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Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Russia's no biggie, we can all move along

by digby

At least that's what the Republican majority on the Senate Intelligence Committee's chairman seems to be saying. It's all good. Chairman Burr says the White House has been "unbelievably" cooperative and consistent. They are all patriots. Let's move along.

Greg Sargent reports what's really happening:

According to a senior aide to a Democratic senator on the committee, the reason this presser is happening is that Burr had initially moved to issue an interim report on the progress made by the probe.

But Democrats on the committee balked at this, the aide tells me. They worried that releasing a report would be premature and that Burr’s desire to do so might be rooted in political pressure he is feeling to wrap up the probe faster.

So after Democrats objected, a compromise was reached to hold this presser instead.

The reason this is worrisome is that Republicans are turning up the volume on their efforts to scuttle the probes. In a good piece this morning, Politico reports that pro-Trump Republicans are angry with the GOP leadership for allegedly allowing these probes to get out of hand. Some Trump allies are even claiming that this is happening because the GOP leadership allegedly opposes Trump. As one put it: “Of course, the Republican leadership is behind these probes. The Republicans cannot get over the fact that Trump won and is our president.”

Remarkably, these Trump-allied Republicans are explicitly asserting that GOP leaders are betraying Trump by failing to squelch ongoing efforts to get to the bottom of a hostile foreign power’s apparent sabotage of our democracy, in addition to the possibility of Trump campaign collusion with it. These probes are also designed to establish whether there was Russian interference, and if so, how it happened.

Yet with Trump himself regularly dismissing the entire Russia story as a hoax, his allies are now openly demanding that GOP leaders work harder to derail the probes and casting any failure to do so as part of a secret GOP plot to destroy Trump’s presidency. For instance, former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon recently suggested that Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan “have allowed” these committees to continue “going after President Trump every day,” as if the proper response of GOP leaders is to close down the probes.

The notion that the GOP establishment is out to get Trump — and the companion claim that there is a meaningful ideological schism between them — is a fiction that has been concocted to explain away whatever goes wrong during the Trump presidency. It has been used to explain the failure of Trump to sign major legislation (never mind that Trump went all in with McConnell and Ryan on every failed Obamacare repeal bill and now is largely in sync with their push for huge tax cuts for the rich).

Now that fiction is being employed to explain why the Russia story keeps producing new revelations that continue to weaken the president. It appears that this may be creating new pressure on GOP leaders and Republicans on the relevant committees to wrap up their probes faster.

Indeed, Politico reports that in Burr’s home state of North Carolina, Republicans say a large segment of the grass roots sees these probes as a threat to Trump and don’t want them to be allowed to run their course. This might help explain why Burr wanted (as the Democrat aide told me above) to issue an interim report, though, to be fair, Burr appears to have taken a serious approach to his probe.

Today we will gain a clearer sense of where the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation is heading next. The committee’s ranking Democrat, Mark Warner (Va.), has said he expects the probe to continue into next year. CNN reports that today’s news conference will shed light on what the investigation has uncovered so far confirming Russian meddling, will “sound the alarm” about Trump’s continued dismissal of that meddling as a hoax and will discuss how we can protect future elections from sabotage.

And so, this probe and the others are pivotal to gaining the truth about what happened in 2016 and to future efforts to protect our democracy. But you can expect Trump allies to amplify their claims that the investigations are nothing but a witch hunt against our poor, unfairly persecuted president and to escalate their calls for GOP leaders to shut them down.

Keep in mind that Benghazi had almost a dozen investigations that went on for years. They stopped at nothing, turned over every rock and spent many millions of dollars on that pseudo-scandal. I won't even mention the Whitewater probe.

This is a GOP cover-up, the party coming together to protect this imbecile they elected in order to deliver for their rabid racist base and their wealthy donors. It was always to be expected. They are without conscience or integrity and have been for quite some time.