He doesn’t leave

Historian Heather Cox Richardson on the current mess:

Since Richard Nixon, Republican presidents have pushed the envelope of acceptable behavior under the guise of patriotism, and Democrats have permitted their encroaching lawlessness on the grounds of civility, constantly convincing themselves that Republicans have reached a limit beyond which they won’t go. Each time they’ve been proven wrong.

Nixon obstructed justice. Ford pardoned him.

When Ronald Reagan’s administration was exposed for having illegally sold arms to Iran to raise money covertly for the Contra rebels fighting the Nicaraguan government, Reagan acknowledged that the evidence was damning – yet defended the principle behind the scheme. Reagan’s successor, George HW Bush, pardoned the six leading figures of the Iran-Contra affair because, he said, “whether their actions were right or wrong”, they were motivated by “patriotism”. The investigation into their actions was “a criminalization of party differences”.

Seeing a pattern, are we?

[W]hen George W Bush, a Republican, took office, Republicans once again deferred to executive lawlessness. In order to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq, administration officials falsely argued that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. To silence opposition, “Scooter” Libby, chief of staff to Dick Cheney, unmasked a CIA officer. Libby was ultimately convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice; no one else was held criminally responsible for the disinformation used to justify the Iraq war, which has killed hundreds of thousands of people.

Even before the 2016 election, Republican officials told reporters that they planned to impeach Democrat Hillary Clinton as soon as she was elected for her misuse of an email server or her ties to the Clinton Foundation. McConnell then led Republicans in refusing to join President Obama and Democratic leaders in a bipartisan statement alerting the public that Russian intelligence was attempting to throw the 2016 election to the Republican candidate, Donald Trump. This forced Democrats to accept the tilted playing field to avoid the appearance of partisanship.

Democrats kept largely quiet in the face of such bullying, afraid that Republican rhetoric would alienate voters and hurt their chances in 2016. Then Trump won.

And immediately the lawlessness became a 24/7 thing. The Republicans just smile complacently while Trump steers us over a cliff.

Trump is certainly aware of the power that acquiescent Republicans have afforded him and that as soon as he is out of office, he can be charged with crimes. He recently told reporters he was different from Nixon because Nixon left. “I don’t leave,” Trump said. “Big difference. I don’t leave.”

If only he would.

H/t Omar

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