Ukraine-Gate: What ‘Others’ Are Saying – on Both Sides (UPDATED)
Peter Baker at The New York Times over the weekend wrote a poignant column reminding us of the days when (most) Republicans were “Republicans.”
He writes how, “one day in October 1992,” four Republican congressmen advised the then-losing-his-re-election-race George Bush “to contact the Russians or the British to seek information on Bill Clinton’s trip to Moscow…”
However, James A. Baker III, Mr. Bush’s White House chief of staff, saved the day by taking the position, as he wrote in a memo the same day, “I said we absolutely could not do that.”
Peter Baker adds:
A survey of 10 former White House chiefs of staff under Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama found that none recalled any circumstance under which the White House had solicited or accepted political help from other countries, and all said they would have considered the very idea out of bounds.
Forget about how and what this little blogger feels, says or writes about the state of our nation.
Here is what “others” are saying after a tumultuous two weeks of GOP lying, denying, deflecting, stonewalling, obstructing and just plain offending the intelligence, principles and conscience of the American people and after continuing to make a mockery of our laws and Constitution.
Most of the quotes below are from “liberal” sources, but just to make it fair, we are including at the end what “other others,” i.e. notable Republicans, have said.
David Remnick at The New Yorker, in “an offer that apparently everyone can refuse.”
Of course, Donald Trump roped Mike Pence into the Ukraine plot! It’s one of the oldest Mafia tricks in the book, featured in a hundred movies starting in the 1930s right up through today. You’re a mob boss, you’re about to do something big—move on another family’s turf, order a hit. What do you as you prepare for it, within your own circle? You get everyone dirty. You make them complicit—part of the plot. That way, they can’t sing on you. If they’re part of plot, they’re guilty, too, and they have to clam up and take part in the cover-up. It’s Corleone 101.
On Lindsey Graham, “who has lashed himself to the mast of Trump’s foundering ship, has gone all-in on this narrative,” Tomasky quotes Graham on Face the Nation: “This seems to be like a political setup. It’s all hearsay. You can’t get a parking ticket conviction based on hearsay. The whistleblower didn’t hear the phone call.”
Frank Bruni at the New York Times “looking at” Pompeo, Graham et al:
Pompeo [who] graduated first in his class at West Point decades ago…an evangelical Christian, steeped in the very dictums that Trump has spent a lifetime mocking with both his words and his deeds…just put on a clown suit, put away his ethics and finagled a big role under the Big Top…[promoted] Trump’s view that Saudi Arabia’s butchery of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi shouldn’t give anyone pause. What are a few severed body parts among allies? He recalled the ambassador to Ukraine just to please the president and his babbling Beelzebub, Rudy Giuliani. He listened mutely to that July 25 phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president, decided to ignore what he heard and then claimed — until a few days ago — that he was utterly in the dark about any pressure on Ukraine to kneecap Joe Biden.
On Lindsey Graham, Bruni writes:
I’m looking at you, Lindsey Graham, who somehow decided that Trump was the new John McCain, which is like deeming tripe the new tenderloin…[whose quest] now involves the insistence that Trump, rather than abusing the presidency to dig up imagined dirt on a political rival, is the victim of some setup…. It’s the fee for being able to get the president on the phone, for being invited to play golf with him, for feeling the rush of access, for crowing about your perch at the epicenter of the action…
And now — again, to be fair — what Republicans have said:
As recently as June of this year, Lindsey Graham acknowledged, “If a public official is approached by a foreign government offering anything of value, the answer is no,”
And as late as November 2016, Graham was saying:
I think Russia would love for him to win…The fact that the Russians are actively involved in this election says all I need to know about Donald Trump. I’ve never, I can’t believe I’ve lived long enough to see a foreign government this involved in our election.
In March 2017, Pompeo warned that Trump would be “an authoritarian President who ignored our Constitution,” that “It’s time to turn down the lights on the circus.”
During one of the 2016 vice-presidential debates Pence said, “This is basic stuff. Foreign donors — and certainly foreign governments — cannot participate in the American political process.”
During the the impeachment proceedings against President Bill Clinton, accused of making false statements about a consensual sexual affair Mitch McConnell said:
Time after time, the President came to a fork in the road…Time after time, he had the opportunity to choose the noble and honorable path. Time after time, he chose the path of lies and lawlessness—for the simple reason that he did not want to endanger his hold on public office…The President would seek to win at any cost. If it meant lying to the American people. If it meant lying to his Cabinet…The name of the game was winning. Winning at any cost…He took an oath to faithfully execute the laws of this nation, and he violated that oath…He pledged to be the nation’s chief law enforcement officer, and he violated that pledge. He took an oath to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and he willfully and repeatedly violated that oath.
Then there was Graham, during the same episode: “…impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”
But today, in a new GOP campaign video, the same Mitch McConnell — a few years older, but not any wiser — says, “All of you know your Constitution. The way that impeachment stops is a Senate majority with me as majority leader.”
Today, in the year 2019, there seem to be one or two “honorable exceptions.” One of them, Republican Sen. Mitt Romney who tweeted:
If the President asked or pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rival, either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling in the extreme. Critical for the facts to come out…
Upon which the “obstructor in chief” promptly called Romney a “pompous ass.”
Yes, there are very fine people, on both sides, but consistency is not always a virtue.