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Eugene Robinson: The party of Lincoln has devolved into the party of Trump

Washington • We wish to get ready for the eventuality that the Mueller probe catches President Trump, members of the family and co-workers red-handed — and Republicans in Congress refuse to do anything else about it.

This is starting to appear to be a conceivable and even possible end result. With its cravenness matched simplest via its conceitedness, the GOP is Trump’s party now. It not has any declare to be Lincoln’s.

Witness the cowardly about-face on the matter of Roy Moore’s candidacy for the Senate. The party to start with took a place in keeping with its purported values: credibly accused kid molester, who haunted the native mall in search of dates with teenaged ladies when he used to be in his 30s, is unworthy of the top place of business he seeks.

But then Trump counseled Moore — for the reason that greater than a dozen ladies have accused the president of sexual misconduct, the word “birds of a feather” involves thoughts — and Republicans modified their song. The glide of cash from nationwide party coffers to Moore’s marketing campaign, in brief interrupted, used to be resumed. Moore’s health become an issue that not the GOP’s ethical moral sense, or what used to be left of it; simplest “the people of Alabama” may come to a decision the distinction between proper and improper.

Here is the difference between our two main events in 2017: Democratic leaders are forcing Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., each accused of harassing ladies, to renounce. Republican leaders are seeking to put Moore, accused of harassing youngsters and molesting a 14-year-old, in the Senate.

Given that context, it’s naive to suppose that anything else particular recommend Robert Mueller uncovers will lead Republicans to select theory over political merit. Trump boasted all the way through the marketing campaign that he may shoot any individual on Fifth Avenue and no longer lose strengthen. As some distance as the GOP majorities in Congress are involved, he could also be proper.

Ultimately, that’s what Trump is reckoning on. He has been the usage of his Twitter feed to take a look at to create the influence that Mueller — the straightest of directly arrows, and a lifelong Republican — is in some way biased in opposition to him. Trump’s goal isn’t such a lot to drag the wool over the eyes of his base; relatively, it’s to offer House Republicans an excuse to not get started impeachment court cases if and when the time comes.

I notice it sort of feels untimely to talk of such scenarios. But if there truly used to be no collusion with Russia to tilt the election in Trump’s want, I ponder why one of the president’s legal professionals, Jay Sekulow, is arguing that such collusion would no longer represent a criminal offense. And if there truly used to be no obstruction of justice, I ponder why every other of Trump’s legal professionals, John Dowd, is arguing that the president via distinctive feature of his place of business is incapable of obstructing justice.

Perhaps Trump and his circle of relatives are simply getting dangerous criminal recommendation. I’m questioning who gave Donald Trump Jr. the vivid concept to quote attorney-client privilege in refusing to reply to the House Intelligence Committee’s questions on conversations together with his father — conversations that would possibly endure on each collusion and obstruction.

Neither Trump nor Trump Jr. is an lawyer. Conversations between Trump Jr. and his attorney could be privileged, however no longer conversations Trump Jr. would possibly have had with any individual else whilst his attorney used to be provide. And Congress isn’t forced to honor attorney-client privilege anyway, regardless that it steadily does.

At least Trump Jr. gave a reason why for his stonewalling. Other management officers referred to as to Capitol Hill to testify about Trump’s conceivable obstruction — together with Attorney General Jeff Sessions — have trusted some imaginary privilege no longer to speak about conversations with the president.

The GOP-led committees investigating the Russia affair may subpoena witnesses, compel them to talk and grasp them in contempt if they do not want. I’m no longer protecting my breath.

Those of us who care whether or not the president labored with a overseas energy to persuade the election after which actively impeded an FBI investigation do have recourse, on the other hand. I’ve stated it sooner than, nevertheless it bears repeating: If this Congress refuses to get up for justice and American beliefs, we wish to elect a Congress that can.

The Trump presidency poses a problem past politics or coverage. Wrongheaded trickle-down tax coverage is an issue of mathematics; it may be corrected via transferring numbers round a spreadsheet. But as soon as corruption has turn into established, it takes Herculean effort to root it out; as soon as admire for the rule of regulation is misplaced, it takes generations to revive.

Mueller is doing his process. Ours is to elect Democrats and independents subsequent 12 months who will grasp this appalling presidency to account.

Eugene Robinson

Eugene Robinson’s e-mail cope with is eugenerobinson@washpost.com.

(c) 2017, Washington Post Writers Group

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