Is it OK for the president of the United States to ask a foreign government to investigate a political opponent?
It seems like a fairly simple question, right?
I mean, it is for me: No, it is not OK for a president to do that. It is not OK for any American to fabricate an investigation for the simple purpose of winning an election, because you know your ideas and messages aren’t good enough.
And it is never OK for any American in any office to request a foreign government investigate another American citizen.
If there is a belief that an American broke laws abroad, then the proper course of action is to take that matter to American law enforcement agencies and have them initiate contact, if necessary, with a foreign government for assistance.
Republicans know this. They know that they would be sleeping in tents in the Fox News green room right in order to get on TV and scream if President Obama had done such. Hell, they spent months complaining that the Obama Department of Justice investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election, and that those investigations ended up investigating the Trump campaign.
Because, as we all now know, the Trump campaign had more than 200 contacts with Russian government officials during that campaign, and seven of Trump’s campaign staff have been indicted as a result.
Our intelligence and law enforcement agencies have concluded that Russia interfered in that election, and that it was successful in that interference — a fact which should also bug the hell out of every American.
So you would think that given that recent history, and all of the issues surrounding that bit of foreign interference, the one thing that every American citizen could agree on is that we want to keep foreign governments out of our elections.
But you sure can’t get many elected Republicans to say so. And you can’t get a single one from Alabama.
In fact, the guys from Alabama are busy issuing press releases and doing TV interviews telling the people of Alabama that the whole impeachment investigation initiated by the House of Representatives is a farce.
Every Republican who’s running for U.S. Senate in this state agrees on that. And every male Republican House member thinks so, including that walking black hole of intelligent thought, Mo Brooks — the guy who wanted to impeach Hillary Clinton BEFORE she was elected.
Not one of them even wants to see what the investigation turns up before making that determination. Despite the fact that the president and the president’s attorney have admitted — in TV interviews, no less — to doing exactly what they are accused of doing.
I get asked all the time — by Republicans and Democrats alike — to explain why it is that Alabama is such a hotbed of political corruption.
This. This is how.
Because even when the corruption is right in front of us, even when the people have long been corrupt, even when there is a mountain of evidence telling us that these people are crooked, lying thieves who we wouldn’t trust to watch our dogs, we allow political ideology to override common sense. And we believe in the political team over the evidence.
That’s why, the day after Mike Hubbard was indicted on 23 — TWENTY-THREE! — felony counts, elected Republicans drove from all over the state to stand on a stage with him and declare he was innocent. Even though most of them knew full well that the dude wasn’t innocent.
They knew that guy had shady consulting contracts and had carved out a narrow exception in the budget to benefit one of his clients. They knew it.
Didn’t matter. Mike Hubbard was on their team.
So those Republicans, like many GOP voters, rallied around their guy. They even re-elected him speaker. And not a one of them suffered a political consequence until well after he was convicted.
The same thing is happening with this president.
It doesn’t matter the validity of what he’s done. Because he’s admitted to it and done most of it right out in the open. It doesn’t matter that he is and has been a truly awful human since well before he took office.
It doesn’t matter that he bilked a children’s cancer charity. Or that he paid hush money to a porn star. Or that he ran a fake university that robbed working people. Or that he’s been accused of sexual assault by 16 different women. Or that half of his campaign staff has been indicted or convicted. Or that he mocked a disabled reporter. Or that he’s locked children in cages and denied cancer patients treatment. Or that he turned his back on our allies in Syria, leaving them dead at the hands of another of his dictator pals. Or that he has profited tremendously off of his presidency. Or that he’s spent more time playing golf in three years than Obama did in eight. Or that he cusses like a sailor at presidential events. Or that he’s killed manufacturing and the family farm with his idiotic and ineffective tariffs.
It doesn’t matter, because Trump has an R on his jersey. Which means the majority of Alabama voters will back him until he goes to prison — and some will do so even after that.
When there is no punishment for the crook, the crook keeps stealing. And then other crooks show up, too.
And that is how corruption grows and spreads and prospers.