After nearly six months of President Donald Trump’s term in office, Republican politicians have finally come up with their first remotely reasonable defense of the Trump-Russia controversies.
The latest take on the Trump-Russia scandal comes from Republican Senator Lindsey Graham – he suggested during a nationally televised interview this week that Trump couldn’t have conspired with the Russians because Trump isn’t competent enough to pull off something like that.
Graham was seen on CBS’s Face the Nation basically saying that since Trump can’t operate his own government, it’s unlikely that he could carry out an international political coup: “He doesn’t believe he did anything wrong with the Russians and I tend to believe him. He can’t collude with his own government. Why do you think he is colluding with the Russians?”
What do you think – is Senator Graham’s explanation realistic?
Senator Graham has been one of a handful of Republicans in the U.S. Senate who never fully cozied up to Trump. The simple fact that a leading Republican Senator was willing to openly question the competence of his own party’s president is extremely telling.
In reality, the evidence strongly suggests that Trump – or at least several operatives in his inner circle – were inappropriately coordinating with the Russians during the presidential election in a deliberate attempt to sink Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton’s candidacy. However, Graham’s statement and Trump’s own actions really make you wonder whether someone so dumb could pull off such a big operation and manage to win.
This is just the latest example of what the media and political observers are calling “backhanded defenses,” in which they brush off Trump’s alleged crimes by suggesting Trump doesn’t have the brains to pull it off.
The line was reminiscent of other backhanded defenses Republicans have offered for Trump’s personal interference with investigations into contact between his team and Russian officials. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), for example, defended Trump from obstruction-of-justice claims by saying he’s simply “new at government” and didn’t know any better. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) gave a less pithy but thematically similar quote about the need for staffers to bring Trump up to speed on the ethical lines governing his job.
Meanwhile, Trump himself previously criticized Democrats for appearing to have influenced then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch during investigations of Hillary Clinton’s email servers — a criticism predicated on the same ethical restrictions that Republican allies are now suggesting Trump doesn’t know about.
Once again, this confirms what we already knew – the Republicans are a bunch of lying crooks!