Washington (CNN)Amid the ongoing firestorm over a whistleblower complaint regarding President Donald Trump’s interactions with his Ukrainian counterpart — and Trump’s suggestion of alleged corruption centered on former Vice President Joe Biden — you might think a Republican or two in Congress might see fit to offer even the slightest criticism of the President.
And you would be wrong!”It is regrettable that House Intelligence Committee Chairman (Adam) Schiff and Senator (Chuck) Schumer have chosen to politicize the issue,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said from the floor of the Senate on Monday, adding that the “specific subject” of the whistleblower complaint filed to to the intelligence community inspector general remains unknown. (It doesn’t. Trump has made clear that a) he talked to the Ukrainian President and b) mentioned on that call the idea that Biden and his son, Hunter, might be involved in corrupt activity in the country.)Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse, who was once seen as a rare Republican willing to question Trump, had this to say when asked by Vice’s Liz Landers if he had a comment on the Trump/Ukraine news: “You’re welcome to talk to James in my office.” And Texas Sen. John Cornyn had this to say about the whistleblower: “I am a little troubled that apparently some of the initial reports came form somebody that didn’t have firsthand knowledge, and then it sort of took off like a wildfire.”So, yeah. The reason that questions about Trump’s behavior throughout this Ukraine drama won’t be the final straw in the Republican relationship with Trump is because there will never be a final straw in Republicans’ relationship with Trump. When he won the GOP nomination, the vast, vast, vast majority of GOPers simply decided that even though they didn’t support him initially and still had LOTS of questions about how he went about things, Trump was channeling their base and the only way to stay alive politically was to support him without question.Read More
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Which is what they have done. Through the Mueller report and its double-digit instances of obstructive behavior by the President. Through his calls for four non-white Democratic congresswomen to “go back” where they came from. (Three of the four were born in the United States). And now through this.And to be clear, here’s what we know this is — based on what Trump has already said he did: The sitting President of the United States floated the idea that the 2020 Democratic frontrunner was doing something nefarious to a world leader and may have urged said world leader to investigate. (Here’s what Trump said Monday afternoon at the UN General Assembly meetings in New York City: “There was no pressure put on them whatsoever. I put no pressure on them whatsoever. I could have. I think it probably, possibly would have been OK if I did.”)Regardless of whether there was a specific ask for an investigation or some kind of quid pro quo offered by Trump — The Washington Post has reported there was a “promise” made between Trump and the Ukrainian President — this is already the sort of stuff that any Republican should be willing to criticize the President about. After all, even if Trump didn’t offer a quid pro quo, he quite clearly was aware of the power imbalance between the two nations and the fact that Ukraine would be eager to please the US.That’s not to say that every Republican should come out for impeaching Trump today. Far from it. But, it is to say that the unwillingness to criticize behavior that is clearly un-presidential (at best) reeks of the bargain the party made with itself when Trump won: Winning matters more than anything and everything else.The Point: The silence from Republicans is deafening. Again.