The more Donald Trump talks, the more difficult it is to believe that his administration will survive for four years. However, the solution to the problem requires bipartisan work. If it becomes a partisan fight, Trump will remain in office until Democrats take control of Congress or the 2020 election. Democrats should be looking for Republicans seeking truth and justice. Republicans need to find Democrats who want answers, not foregone conclusions.
Yesterday, Trump contradicted every explanation that his staff gave for firing FBI Director James Comey. His press office and leading Republicans spent Wednesday insisting that Comey’s firing came at the insistence of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein because the FBI man mishandled the Clinton email investigation. Trump debunked that line of reasoning and said the decision was all his, telling NBC’s Lester Holt, “…When I decided to just do it I said to myself, I said, “You know, this Russia thing with Trump and Russia is a made up story.” In other words, the firing was all about Russia and might be obstruction of justice since there is an ongoing investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.
Trump also said that he had asked Comey three separate times whether he was under investigation. That, in itself, is meddling in an investigation. Remember the uproar over Bill Clinton meeting with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch? They got blasted when both sides say they didn’t discuss the investigation into Hillary’s emails. Trump admitted asking Comey directly about a possible investigation.
The New York Times reported that Trump had asked Comey for his “loyalty” at dinner back in January. Since the FBI owes its loyalty to the United States and not any one individual, Comey demurred and, instead, pledged his honesty.
This morning, Trump began the day by threatening Comey if he “leaked.” And he did it on twitter. Trump implied that he recorded his conversations with the former FBI director and would release those tapes. If it’s true, that’s behavior that’s been prohibited since Nixon.
Republican political consultant John Weaver says the GOP needs a Howard Baker, the Republican Senator who held Nixon accountable. The conservative journal, The Weekly Standard, is calling for Republicans to “lead, even if it’s politically risky, rather than circle the wagons.” Jennifer Rubin, the Washington Post’s conservative blogger, is calling out Jeff Session and Trump for possible obstruction of justice.
These voices from the right will have a bigger impact on resolving the Trump dilemma than progressives who want a partisan fight. If Trump is to be held accountable, it’s going to take Republicans to do it. They control both Houses of Congress and the executive branch. They can thwart investigations or they can protect democracy and our government.
Democrats and progressives need to put country before party, too. They need to applaud Republicans for standing up to their partisan base and, sometimes, their own leadership. Instead of cheering for impeachment, they should be urging truth. Without leaders from both parties, we can drag this drama out for years and that’s bad for the country.