To this very day, our news media doesn’t understand Donald Trump or his power over the GOP. Though the press itself has reported the “why” many times, they don’t seem to consume their own news product. Or, if they do consume it, they don’t believe it. They certainly don’t make it part of the ongoing narrative. To a large degree, the news media’s failure to aggregate the very story they’re reporting is exactly WHY they still don’t understand Trump or Trump’s hold on the Republican Party. Our news media insists it’s a cultural thing. Congressional Republicans don’t like Trump, they just like his policies. That’s true. But it’s not why they won’t quit Trump. Thing is, they can’t because Trump’s power over the GOP isn’t cultural, it’s criminal.
Secrets & Lies
Trump’s secrets are their secrets and their secrets are Trump’s secrets. The problem with having secrets is that they’re a bitch to keep. But, when people agree to keep secrets – especially when they know those secrets are dangerous – they’re conspiring to commit a crime! We can point to a day – June 25, 2016 – when the Republican Party officially decided to keep secrets for Trump.
Putin Pays Trump
Current GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy exited a meeting about Russia’s attempts to destroy Ukraine’s fledgling democracy and entered a GOP leadership meeting. The first thing McCarthy said upon entering his second meeting was “There’s two people I think Putin pays – Rohrbacher and Trump – swear to God!”
Now, let’s stop the video right there. Everyone in the GOP (including stupidest man in Congress Louie Gohmert) knew that California Republican representative Dana Rohrbacher sat snugly in Vlad Putin’s pocket. That’s bad. But, Rohrbacher’s just one Representative among many. Numbers will mitigate his impact (though we need to investigate further).
The POTUS is a little different. Saying you think your about-to-be nominee to be president has been compromised by a hostile foreign power with strong intelligence capabilities? That demands further investigation. Lots of it.
At the very least, it demands you call the FBI and report it. Trump’s power over the GOP is criminal.
How Conspiracies Start
No such thing happened at the meeting. McCarthy’s accusation – that their about-to-be-nominee posed a grave national security threat even as a candidate – caused a ripple of nervous laughter. That’s why McCarthy threw in “Swear to God!” He wanted his fellow GOP leaders to understand: he was deadly serious. Not even remotely kidding.
No one in the room exhibited shock or dismay. The laughter was nervous because no one there wanted to talk about this thing that they all knew. That’s why then Speaker Of The House Paul Ryan (second in line to the presidency!) stepped forward to “lead” them. He ended that conversation on the spot. They weren’t going to talk about it anymore, he told them. They were going to keep this terrible information A SECRET from everyone else.
“That’s how we know we’re family,” is how Speaker Ryan put the topic to bed.
Russia, If You’re Listening…!
The GOP knew a terrible secret about Trump. They refused to reveal it, preferring to keep that dangerous secret a secret. A month later, in July, the Republicans formally made Trump their nominee – knowing all the while that it was dangerous. On July 25, 2016 – a day AFTER becoming the GOP’s nominee, Trump got up at a news conference and bleated “Russia, if you’re listening…!”
The GOP’s leadership KNEW Russia was listening. Repeat: Trump’s power over the GOP is criminal.
The Mueller Report did not – per Bill Barr’s criminal mischaracterization of it (not criminal all by itself but criminal as part of a larger behavior and fact pattern) – exonerate Trump of anything. In fact, Team Mueller concluded that they couldn’t say for sure if Trump colluded with Wikileaks (the only thing Team Mueller was tasked with investigating) because Team Trump obstructed justice so much.
Rod Rosenstein: Traitor
We know also that Rod Rosenstein – Trump’s acting Attorney General – halted the counter intelligence investigations into Trump’s relationship with Russia that were begun while Obama was still POTUS. Rosenstein told Team Mueller to stop investigating because the FBI was on it. He told the FBI to stand down because Team Mueller was on it. Why would Rosenstein do that? Because there was no “there” there? Or because there was so much “there” there?
The Republican Party has never been forthcoming about Trump’s relationship with Russia or their own. There’s a reason for that. And the decision by GOP leaders to ignore “Putin pays Trump – swear to God!” shouts volumes. They weren’t ignoring anything. They were conspiring to commit treason.
A Massive Iceberg
Those are the stakes. The Republican Party became so desperate to maintain their hold on political power that they conspired with Russia in order to do it. Consider how many Republicans point to Putin as a “great leader”.
Russia and Putin remain a massive iceberg lurking beneath the surface of our information. It’s taken nearly forever to get our news media onboard with the idea that we could indict a former POTUS. They’ve mithered about it endlessly – worrying themselves sick about how Republicans would react to being held accountable.
But, when you normalize criminal behavior, you begin to accept that no one can ever be held accountable for anything. Nothing, really, is criminal anymore. No good can come of thinking that way.
Bring The Prosecutions!
Merrick Garland absolutely will indict Donald Trump for stealing our secrets and – count on this – he’ll indict Trump for selling them. We have zero choice if we want to remain a sovereign nation. Will Trump ever land in prison? My personal suspicion is this will take a while and Trump will succumb to one of a kajillion physical ailments before that.
He’s not exactly a specimen of vim and vigor.
Once that first indictment drops, America will quickly acclimate to the idea that a former POTUS – Trump in particular – can be indicted and should be. Already, people close to Trump have turned on him. Self preservation’s a powerful thing. And, really, who wants to eat prison dinner every night for the rest of their life when ratting out Trump might spare them who knows how much prison dinner succotash?
Trump has had profound cultural sway over the GOP. Like a virus, he converted the Republican party into himself. Trump’s grip has vast cultural aspects to it. But, at its core, Trump’s grip on the Republicans is almost entirely criminal.
The only way out of this mess? We’re going to have to prosecute our way out. We can only imagine how far behind the curve the news media is on that topic.