This is purely anecdotal and largely based upon my Twitter timeline, which used to consist largely of liberal folk pushing back against the ridiculous defenses that conservatives offered for Trump. But now? There’s not a lot of pushing back anymore, because I’m really not seeing that many people come to the defense of Donald Trump anymore. I mean, yes: The usual array of folks — Rudy Giuliani, Kellyanne Conway, Bill Mitchell — but it’s been quiet, and even when Republicans do offer defenses, they feel half-hearted and dispassionate. Trump, meanwhile, digs himself in deeper every day, and one has the feeling that Republicans — having been handily defeated in the midterms, and with no new strategy in place for 2020 besides blindly following Trump’s lead — are feeling dispirited.
I mean: Look at the news cycle. The Republicans haven’t had anything to celebrate since the midterms, save for a couple of elections that they won in Florida and Georgia that both came at a further cost to their already eroding reputation. There’s no longer a White House agenda besides building a wall, which few people want, and which has only served to increase the popularity of the once toxic Nancy Pelosi.
I’m sure there are plenty of assholes remaining, but it doesn’t feel like people are paying them as much attention. The Mueller probe is dominating headlines, and nothing about it has given Trump anything other than grief. For instance, Michael Cohen gave an interview to ABC this morning, and the gist of it was this: “I broke the law. I knew I broke the law. I knew it was wrong. “Of course” Trump also knew it was wrong.”
The Fox & Friends “defense”? It’s not that Trump didn’t break the law; it’s that Michael Cohen shouldn’t have ratted him out. That Cohen is “disloyal,” and that who knows how much more evidence he has that can be used against Trump, and that’s not fair! Because Michael Cohen is supposed to protect his client, not get him in more trouble!
That’s it? Meanwhile, Rudy’s defense is, it was a “process” crime. Sure he broke the law, but it was NBD! “Nobody got killed, nobody got robbed … This was not a big crime.” It’s campaign finance. Who cares?! It’s not like when Clinton lied about what the definition of “is” is. This is nothing. So what? So, he paid $300,000 to a porn star and a Playboy Playmate to affect the outcome of an election. Big deal!
I love how Rudy Giuliani is trying to make it seem like secretly paying nearly 300K in hush money to two women a few weeks before a presidential election is some kind of technical violation of campaign finance law that no one could understand— Judd Legum (@JuddLegum) December 14, 2018
Meanwhile, Kellyanne Conway has been making fewer appearance on TV, and when she does, she gets called out, she flubs her way through an interview, and then afterward, her husband undermines her, as was the case last night when Chris Cuomo grilled her for the entire show.
Conway subtly tries to distance herself from the hush money scandal: "I became campaign manager for the winning part of the campaign and never was involved in anything of this sort, nothing, zero… President Trump has said he never directed anybody to do that." pic.twitter.com/lYclAMOsSL— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 14, 2018
This tweet was posted 9 minutes after the interview aired.
Given that Trump has repeatedly lied about the Daniels and McDougal payments—and given that he lies about virtually everything else, to the point that his own former personal lawyer described him as a “f****ing liar”—why should we take his word over that of federal prosecutors?— George Conway (@gtconway3d) December 14, 2018
In fact, George Conway — along with Trevor Potter and Neal Katya — wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post this morning, calling Trump’s various defenses to this crime “weak.”
The former is a very weak legal argument, and the latter a dangerous one. Indeed, the campaign finance violations here are among the most important ever in the history of this nation — given the razor-thin win by Trump and the timing of the crimes, they very well may have swung a presidential election.
The GOP is falling apart, and those that remain seem to be holding back, and trying to determine which way the wind will invariably blow before they weigh in. Meanwhile, Trump is still trying to land a Chief of Staff, and reports now suggest that John Kelly may stick around for a few more days so that Trump can find his replacement. The latest candidate, as I predicted a few days ago, is Chris Christie. Only there’s one problem: Jared and Ivanka.
The biggest obstacle: Christie as US Attorney had the temerity to enforce the law against Kushner’s dad for illegal campaign contributions and witness tampering (hiring a prostitute to trap his brother-in-law in a compromising position to stop him from cooperating w Feds.) https://t.co/bCs0Wps9uC— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) December 14, 2018
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