House Ethics Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz has taken quite a beating over refusing to investigate the links between Trump and Russia. He’s taken even more of a beating over refusing to investigate Michael Flynn’s clear violation of the law in discussing sanctions with Russia, and undercutting the previous administration. Not to mention lying about it to the Vice President. And yet Republicans were already saying that we should be moving on from the firing of the National Security Advisor on the very same news day the firing was announced.
But the pièce de résistance may be Chaffetz’s request to the Justice Department to investigate the leaks of the Flynn debacle rather than what actually happened with Flynn. Now, it’s hardly news that Trump announced the firing of his National Security Advisor and only hours later was blaming the “fake media” for the whole affair. Because…you usually fire people that haven’t done anything wrong. But this just shows the GOP machinery is all in on retaining power even at the expense of fairly obvious ethics violations.
I don’t suppose it’s really a surprise that the GOP puts party over country. But like much of the new reality under Trump, all nuance just goes out the window. This is the party that refuses to investigate their President after the most prestigious paper in the country says that high level Trump campaign staffers had regular contact with Russian Intelligence during the campaign. This is the party that just shrugged when a senior White House Advisor standing in the White House Press Room blatantly endorsed the first daughter’s products.
But even before then, the GOP has spent the last 6 years suppressing minority turnout to win elections. This party invoked a constitutional crisis by refusing to give a hearing to a Supreme Court Nominee with almost a full year left on Obama’s term. And perhaps worse openly talked about NEVER seating Hillary Clinton’s nominee to prevent the balance of power from changing on the court.
Now, some people think: this talk about constitutional crises is overblown. The machinery of Washington still mostly works. My day to day life hasn’t changed. But that’s a false narrative, and mainly because Democrats have been fairly reasonable about all these power grabs, preferring to work through official channels and courts to address these problems. Can you imagine is Democrats held up a Supreme Court seat like that? Or refused to seat any nominee for an entire term? Can you imagine if Hillary was elected with the open knowledge that Russia helped her? Can you imagine if Democrats were making it hard for elderly white voters to vote? It would be Armageddon, and not the cool kind with Bruce Willis.
But let’s not stop there, because we aren’t out of the woods yet with the liberals among us. Just because the democratic establishment has taken it laying down doesn’t mean the increasing mobilized left will. What happens the first time Gorsuch gives a swing vote to do something anathema to liberals? Will they respect it or called it invalid? And what if Trump gives them opening to do so by showing contempt for the court and/or refusing to obey an order (not a far fetched idea)?
Those things may or may not come to pass, and our country may survive either way, but it will be weakened, both internally and internationally. And you can point directly to one place if it does. The republican power grab.