looks like maybe the GOP is moving to action now. Josh Marshall over at Talking Points Memo:
“We’re getting more clarity on where Republicans are ending up after a bruising, punishing 36 hours. Republicans are now reportedly debating whether to push for an independent prosecutor or commission, two demands Democrats have made for weeks or months but which almost all Republicans have heretofore refused. They seem almost universally to be calling to see the Comey memos and hear from Comey himself as soon as possible. Wanting to hear more from Comey – either from his memos or his testimony is an obvious position for Republicans since it covers all the possible bases and leaves freedom to maneuver as the situation becomes more clear. They’re not condemning or defending. They just want to hear more. They can interpret that as condemnation or defense later, as more facts reveal themselves. The upshot of tonight, I think, is that Republicans collectively decided to get out of the way. They’re not attacking Trump. But they’re also no longer standing in the way or blocking more investigations. For now at least they seem to saying: you’re going to need to handle this on your own.”
Last night, Fox News was unable to find a Republican come on willing to defend Herr Trump. And what you are seeing now is:
1. Dems using the I word-impeachment.
2. But Republicans using the I word-independent counsel. They do now seem serious about at least getting to the bottom of the Comey outrage.
Republicans may be reaching their breaking point with Trump
“There was a distinct shift among GOP lawmakers after news that the president allegedly pressured James Comey to drop an FBI investigation.”
“Republicans are privately beginning to worry that they may one day have to sit in judgment of Trump, or that more damaging information from Comey could force the president to step down. Within hours of Tuesday’s report by The New York Times, there was a distinct shift among congressional Republicans, who until now have mostly resisted criticizing Trump, let alone demanding the president be held to account for all he says or does.”
“House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) immediately said he’s prepared to subpoena the memos that Comey reportedly wrote contemporaneously to document his interactions with Trump. Chaffetz sent a letter to the FBI on Tuesday night asking for any notes, documents or records of Trump and Comey’s conversations to be turned over to his panel by May 24.”
His request was echoed by AshLee Strong, spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan: “We need to have all the facts, and it is appropriate for the House Oversight Committee to request this memo.”
“Comey has also been invited by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to testify publicly at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to “tell his side of the story” about his dealings with Trump, Graham said Tuesday, even before this latest story broke.”
“More Republicans have openly discussed the possibility of a select committee or the appointment of a special prosecutor to look into the Trump-Russia connection. It’s still a minority of GOP lawmakers, but Republican leaders are watching closely.”
That is exactly what is needed: a special prosecutor-preferably an independent counsel-and a select committee.
As David Frum says:
This is no longer about Trump. We know what he is. It's about Congress and specifically Republicans in Congress. Who are they?
— David Frum (@davidfrum) May 16, 2017
I think that’s the question: does the GOP want to do its job or wait for a Dem House to do it?
McCain also used the W word-Watergate.
Still, let’s not get too happy.
Rep. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, said Congress is a long way from having a “bipartisan consensus” on Trump’s recent actions.
“There’s a great deal of concern,” he said on MSBNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Wednesday morning. “I wouldn’t necessarily say a turning. But you do see some people stepping up. We are a long way from having a strong bipartisan consensus about what this president did.”
Himes said the investigation has already compromised the president’s legislative agenda.
“Tax reform, which is very very difficult in the best of times, with this cloud, this legislative agenda is all but gone,” he said. “The president’s legislative agenda is lying in ruins on the floor of this building. … You can still see teeth and blood on the floor here.”
P.S. As we saw in my poll out last week, the long awaited poll results are in, and right now I’m just 11 points down vs. Peter King (GOP-NY-District 2). And the voters don’t even know who I am yet.
There is nothing more important in getting answers to Trump-Russia collusion than a Democratic House in 2019. Please donate to help me in my part of the effort to fight for a Dem House.
Thank you. We must have a Dem House. And so, we will.