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Wed Jun 12, 2019, 02:06 PM

Corruption: the tie that binds Republicans

June 11, 2019

A strange thing has happened over the past month or so: Senate Republicans have begun to stand up to President Trump. Haltingly, tentatively, perhaps, but on things that matter, a bit of spine has been sighted. What matters? Well, they’ve objected to the controversial appointments of Herman Cain and Stephen Moore to seats on the Federal Reserve—so much so, that, when lumped together with an utter lack of qualifications and handful of scandals, both men withdrew their names from consideration. They were primed to stop the confirmation of Ken Cuccinelli—a man who made a career out of attacking GOP senators—as head of Citizenship and Immigration Services (until Trump went and appointed Cuccinelli to an acting role). There’s the vote to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia after the murder of a Washington Post columnist. And they’ve even passed a disaster relief bill that included funding for Puerto Rico but didn’t give a dollar to Trump’s border wall ...

This growing willingness to undercut the president’s policy and personnel decisions has, however, coincided with Republicans growing ever more defensive of Trump himself. As Democrats slowly investigate the myriad number of scandals enveloping his administration, businesses, and personal life, the GOP has doubled down on their dear leader.

This is no accident. Instead, it reflects a dynamic that will continue to define Washington for the foreseeable future. Republicans have become more willing to buck the president’s wishes when they deviate from GOP orthodoxy. But on the issue of corruption, in particular, they will act as a phalanx. That is, to some extent, a result of the coming election cycle, in which their fates are tied. But, it more importantly points to a party increasingly bound together by an embrace of a corrupt and plutocratic approach to governance ...

... Senate Republicans are more notable for where they haven’t broken with the president. McConnell declared “case closed” on the Mueller report, despite the fact that it revealed over a dozen instances of likely obstruction of justice. There have been no efforts to hold the administration accountable for anything relating to Trump’s conduct in office, really. While House Democrats have a number of targets in their sights, the Senate has acted as a bulwark. There have been no efforts to get to the bottom of the disastrous handling of the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, to investigate how foreign dignitaries are using Trump properties to influence policy, or how members of Trump’s family have used the presidency to enrich themselves. (Monday brought yet another entry in what has become an entire sub-genre of scandal coverage when The Guardian reported that a real estate firm owned by Jared Kushner’s family had received nearly $100 million in foreign funding from an offshore vehicle in the Cayman Islands run by Goldman Sachs) ...


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