Cowardly Lions of the Senate (and House)

The continuance of our form of government is dependent on the ability of the 3 co-equal branches of government to provide oversight for each other. This ability is enhanced by the presence of oversight bodies within each branch. But in the past 3 years, this system has been attacked by the Executive Branch, We are now at the point where the status quo is not sustainable. To paraphrase the late Rep. Barbara Jordan, we cannot sit here and be idle spectators to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.”

Donald Trump clearly is doing each of these. He has spent his entire Presidency aiming to profit from his Office and to destroy any vestiges of oversight. At long last, the Democrats have launched an Impeachment Inquiry. Today, the President reiterated his request that the Ukraine investigate his opponent and his opponent’s family, and then he did the same with China (while casually mentioning the pending trade deal with that country). In so doing, he has provided everything necessary to lead to his conviction in the Senate.

Make no mistake, these requests are criminal and impeachable as Fox legal analyst Andrew Napolitano, no liberal he, pointed that out just today. Yet the GOP leadership of both the House and Senate continue to defend this rogue President, along with his co-conspirators, Mike Pence, Bill Barr, Mike Pompeo, and Rudy Giuliani, to name just a few. Most of the leadership are attorneys and understand the consequence of the failure of the rule of law for the future of the US. And yet they put their fear of a stupid and incompetent President along with their own personal corruption or compromise ahead of the needs of a country that is lurching toward authoritarianism.

Let’s look at these cowardly lions, shall we?

First there was the rank Ranking Member of the House Intelligence committee, Devin Nunes. After trying to intimidate the first Inquiry witness, Joseph McGuire, he launched into an attack on the “fake” Impeachment Inquiry. It was surreal to watch.

Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy showed up on 60 Minutes last Sunday and revealed that he couldn’t be bothered to read the brief memo (not a transcript) of the infamous July 25 call by Trump to Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky. He suggested that a word had been added to the noxious quote: “I want you to do me a favor though . . ” Although the pushback was a modest, McCarthy was shamed to the extent that is possible and was publicly humiliated. This morning, he asked Speaker Pelosi to end the Impeachment Inquiry. Fortunately, she was able to respond appropriately, stating ” I received your letter this morning shortly after the world witnessed President Trump on national television asking yet another foreign power to interfere in the upcoming 2020 elections.” Nancy doesn’t mess around. And Kevin is not smart.

Then there was Senate Judiciary Committee Chair, Lindsey Graham. This rabid attack animal was unable to do anything other than deny any wrongdoing by Trump and then to endorse the dirt-finding Eurotour being conducted by Barr, Pompeo, Giuliani, and Gorka. Whatever Trump or Putin has on him must be explosive.

Majority Leader Moscow Mitch McConnell has steadfastly kept his mouth shut. The only concession he made to the new reality is to acknowledge that he had to allow a trial to proceed if the House approved articles of impeachment.

None of these “leaders” have exactly been profiles in courage. But each of them, and the rest of the GOP Congressfolk, took oaths to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic . . .” Trump and company have proved to be domestic enemies, and a number of the countries he is seeking help from to undermine the 2020 election do not have the US’s best interests at heart.

Sadly, the GOP leaders lack the fortitude to stand up to this kakistocratic Executive Branch (indeed, some of them are proving to be part of the kakistocracy). Surely, they realize that Trump would throw any of them under the bus to satisfy any of his many ill-considered whims. Certainly, they must be aware that there is life after Trump, and some day, the cast of characters in charge of the country will change. Is Trump et al.’s authoritarian vision the country they want to wake up to on that day? Will their moral bankruptcy, political ambitions, and greed win out? Or will they live up to their sacred duty to protect the Constitution. Time will tell, but it’s hard to be optimistic.

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