Three Front War
January 6, 2018
. Like frustrated monkeys in a cage, Congressional Republicans are flinging their excrement in every direction (h/t Mike Schmidt) feverishly working to discredit and destabilize the Mueller investigation, the FBI and the DOJ, as more and more evidence emerges, both that collusion with the Russian to interfere in our elections went to the highest levels of the Trump campaign AND that Trump’s efforts to obstruct that investigation were relentless and widespread.
. Although Devin Nunes and other Republicans charged with investigating Russian interference have repeatedly sought to discredit the Steele Dossier, in the mistaken belief that it was the genesis of the FBI investigation of Russian collusion with Trump, intrepid reporting by The New York Times made clear that George Papadopoulos’s drunken boasting to an Australian diplomat in July 2016 was the actual, initial source of the FBI’s information.
. Despite this inconvenient fact, Congressional Republicans have doubled down on their attacks on Fusion GPS, the company that hired Christopher Steele, subpoenaing their bank records. In a scathing Op-Ed in The New York Times, the heads of Fusion methodically debunked every element of the Republicans’ disinformation campaign about the contents of the Steele Dossier and Fusion’s research more broadly. They stated plainly that they testified for a total of 21 hour, in front of three separate Congressional committees, that their research had uncovered significant evidence that the Trump organization had a long history of dealing with “a wide array of dubious Russians in arrangements that often raised questions of money laundering,” (Source: “The Republicans’ Fake Investigations,” by Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch, The New York Times, 1/2/18).
. The Fusion GPS heads urged Congress to publicly release their testimony, to allow Americans to judge the veracity of the evidence against the Trump campaign for ourselves. Instead, Senate Republicans, Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham, responded by referring Christopher Steele, a former British Intelligence Officer, for criminal prosecution for lying to federal investigators (Source: “Republican Senators Raise Possible Charges Against Author of the Steele Dossier,” by Nicholas Fandos and Matthew Rosenberg, The New York Times, 1/5/18). This ridiculous misdirection is a cynical ploy to prevent Steele from traveling to the United States and testifying publicly about what he knows.
. Meanwhile, a weakened and compromised FBI and DOJ are under assault by Republicans for the chain of events unleashed by the only honorable thing that Jefferson Beauregard Sessions has ever done, recusing himself from the Russia investigation. In response, the chastened serial perjurer and committed racist announced a new DOJ probe into The Clinton Foundation. These concerted attacks on every source of damaging information on Trump are, at best, an attempt to game the refs (the American public) into disbelieving the inevitable cascade of damning evidence of treason and criminality to come. At worst, they are the frightening hallmarks of an increasingly authoritarian state — investigation of opponents, intimidation of law enforcement and harassment of dissenting voices. In light of Speaker Paul Ryan’s decision to back Devin Nunes over the FBI and force it to turn over sensitive investigative material, it is clear that Republican rot goes to the very top.
. If we as a country, hope to escape the fate of Russia and Turkey, it will take more than a wave of Democratic victories in November 2018. We must be clear eyed about the enormous amount of work that it will require to re-establish the Rule of Law, restore an ethos of integrity and public service in government and undo the catastrophic damage that has been wrought at home and abroad. From the reversal of regulations designed to protect the environment and consumers, to the withdrawal of support for voluntary efforts by law enforcement to make their practices more equitable, to the DOJ’s reversion to an archaic and truly harmful approach to marijuana criminalization, this administration has been demonically dedicated to policies that immiserate ordinary Americans.
. We underestimate the extent of damage at our peril. If we are to save this republic, we will need to spend this year on a three front war. — pushing back against the cruel policies and abuses of power of the Republicans; mobilizing to ensure. that Democrats take the House and the Senate in 2018 and researching and writing legislation to be ready on Day 1 of the 116th Congress to repair the damage and ensure that our country is never so threatened again.