Capitol Hill Republicans — Starting With Paul Ryan — Need a Backbone - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Capitol Hill Republicans — Starting With Paul Ryan — Need a Backbone

As always, a presidential tweet raises the obvious question. Tweeted the President:

“It’s very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their President.”

And a bit later came this other presidential tweet.

“So why aren’t the Committees and investigators, and of course our beleaguered A.G., looking into Crooked Hillarys crimes & Russia relations?”

Good points, Mr. President. Very good.

And the President isn’t the only one wondering where the GOP investigators are. Appearing on Fox News Monday, former Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz made the same point, saying:

Republicans need to get a backbone. Every time the Democrats say they need to call up Jared Kushner or Don Jr. — call up Chelsea Clinton, call up the Clintons.

There we have an inspector general who issues a report stating an actual crime. You have Bill Clinton, the former president, taking millions and millions of dollars from countries, that Hillary Clinton is going in and then doing business.

So every time a Democrat says “I gotta talk to Donald Trump Jr.,” then go up and bring Chelsea Clinton in there, because she was involved in the Benghazi situation, she was involved with the (Clinton) Foundation.

Chaffetz added the obvious about some of these “investigators.” “They would never, ever, ever do this to the Clintons.” Exactly.

Let’s be clear. There was no Trump collusion with Russians to steal the election. It didn’t happen. And making every contact with a Russian this-or-that into some sort of grand theft of democracy is ridiculous on its face. Recall that after making a big deal about Jared Kushner or then-Senator Jeff Sessions meeting with the Russian Ambassador, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was asked the same question — had she ever met with the Russian Ambassador? “Not this one” was her reply — only to have someone produce a photo of her taking a meeting with, yes indeed, the current Russian ambassador. Does this mean Pelosi lied? Does this mean she was conspiring to steal the election with Russian help? This is ridiculous.

But that hasn’t stopped Democrats from demanding — and getting — a “special counsel” to investigate the President. After the latter was personally told by then-FBI Director Comey that he wasn’t under investigation. And in true special prosecutor style, mission creep has already taken over the Robert Mueller investigation. What began as an investigation of Trump-Russian “collusion” to steal an election has now mission-creeped into a demand to look at the President’s finances. Headlined Bloomberg:

Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions

The story begins:

The U.S. special counsel investigating possible ties between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia in last year’s election is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe.

FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said.

Got that? We have now gone from investigating whether Trump colluded with the Russians to steal the election to nosing into the sale of apartments to Russians years ago? Votes for condos is the idea? Seriously? This investigation is out of control already.

This news coming on the heels of the realization that Mueller has staffed up with Clinton supporters, including one lawyer tied to the Clinton Foundation itself.

The question here is: Where are the Republicans? Where are the demands to Mueller that if he is to expanding his Russia investigation then it’s past time to bring in the Clintons and investigate the pay-to-play use of the Clinton Foundation, that expensive Bill Clinton speech in Moscow, and the use of the State Department as the ultimate pay-to-play Clinton toy.

Newsflash: Democrats and their media allies are playing hardball. They don’t want a debate on health care or taxes, they want to delegitimize and overthrow a duly elected President of the United States because they still can’t believe they lost the last election. Of all the people to finally come to grips with this reality, there was this from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer:

Schumer: Dems, not Russia, are to blame for loss to Trump

Said Schumer to the Washington Post:

“When you lose to somebody who has 40 percent popularity, you don’t blame other things — Comey, Russia — you blame yourself,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in an interview previewing the new plan. “So what did we do wrong? People didn’t know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump. And still believe that.”

Amazing. Even Chuck Schumer gets it.

But the GOP on Capitol Hill? Here is Speaker Ryan per the Hill newspaper:

Speaker Ryan: Mueller is ‘anything but’ a Dem partisan

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Monday defended special counsel Robert Mueller, who is leading the Justice Department’s investigation into the Russia election interference, saying he’s “anything but” a Democratic partisan.

“I don’t think many people are saying Bob Mueller is a biased partisan. He’s really, sort of, anything but,” Ryan said on the Wisconsin-based radio program “The Jay Weber Show,” which the Washington Examiner highlighted.

If true, how does the Speaker explain this from the Washington Free Beacon:

Mueller Hires Multiple Hillary Clinton Donors for Special Counsel Team

Special counsel Robert Mueller has hired multiple donors who gave to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign to join his team investigating President Donald Trump.

Federal records show that three attorneys who Mueller hired have made political donations, mostly to Democrats, CNN reports. Two of them gave the maximum contribution to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, while another donated to former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Trump’s supporters have begun casting doubt on the impartiality of Mueller and his team. Prominent Trump backer Newt Gingrich tweeted Monday that Mueller was unlikely to be fair.

As if that weren’t bad enough? Recall this from Breitbart:

Swamp Fights Back: Mueller Hires Clinton Foundation Lawyer for Russia Probe

A more controversial pick of Mueller’s was former prosecutor and WilmerHale partner Jeannie Rhee. In 2015, according to Politico, she performed work for the Clinton Foundation, defending it from FOIA requests related to Hillary Clinton’s private email server.

These developments have raised some red flags on the right. For example, Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox News, “This is going to be a witch hunt.”

Over at the Daily Caller there was more from that Speaker Ryan radio interview. The incredible headline: Ryan:

We Weren’t Elected To Defend Trump From Investigations

The story reads in part:

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said Monday that it isn’t congressional Republicans’ role to defend President Trump from the investigations into Russian election interference…

Say what?

Here is Rush Limbaugh’s take on all of this on his Monday show, bold print for emphasis mine:

What Trump is talking about here is: Why aren’t these Republican committees, why aren’t these Republican investigators — why isn’t my attorney general — looking into Hillary Clinton’s crimes? If you’re gonna investigate what-all went on with Russia, how in the world do you leave the Democrats out of it? How do you leave Hillary Clinton out of it? The Republicans run the show! It’s time for the Republicans to start acting like it. Politics is what it is. The Republicans don’t appear to want to play the game.…

We can come up with all the guesses (and we would be right eight out of 10 times) why they’re not investigating Hillary, why they are not investigating the Democrats’ connection with the Russians. By the way, there’s new news out today that the FBI did get hold of some computer equipment from Debbie “Blabbermouth” Schultz’s IT guy that they would not turn over to the FBI. There’s a potential gold mine there to be investigated of Hillary and the Democrats and the Democrat National Committee, and there just doesn’t seem (that we know of, anyway) to be any energy to uncover it.

All of the energy seems to be focused on getting Trump and getting rid of Trump — which I, of course, am not denying that they want to do that. We’ve chronicled it here. But an opportunity is being squandered the likes of which (chuckles) we never thought we were gonna get. We hoped for it, and it probably is not something we could reasonably expect happen again. If it does, it’s only because the Democrats are so hapless.

Speaker Gingrich, as always, gets the deal on the spot. This is a witch-hunt designed to bring down the President. The presence of all those Clinton or Obama lawyers on the Mueller staff and the resulting lack of an investigation into the Clintons is no accident. Period. Who bought what Trump apartment years ago or the existence of a beauty pageant in Moscow in 2013 is utterly unrelated to the as-it-is bogus allegation that somehow Russians gave the election to Trump. But the Clinton Foundation-State Department-Clinton campaign Russia ties? And a blind eye is turned?

All of this and the GOP on Capitol Hill just turns away? With no less than Speaker Ryan saying, as in the words of the Daily Caller, “that it isn’t congressional Republicans’ role to defend President Trump.”

Excuse me? Politics is a team sport. Can anyone seriously say that Democrats didn’t spend eight years defending President Obama and his administration? Or an earlier eight years defending President Clinton? The reason a Democratic congressman makes news in criticizing Nancy Pelosi is that it is a rarity. And most assuredly any attack on her from Republicans would have Democrats jumping to defend her. As outrageous as ex-Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid could be, Democrats defended him to the hilt.

And that statement by Chuck Schumer on Hillary Clinton? It stands out because Democrats defended her relentlessly and not just as presidential candidate. From Benghazi to her e-mails, her tenure as Secretary of State was tenaciously defended by Democrats who made it their job to do so.

President Trump is right. Jason Chaffetz is right. Republicans on Capitol Hill, busily backing away from a seven-year commitment to repeal and replace Obamacare, are yet again showing a lack of backbone not to mention elementary political common sense when it comes to defending the President. The latter, no small point, who is the leader of their party.

Which raises the question: Why should Republicans vote for a GOP House and Senate in the first place if they won’t stand up for the President Republicans voted for — not to mention that they can’t pass the agenda they campaigned on?

Why indeed: 2018 could go down in history as the first time in history a party controlling Congress lost an election because their own party base thought they were better off without them.


Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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