On late Monday evening, another huge bombshell exploded in Donald Trump's face with the revelation that he personally dictated the false statement that attempted to cover up Donald Trump Jr.'s Russian collusion meeting. On Tuesday morning, Republicans like Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) continued to give Trump cover by trying to ignore this monumental brick in an ever-growing wall of obstruction.
In his desperation to cover for Trump, Johnson blurted out a pair of baseless conspiracy theories, one of which is a blatant smear of former DNC Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL).
Host Chris Cuomo asked Johnson to comment on the Trump revelation, and while Johnson initially insisted he could not comment about an issue that he's not investigating in committee, he was more than willing to comment on utter garbage:
CUOMO: “What do you make of this Washington Post report, in light of the fact that the president's attorney, Jay Sekulow, said right on this show, he had no role in drafting that statement. Now, The Washington Post said he dictated it?”
JOHNSON: “Good morning, Chris. I think you're aware of the fact I'm not involved in any investigations, that's the Senate Intel Committee as well as Robert Mueller. So I'll leave those capable individuals and committees to get to the final facts of these things. We need to find out what the facts are. Whether we need to take any additional action, but I'm not going to comment until we have the reports.”
CUOMO: “Not concerned by that report?”
JOHNSON: “Chris, there's so much out there being talked about right now. Kim Strassel wrote a pretty interesting article, who funded the Russian dossier on Trump? That's pretty interesting as well. What's happening with Debbie Wasserman Schultz? I don't have any information on that. I think you could do all kinds of reporting. What I'm focusing on is how do we fix the mess that is Obamacare...”
There actually is no evidence that anyone funded the Steele dossier other than those that have already been reported. Johnson is referencing a speculative opinion piece, as well as a roiling right-wing smear of Debbie Wasserman Schultz, in response to a well-sourced (from within the White House) news report that Donald Trump participated in a coverup.
There will come a time when those who refused to speak out against this will pay a price, and it will be even steeper for those who soiled themselves by pushing total crap in Trump's defense.
Democrats, on the other hand, continue to gently request cold drinks as the country sits in a pot of boiling water. “New Day” co-host Alisyn Camerota interviewed Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IA) a few minutes later, and while Durbin made some outraged noises about the revelation, he wasn't quite prepared to state the obvious truth:
CAMEROTA: “Do you think that he's put himself in some sort of legal jeopardy?”
DURBIN: “Well, I won't go that far, but I will tell you I can't believe any worthwhile prosecutor can ignore this. I mean, this is a reality. It was poor judgment on the president's part to inject into this conversation about his son's meeting, facts which frankly had no basis.”
Okay, first of all, if a prosecutor is paying attention to you, then that is the very definition of legal jeopardy. Second of all, the entire basis for the media's soft claim that Trump's statement was “misleading” is the premise that there is any truth at all to the claim that the meeting was even tangentially about “Russian adoption.”
But any prosecutor looking at this case would see that the only hard evidence about that meeting unquestionably shows that the meeting was about colluding with the Russian government, and that the “Russian adoption” claim (itself a misleading reference to Magnitsky Act sanctions) is nothing but a cover story concocted by a group of people who have every reason to lie. And now we know that Trump likely discussed that cover story with Vladimir Putin right before he dictated the cover-up statement.
Finally, Durbin unwisely credits Trump with “poor judgment,” rather than the consciousness of guilt that this clearly demonstrates. Trump has already admitted that he knew about the meeting at the time, and while he says he didn't know about the collusion angle, there is no reason to believe that, and every reason to disbelieve it.
Republicans like Ron Johnson are making fools of themselves, but Democrats who seem to be waiting for a signed and videotaped confession before they start to consider that maybe they should, like, say something about removing Trump from office aren't much better.
Please note: This is a commentary piece. The views and opinions expressed within it are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect the editorial opinion of IJR