Wednesday, January 16, 2019

One Mustn't Say Such Things In Polite Company.

DC Examiner Deputy Editor Jay Caruso and investigative journalist Matt Taibbi agree:

It's difficult for Taibbi, Caruso, and other journalistic heavyweights who have a career to protect and live inside the Beltway. on the West Coast, or the West Side of Manhattan to break cultural taboos. However, Lindsey Graham must be quite sensitive to his constituents in South Carolina, which may be even further culturally than geographically from these areas.

Stephanie Ruhle has the courage to say, and Taibbi and Caruso do not, and have little interest in investigating. Donald Trump probably has something on Lindsey Graham, which may be the latter's sexuality or something entirely different.

Mr. Trump boasted periodically during the campaign of being politically incorrect, as when he said on Face The Nation "I'll tell you what's wrong with political correctness. It takes too long. We don't have enough time. We don't have enough time." and has publicly ridiculed numerous individuals, politicians and otherwise, with insults common only to little boys on the playground.

Having played ball for many years with La Cosa Nostra and the Kremlin, and not being encumbered by the requirements of political correctness or good manners, he would not hesitate to blackmail a United States senator.

Now chairperson of the Judiciary Committee, the South Carolinian is a powerful senator, indeed. He is, however, not nearly as powerful as Mitch McConnell, another individual whose personal life is being ignored by the press at the expense of the national interest. Greg Sargent reminds us

top Obama administration officials privately asked senior congressional leaders in both parties to go public with a united front against Russian interference. But (Senate Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell refused, claiming (in The Post’s words) that “he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.” McConnell also questioned the intelligence demonstrating Russian sabotage.

Cue to the Trump Administration and

The refusal to hold votes on legislation protecting the special counsel. In fairness, Trump has still not moved successfully against Mueller. But McConnell scuttled efforts to protect Mueller even though Trump privately tried to fire him twice. There’s still time for Trump to act, and passing such protections — which the Democratic House would support — would plainly make any such action, and the damage it would cause, less likely.

There’s also a forward-looking dimension here. As the Lawfare podcast notes, if FBI officials opened a separate investigation into whether Trump was obstructing the probe to help Russia, it’s plausible McConnell and other congressional officials were briefed on this. That would make the failure to act to shield Mueller worse. We need to know more about this, too.

On the shutdown front, McConnell continues to refuse votes on bills reopening the government that have already passed the House. McConnell claims there’s no point, because Trump wouldn’t sign them. But this actively shields Trump from having to veto bills funding the government, which would make it much harder for him to keep holding out. Worse, McConnell privately told Trump in December he has no leverage and no endgame here, meaning McConnell knows full well that not forcing Trump’s hand leaves us adrift with no exit in sight.

"We need to know more about this, too," recognizes Sargent, who understands that McConnell's motives are probably not beyond reproach. The media should end its de facto prohibition on consideration of the Majority Leader's possible motives in remaining loyal to a President whose statements and behavior constitute an unprecedented threat to the institutions and security, hence economy, of this country.

It can start by acknowledging that McConnell is married, probably not coincidentally, to Secretary of the Treasury Elaine Chao.

A Democratic member of the other legislative chamber points out
Ascribing motives without evidence is perilous. Fortunately, here there is evidence, which goes unnoticed while Matt Taibbi and some others turn a curiously blind eye to power brokers whose highest priorities appear not to include the national interest.

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