Just a sample from one of several scathing columns from Jennifer Rubin this morning
See previous post, in which I recommend reading Rubin’s Right Turn columns this morning, including the always excellent “Morning Bits” (the first column of the day, consisting of carefully selected quotations on current political issues). Here’s a section of just one of the columns:
First, in an effort to help the administration run from the headlines that confirm ties between President Trump’s former campaign chairman and Russian officials and that underscore the FBI’s evidence of collusion between Trump aides and Russian officials, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) destroyed the pretense that he was conducting a conscientious investigation in accordance with his constitutional oversight duties. He ran to the White House to disclose what he allegedly found and to the cameras to suggest nefarious behavior by the intelligence community. As the Lawfare blog explained:
Assuming that anything Nunes said was true, it appears to involve material obtained under FISA. Nunes confirmed as much in his White House press conference; when asked if the targets were subjects of surveillance “under FISA orders,” he said, “It appears so.” Silly us, but we thought such material was classified until affirmatively declassified by the original classifying authority. Have [the National Security Agency] and FBI declassified the facts that Nunes publicly described today? Remember that Nunes apparently hasn’t even spoken to [FBI Director James] Comey about this yet.
When asked whether the Justice Department authorized him to make the information public, Nunes said he thought the President “needed to know,” presumably indicating he did not, in fact, have DOJ permission. Considering the focus on leaks of FISA material of Republicans at Monday’s hearings, the question of whether Nunes himself has just improperly discussed classified FISA matters in public is one that deserves at least some attention.
Considering that Nunes and other Republicans spent the lion’s share of Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing condemning leaks and release of classified information, this is the height of hypocrisy.
Second, Nunes reportedly consulted House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) before racing to the White House and the cameras. In failing to prevent the stunt, Ryan confirmed his own poor judgment and intellectual dishonesty. He’s now an enabler in Nunes’s efforts to disrupt the investigation, one that Ryan promised would not require a select committee or independent commission.
Third, the president in an interview with Time magazine demonstrated how divorced from reality he is, how contemptuous he is of anything — including the press, the voters, the Congress, the facts — that impede his assertion of power. His rambling answers, filled with self-congratulation, illogical assertions and lies, reflect the mindset of a seriously troubled mind:
But you would agree also that some of the things you have said haven’t been true. You say that Ted Cruz’s father was with Lee Harvey Oswald.
Well that was in a newspaper. No, no, I like Ted Cruz, he’s a friend of mine. But that was in the newspaper. I wasn’t, I didn’t say that. I was referring to a newspaper. A Ted Cruz article referred to a newspaper story with, had a picture of Ted Cruz, his father, and Lee Harvey Oswald, having breakfast. …
But isn’t there, it strikes me there is still an issue of credibility. If the intelligence community came out and said, we have determined that so and so is the leaker here, but you are saying to me now, that you don’t believe the intelligence community when they say your tweet was wrong.
I’m not saying—no, I’m not blaming. First of all, I put Mike Pompeo in. I put Senator Dan Coats in. These are great people. I think they are great people and they are going to, I have a lot of confidence in them. So hopefully things will straighten out. But I inherited a mess, I inherited a mess in so many ways. I inherited a mess in the Middle East, and a mess with North Korea, I inherited a mess with jobs, despite the statistics, you know, my statistics are even better, but they are not the real statistics because you have millions of people that can’t get a job, OK. And I inherited a mess on trade. I mean we have many, you can go up and down the ladder. But that’s the story. Hey look, in the meantime, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not. You know. Say hello to everybody OK?
This man is frighteningly divorced from reality — happily so from his standpoint — and unable to process facts. Republicans who excused his behavior and rationalized his outbursts are responsible for this sorry episode. The 25th Amendment addresses situations in which the president is unable to perform his duties. We’re getting perilously close to that point.
Fourth, in the last-minute wheeling and dealing on the American Health Care Act, Ryan and Trump have apparently shredded the original bill, removing, for example, the list of minimum benefits for insurance. This bill now does not resemble the bill voted for in committees, nor does it adhere to the president’s pledge to provide everyone with better coverage than they had under Obamacare. We do not know how much this costs and how it will affect coverage. There is no more vivid example of the thirst for victory for victory’s sake, the abandonment of principle and of concern for the public’s well-being. Few, if any, members will know what is in the bill before voting for it, if in fact the bill goes to the floor today.
In total, this is a portrait of a party contemptuous of everything but winning and defending the indefensible. It is no longer a party deserving of respect or support.