Desperately seeking Aaron Sorkin
by Tom Sullivan
Still image from A Few Good Men.
Even Thomas Friedman thinks the Trump cult's fealty to Donald J. Trump is "right out of 'The Twilight Zone.'" Republicans' seemingly inevitable acquittal of Trump in an impeachment trial in the Senate would effectively make him a king. With Attorney General Bill Barr as regent, Friedman doesn't say, but that's where we'd be.
"Oh, how we will miss [America] when it’s gone," writes Friedman, never one to stoop to the maudlin.
If Trump did shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue, Frank Bruni is sure Trump would not only not lose voters, but he wouldn’t lose Bill Barr:
Execution privilege, Barr would probably call it. He’d release a statement or hold a news conference to say that Trump had a spastic trigger finger or was triggered by Adam Schiff or was set up by those dastardly Ukrainians, who are never up to any good. Such is the magnitude of Barr’s servility, the doggedness of his deference. He’s the president’s moral launderer. Trump does evil, and Barr washes him clean.America's B-movie attorney general went straight to video on Tuesday. Barr gave an interview with NBC News’ Pete Williams immediately after his inspector general's report confirmed Democrats were right that the FBI's investigation of Trump was legitimately predicated. Barr claimed just the opposite, "slowly and calmly" brushing off the Trump campaign's soliciting help from Russia and insisting contrary to the report's findings that, yes, the government had spied on Trump in 2016.
As attorney general, he’s supposed to be the nation’s lawyer. But he has bought into the autocratic delusion that Trump equals America, that national interest and presidential prerogative are inextricably intertwined. So he’s Trump’s advocate, come hell or high crimes, as surely as Pat Cipollone or Rudy Giuliani is.
Jeff Flake, a former Republican senator from Arizona and a longtime critic of the president, said Republicans could reasonably say that the evidence presented in the impeachment inquiry doesn’t justify removing Trump from office.Meanwhile, Trump programs followers outside the Beltway for genocide and defenders in the Senate sound like they get briefings from Alex Jones.
“But to argue as House Republicans have done that the president did nothing wrong . . . has long-term implications for the party,” Flake said. “That is what baffles me and pains me deeply, to see people just contort themselves and to do the type of gymnastics it takes to justify this behavior and just the willingness to play for an audience of one.”
Other longtime GOP officials agreed.
“It amazes me,” added Jim Edgar, a former Republican governor of Illinois, noting how Trump uses whatever he can to defend himself, even if it strains or runs contrary to the truth. “You can catch him dead to rights, and he goes out and turns it around, and people believe it.”