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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

UnAmerican Republicans 

by digby

Republicans in congress are rallying around Trump. They say it's a distraction and they just don't care. History will record their abdication of responsibility and lack of fundamental patriotism.

This piece by Ezra Klein explains more fully why getting rid of Trump would be no easy task. Mueller has limited ability to do anything about him although he could indict and prosecute everyone underneath him if he had the goods. The only real remedy for Trump is impeachment and that would require Paul Ryan to cooperate:
Yes, impeachment could theoretically proceed with mostly Democratic votes and some defecting Republicans. But in practice, both the Nixon and Clinton impeachment processes began with the full House voting to refer the matter to the House Judiciary Committee, and the Judiciary Committee approving articles of impeachment and sending them to the floor. 
You can’t hold those votes unless the majority party schedules them. “Impeachment happens in the House of Representatives, and since the House is run on majority rules, it’s really up the majority party to run the process as it sees fit,” my colleague Andrew Prokop explains.
And, of course, Republicans are the majority party in the House and Senate. In the three previous impeachment scenarios in US history, the president has been faced with a congressional majority of the opposing party. Andrew Johnson, a Democratic/National Union Party president, faced a huge Republican majority in both houses. Richard Nixon faced a Democratic majority in both houses. Bill Clinton faced a Republican majority in both houses. 
Trump, however, has co-partisans in charge of both houses. But surely, you may reply, Trump’s crimes top those of Johnson, Nixon, or Clinton! Maybe (I doubt it in the case of Johnson), but it doesn’t matter what you or I think. It matters what Ryan and McConnell think. And what they really want is a Republican president to sign their priorities, in particular slashing health care spending and other social programs and cutting taxes, into law. 
Impeachment proceedings are long and ugly and almost completely consume Congress’s time and energy. They take up months that Republicans desperately need to pass health care and tax legislation before the 2018 midterms, which could see them lose control of the House. Think about it from Ryan’s perspective. He has, by his own admission, wanted to cut health programs for poor people since he was drinking out of kegs in college. So he can either charge forward with that goal and push for final passage of a Republican health bill — or he can spend months and months impeaching the president and giving a massive political gift to Democrats instead. 
If you take the cause of cutting social programs and taxes as seriously as Ryan does, then why the hell would you ever choose the route of impeachment? He’d be left with very little time to enjoy the relative predictability and lower scandal output of President Mike Pence before the midterms put his House majority in danger. And if the 1974 midterms are any indication, having your party’s president leave under dint of scandal is a great way to lose an enormous number of seats in the House and Senate. After that, Ryan’s dream is dead. 
The much easier path for Ryan and McConnell is to continually minimize Trump’s wrongdoing and decline to investigate seriously, let alone look into removal.
Maybe it doesn’t require impeachment, though. Maybe Trump will voluntarily resign if the situation gets bad enough. I mean, maybe. But is there anything about Trump’s character and temperament that makes such an outcome seem plausible? Nixon refused to resign until his party’s leaders in Congress came to him and told him impeachment was inevitable. Would even that do it for Trump? Why would he give Ryan and McConnell the gift of an easy departure were they to betray him like that?
As political scientist Julia Azari notes, impeachment is not about the law. Not really. There’s no dispassionate prosecutor who weighs the evidence, takes it to a grand jury, gets indictments, and then has a normal trial. It’s a political proceeding. A president survives if fewer than 218 House members and 67 senators want him out; otherwise, he falls. 
For Trump to fall, for a scandal to end his presidency, what’s needed isn’t a new, massive scandal. What’s needed is for Ryan and McConnell to decide that investigating and prosecuting Trump is important, and the right thing to do. I hope they make that a priority. I hope they give Mueller greater statutory powers, including protection from removal, and push through impeachment charges if Mueller deems them warranted. 
But the matter is in Ryan and McConnell’s hands, and no one else’s. As long as they remain on Trump’s side, the president is going nowhere.

My money's on them continuing to back Trump no matter what until it takes them down with him. So far Republican voters love Trump and don't care at all if he was working with the Russian government to beat the witch Clinton. They would have sold the country out to ISIS if they would help them do that.  It's what they live for.

So, I don't see this as being something that leads to"the end." Their own voters don't care. Why should they?