Opinion: No checks or balances on Trump


“What is the point of saying that there was a spy in the (Trump) campaign when there was none?” asks U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, Republican of Florida and a member of the House Intelligence Committee. “You know what I’m saying? It’s like, ‘Lets create this thing to tweet about knowing that it’s not true.’ … Maybe it’s just to create more chaos but it doesn’t really help the case.”

Tom Rooney is not running for re-election.

U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Oversight Committee, received the same classified briefing about the FBI investigation as Rooney, and reached the same conclusion. “I am even more convinced that the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do when they got the information they got” about Russian interference in the campaign, Gowdy said.

Trey Gowdy is not running for re-election.

“Normally I don’t like to comment on classified briefings,” says House Speaker Paul Ryan, who also attended that briefing session. “Let me say it this way. Chairman Gowdy’s initial assessment is accurate, but we have some more digging to do…. I have seen no evidence to the contrary of the initial assessment that Chairman Gowdy has made.”

Paul Ryan is not running for re-election.

These top Republicans know that Trump is not just lying to the American people, but lying to them on a grand scale, and about something important. They know that the president of the United States is falsely attacking the credibility and integrity of the FBI and the Department of Justice in a desperate attempt to save his own skin, and they are finally saying so, if more delicately.

Other Republicans know all that too, but unlike Gowdy, Rooney and Ryan, they don’t dare to say so. With rare and courageous exceptions, the only Republicans who dare to question the emperor’s oh-so-fine, resplendent new clothing are those who are leaving the game in disgust at what it has become, and at the price they pay in self-respect to remain.

Everybody else has made a different calculation. Some are true believers, having fully convinced themselves that the president is the victim of a Deep State conspiracy against his election and against the Constitution itself. Others have concluded that the damage they would do to their own standing in the party by speaking out is more important than the damage being done to the country by their silent acquiescence.

And certainly, the political damage would be significant. “Shame on Trey Gowdy,” an angry Sean Hannity said afterward, attacking a man once considered a right-wing hero. Conservative Republicans in the House have also begun demanding Ryan’s premature ouster as speaker, as the price he must pay for disloyalty.

The one issue on which some Republicans have managed to find a voice is free trade. Trump has managed to unite most of the world against us on trade, with our closest allies the angriest, and the prospect for major economic damage is growing. Even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says that “I don’t think anything good will come out of a trade war,” noting that his home state of Kentucky has a lot to lose in bourbon exports. “I hope we pull back from the brink here, because these tariffs will not be good for the economy.”

On Wednesday, however, McConnell announced he would not allow Congress to vote on bills to challenge Trump, saying “I don’t think we need to be trying to rein in the president through legislation.”

And when legislators are too afraid to legislate, well, so much for checks and balances.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Opinion

READERS WRITE: NOV. 15

Conceding gracefully is Abrams’ best move I have been following closely the chaos surrounding the recent election for governor. It seems to me Stacey Abrams’ best path forward is to gracefully concede the race and begin preparing to run for another office, such as senator. With all the suspicious actively going on in the Florida governor&rsquo...
READERS WRITE: NOV. 14

Ballot proposals need more-accurate descriptions All of Georgia’s proposed constitutional amendments passed in landslides. Why? The handout I received just before voting said the Georgia Outdoor Stewardship Fund proposal would “conserve lands that protect drinking water sources and the water quality of lakes and streams … (and) provide...
Opinion : The how, what and why of a Trump lie

Donald Trump lies with an audacity and on a scale never before seen in American politics, and it’s tempting to get so caught up in the showmanship of it all that you miss what makes it work. So let me propose a different approach. Instead of focusing on the number and scale of Trump’s lies, what if we focused more intently on one oft-repeated...
Opinion: We have an identity problem

According to a recent report in The New York Times, Health and Human Services Department officials have been circulating a proposal to define sex. Their memo says, “Sex means a person’s status as male or female based on immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.” They add, “The sex listed on a person&rsquo...
READERS WRITE: NOV. 13

Early voting’s for those who toe Democratic party line I don’t understand those who vote so far in advance of Election Day. The possibilities are real that last-minute information may become available that could affect your decision, yet you have cast your vote and have no recourse. Voting is a privilege, so why not give yourself a few...
More Stories