The Republican reactions to Trump, ahem, being caught with highly classified nuclear weapons-related documents after asserting to federal agents he didn't have them continues, and as the facts worsen for Trump his pro-attempted-coup Republican allies are sliding towards the obvious endpoint. If a Republican leader commits a crime against the government, well then maybe that thing shouldn't even be a crime at all!
Rand Paul has been homing in on that one. He started out claiming that the FBI might have been planting evidence against Trump.
Then we found out that it wasn't just any documents the government was hunting for, but classified nuclear weapons documents, and that among the potential criminal charges facing Trump was violations of the Espionage Act, so Paul had to revise and extend his hackery. If Donald Trump violated the Espionage Act, and the government has him dead to rights on that, it can only mean the Espionage Act is wrong. "It is long past time to repeal this egregious affront to the 1st Amendment," tweeted Paul.
It's not enough to merely suggest that the FBI is full of crooks who would plant evidence against Dear Leader, as addled Trump supporters throughout the country target FBI offices and individual FBI agents. No, if Donald Trump is caught with classified national security documents being stored in a room at his spy-riddled for-profit golf club, it is A Violation Of The First Amendment Itself to not let him keep them. Or to, you know, even look into it.
Good work, Rand. Can always count on you to jump off any rhetorical bridge you might come across. A First Amendment right to keep and sell classified nuclear secrets, sure, you stick with that one.
Rand Paul has always been a bit of a turd, piping up with sudden libertarian proclamations in between advocating for big government powers, but ... actually, I forget where I'm going with that. He's just a turd.
On Team Spy, however, Trump ally Peter Navarro isn't content with "let's just repeal whatever laws Donald Trump was caught violating." He wants you to know that Donald Trump was patriotically planning on patriotically leaking our nuclear secrets so that the American people can "get more jobs."
The video suggests that Navarro was on exactly as much cocaine as you think he was when suggesting this.
Got it? Donald Trump is a big-brain whistleblower who was going to out national nuclear secrets so that the United States would "stay out of wars." Then you'll all get jobs, America. Don't you want jobs?
Surely, we can all agree that Donald Golf Resort Trump, in between hosting Saudi golf tournaments and attempting to overthrow the United States government, only has the American people's best interests at heart. He wasn't going to trade those documents away for the right to build a new hotel in Saudi Arabia or in the center of Moscow. He was going to patriotically release that information for the good of everyone who congregates in midwestern diners.
It is not enough, say other Republicans, to merely erase whatever laws Donald Trump may have willingly broken. The Republican focus during two impeachment trials and during every other scandal during Trump's years was always on finding out who was trying to enforce laws Donald wanted to break, so that those people or government agencies could be punished good and hard.
That's why Trump and his lawyers released a their copy of the government warrant papers served at Mar-a-Lago with the names of the goverment agents involved left unredacted, which in turn immediately led to Trump's base hunting down information about the agents and, predictably, death threats. It's why Republicans followed up the release with a party-wide campaign accusing the FBI of being corrupt, which almost immediately led to an attack on FBI offices because of course it did.
By Wednesday the Republican message was already out, though. Sen. Rand Paul was only one of the Republicans whose immediate reaction to the raid was to parrot the Trumpworld insistence that whatever Bad Stuff the FBI might have found was, uh, actually planted there. Why, Dear Leader being caught doing a crime means it's time to gut the FBI, which every Republican knows has been corrupt this whole time!
Don't just get rid of the laws Trump broke. Find out who found out he was breaking the laws, call them corrupt, release their public information, and shutter their whole agencies if we have to. All hail Dear Leader, and so forth.
Obviously, catching Donald Trump with nuclear weapons secrets in the basement of his spy club means that the sitting attorney general also has to go. That's just common sense.
Here's a tip: "GOP strategist" is not a news thing. CNN chose to host a "GOP strategist" despite the job of "GOP strategist" being, quite literally, strategizing how to best bullshit the American people with party-flattering spins on news events. It is not news; CNN, as a network, is reliant on booking partisan liars to mislead the public about current events in between news reports of what those current events actually are. Hosting professional liars is the core network strategy; it's cheap, it's assured to generate faux-"controversy," and you can be abso-tootly sure that party-paid propagandists will always, always be willing to show up. They own the suits, they know where the studio is, and they know how to look presentable on camera. Can’t say that about government records law experts.
But sure, this is all very bad news for Merrick Garland. The first former president to be caught stealing nuclear secrets is really putting Merrick Garland in a bind here, and if Merrick Garland doesn't want to be seen as overplaying his hand he either has to put Donald in prison or this or resign in shame.
Sure, fine. Let's go with that. The dude who defended Trump through a list of half-dozen treasons and counting is going with it, so you know it's gonna be a (very stupid) thing. But we agree: If the Department of Justice can't see its way to prosecuting a very powerful figure caught dead to rights doing the sort of crime other people get decades in prison for, then it would certainly demonstrate Justice Department leadership isn't up to snuff. That's what you meant, right?
All right, so the Republican response is now morphing into one in which Trump violating the Espionage Act means we have to erase the Espionage Act, Donald Trump hiding nuclear weapons secrets in his for-profit golf club serves only as proof that Donald Trump was valiantly trying to save the American people by spilling those secrets, the FBI discovering that Donald Trump was lying through his crooked teeth when he claimed he didn't have the documents now requires a wholesale purge of the FBI for Their Unholy Audacity, and the attorney general who oversaw getting those papers back is now hopelessly politically compromised because he may have actually believed the bullshit we tell our schoolchildren about "nobody being above the law," which is not something the Republican Party has believed at any point in its modern history.
If you're going to eliminate whatever laws Donald breaks from now until his eventual McDonald's-caused death, plus whatever agents discovered the crimes, plus whatever agencies the agents belong to, plus the attorney general for having the audacity to believe he had any right to, for example, take classified nuclear documents out of Donald's golf club and for-profit wedding venue even if Donald didn't want him to, there's not much of America that's going to be left. You're undermining everything that counts as "rule of law," when people say "rule of law."
At some point you don't have a government at all, if you're getting rid of all the parts that might inconvenience Dear Leader during a crime spree.
Which, as it turns out, is what the pro-insurrection parts of Republicanism's violent base are again saying out loud. Republicanism is becoming indistinguishable from the threats of terrorism it fosters. And it's all because Republicans think that whatever Trump wants, whether it's stealing nuclear weapons secrets or staying in office despite losing an election, Trump should get.
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The complete guide to every excuse Republicans have made for Trump's theft of classified documents