That didn’t take very long.
Our I-Can-Do-No-Wrong president blamed Michael Cohen’s open testimony on Feb. 27 for his failure to cut a deal with North Korean mass murderer Kim Jong-un.
President Trump tweeted on March 3:
“For the Democrats to interview in open hearings a convicted liar & fraudster, at the same time as the very important Nuclear Summit with North Korea, is perhaps a new low in American politics and may have contributed to the “walk.” Never done when a president is overseas. Shame!”
The shame charge is misdirected. Though Trump was told by US intelligence and key advisers prior to the summit that Kim had no intention of denuclearization, he carried out the Hanoi Hustle any way.
And now the next shoe is ready to drop. Following Cohen’s testimony, the world awaits the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report.
It may land with a thud.
The spectacle of Republican Congressmen doing nothing but trashing Cohen last week does not bode well for the release of Mueller’s probe.
The Financial Times editorial of March 1 nailed it:
“How depressing, all the same, that Congressional Republicans did not do much more than impugn Mr. Cohen. None mustered a substantive rebuttal of the allegations themselves, except that of racism.
“Not for the first time, the party finds itself in craven homage to a leader it does not even pretend is sound of character or judgment. And all because he is under attack from the political enemy. Tribalism does remarkable things to people,” editorialized the FT.
Trump got the goods (massive tax cut, deregulation and appointment of a pair of conservative Supreme Court justices) for Republicans.
And the biggest prize of all: he defeated Hillary Clinton, who is viewed as the anti-Christ in conservative quarters.
In return, Trump gets a free pass from the GOP for any transgression.
Back to the FT and the Mueller report:
"Tribal fealty or cold calculation: whatever the ultimate cause of their slavishness, it augurs badly for Mr. Mueller’s final report. Almost regardless of his findings, Republicans seem primed to defend their man.
“The kind of intellectual honesty that characterized the Watergate scandal, when many Republicans, moved by the facts, turned against Richard Nixon, looks fanciful now.
“Through no fault of the special counsel, his work will be interpreted through a partisan lens. Americans should fear for a civic culture in which even basic questions of justice are so politicized.”
It looks like the ball may be in the court of New York Congressman Jerry Nadler, chair of the Judiciary Committee, who today kicked off a broad investigation in obstruction of justice, corruption and abuse of power by Trump and his administration.