“There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!” That’s what current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy said as he entered a roomful of GOP leaders on June 25, 2016 in Washington, DC, a month before the Republican Party nominated Donald Trump to be their nominee for POTUS. This conversation was recorded and the recording played for Washington Post reporter Adam Entous. It happened in other words. It is a stone cold fact and it represents something indisputable: the Republican Party knew before they nominated Trump that he was an extreme national security risk. Just about everything terrible that’s happened to America ever since flows directly from that moment of betrayal.
Just before asserting this, McCarthy had left a meeting with then Ukrainian Prime Minister Vladimir Groysman, who had described a Kremlin tactic of financing populist politicians to undercut Eastern European democratic institutions. Something about that conversation put it in McCarthy’s head that the man they were now all in bed with was corrupt and owned not just by the head of a foreign government, but by the head of a foreign government that we know is bent on destroying us. Keep this context in mind as McCarthy says to his political fellow travelers that this same hostile foreign government literally OWNS their presidential nominee.
Did anyone in the room react with shock? Did anyone demand that McCarthy produce receipts? Did anyone insist that if what Kevin was saying was true, they owed it to the country and to their oaths of office to call the FBI?
Of course not.
Then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan (third in line to power) cut off any discussion. “Ryan instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”
Let’s reiterate what Paul Ryan and the rest of the Republican leadership were agreeing to keep secret – because they were a real family: the fact that their candidate was a traitor. The moment they all agreed to keep that secret a secret? They all became traitors, too.
That’s not hyperbole.
Their actions from that moment forward were the actions of guilty men. They kept their secret a secret. They did everything in their power to interfere with any sort of investigation into not just this incident but every instance of Donald Trump’s odd relationship with Putin.
Since then, to my knowledge, few other reporters have asked GOP Leader about this remarkable assertion of his. The one time a reporter did, McCarthy spit back the usual GOP response: “I was joking”.
Yeah… except McCarthy wasn’t joking. The reason he got nervous laughter in the room isn’t because McCarthy’s delivery of the set up was so scintillating. It’s because everyone in the room knew that what McCarthy had just asserted was not only possible but likely the absolute truth. That’s why everyone there went along with Speaker Ryan’s insistence that they they behave like a family – a mafia family.
One can connect dots from that moment all the way through the election to moments like “Moscow, if you’re listening!” (they were!) to Paul Manafort handing over all that proprietary polling data that came back as propagandized Facebook ads that tried to convince Black Democratic voters to stay home because Hillary was a racist on the down low. One can see Russia’s hand in the way Trump turned on NATO and slavishly stroked Putin every day of his presidency. The dots connect to the Mueller Report – its focus narrowed to a single tranche (Trump’s relationship with Wikileaks) where even there, Mueller couldn’t say for certain how criminal Trump had been with Russia because of the unceasing obstructive behaviors.
Our slow-witted news media still scratches its head when it ponders the nature of Trump’s hold on the Republican Party. Well, if you can’t see Trump for the traitor he is, seeing the rest of the GOP for the co-conspirators to commit treason that they are is beyond you. Hey, I’m old enough to remember when people like me blogging or tweeting about Trump’s relationship with Russia, his authoritarian bent or the Nazification of the GOP, I got eye rolls. I should have gotten a few “Amen, Brother’s!”‘.
Today was a good day on this front. A lot of us wanted an indication from the DoJ where it was in all this – was it even going to do anything? The answer seems to be yes. Putting down a sedition card – charging the leader of the Oath Keepers and nine others with “seditious conspiracy” – that answered the question. A bit. Sedition is a lot more serios than the “breaking and entering” most of the lower level foot soldiers have been nailed with. Sedition is serious. You have to think a moderate, details guy like Merrick Garland wouldn’t have charged a player like Stewart Rhodes with something as serious as sedition if he didn’t think he could bring it in for a landing.
It’s the “conspiracy” part though that’s most intriguing. One doesn’t have to be a plotter to be swept up in a conspiracy. One doesn’t even have to know anything about it. A suspicion or a reasonable awareness can turn you from a disinterested party into a participant. You can’t just walk away. You are obligated to do something. It’s called “citizenship”.
I used to think it was a matter of time before one of my posts screaming about this missing piece of inquiry got some reporter somewhere to ask Kevin McCarthy what he meant by “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rorhbacher and Trump – swear to God!”. Now I think it’s a matter of not holding my breath.
You’d think the opportunity to make a scumbag like Kevin McCarthy squirm would appeal to all those journalists eager to make a name for themselves. But, maybe they’re afraid that if they tell the truth about Kevin, he won’t talk to them anymore. And so the next round of cover up begins.