Simple fact: any analysis of Donald Trump, the Republican Party and anything that’s happened to America between 2016 and today that doesn’t factor in Russia’s direct involvement in MAKING Trump POTUS is 100% masturbatory. Personally, I have better things to do than watch or listen to that. But for Russia, Donald Trump would NEVER have been president. Russia didn’t just “interfere with” or “attempt to interfere with” our election. They flat out INTERFERED with it. The moment any sort of interference whatsoever stepped onto the playing field, the whole game changed as it had to. Foreign countries simply are not allowed to do what Russia did. It is literally AGAINST THE LAW. That we still haven’t prosecuted anyone for this is a testament to the GOP’s terrifying success at normalizing treason.
Make no mistake: everything about Donald Trump’s presidency, how he got there, what the Republicans did every step of the way is steeped in treason. Trump repeatedly did things that were as treasonous at their core as they appeared on the surface. Everything about his relationship with Vlad Putin must be scrutinized. The Republicans knew even before they nominated Trump that Russia OWNED him. They said so out loud. On June 15, 2016 — a month or so before the GOP nominated Trump, current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said as he entered a meeting of GOP leaders: “There’s two people I think Putin pays — Rohrbacher and Trump — swear to God!” No one in the room disputed Kevin. Quite the contrary. Everyone present agreed to do what then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan suggested — that they keep that terrible secret “in the family”.
From that moment forward, while the entire GOP did everything humanly possible to obstruct every single investigation into Trump’s relationship with Russia, Trump and most Republicans deepened their connections to Russia, making Russia’s success here THEIR success and their success Russia’s success. The Republicans know what they did is wrong, illegal and fraught with very real legal jeopardy. They know that a treason conviction carries the possibility of capital punishment. They know for a fact that what THEY did, what they’re still doing, is TREASON. That’s why they’ll do anything to stop the truth from getting out into the sunshine.
The Republican base doesn’t care what happens to American democracy. They’re one goal here is permanent minority rule. To them, Russia is like a white knight coming to rescue them. Literally — a knight who’s main attribute is his whiteness. They are happy to ignore the fact that Russia has been plotting to undermine our democracy forever (though it wasn’t that long ago when Republicans were the loudest anti-Russian voices) because our democracy has been their problem since the country’s founding. Keep in mind — what we call “Republicans” today used to go by other names in the past. The current GOP is NOT the “Party of Lincoln”. This version of Republicans began when Nixon pushed his Southern Strategy and finally got the Southern Democrats to finally come out of the closet as Republicans.
The Right Wing money — the Kochs, the Mercers — saw a generation ago that conservatism was headed for demographic extinction. The more diverse America becomes, the less political power white people will have. To white people, sharing power equals losing power. They’re not interested. They’d rather just seize power altogether and drive the bus cliffward from there. Permanent minority rule may condemn America to a future of mediocrity and decline but Republicans don’t care. So long as their bank accounts are fat, they’re good to go.
The good news is that Merrick Garland’s DoJ (and justice will always creep compared to corruption; it has little choice if it wants to maintain its integrity) is well down the road to prosecuting January 6 perps from both inside and outside Congress. They’ve already flipped lots of insurrectionists. There will be a paradigm shift when the very first sitting Congressperson suddenly has an indictment drop on their head. The very real threat of very real legal jeopardy will, of necessity, change the conversation. Those corrupt, treasonous, Republican Congressmembers will learn as the actual insurrectionists already have: defending yourself against federal charges is really, really expensive. Lose your house expensive. Bankrupt your whole family for a generation expensive.
When that fact thuds home, each and every perp will start looking for a deal. Except there won’t be any more deals.
Suddenly the rats will realize they’re all in it by themselves. The other rats have already flipped and scored all the best deals. Only confession will be left to the stragglers. And the deal will be “you confess. Or else”.
The Republicans don’t fear their base deserting them. They fear their base turning on them. Alas, as Republicans are about to learn, when you build a Frankenstein’s Monster out of spare parts, the parts don’t always do what you expect them to. The parts can have minds of their own. And, though the Republican base won’t care if the politicians repping them do the right thing, they will care deeply when/if the dots connect multiple instances of Republican behavior before and during January 6 to acts of outright treason.
Considering how deeply involved Russia was in every other part of Trump’s White House, does it really pass the smell test that where the January 6 insurrection is concerned, Russia had zero involvement? Considering how much Russia had at stake and the toothlessness of the responses to all its prior actions, it would stretch credulity to imagine Russia had no part in the January 6 Insurrection. Russia was absolutely a player playing.
And Trump and the Republicans were happy to let Trump and Putin play them.