Those “damn emails.” Those damn missives that lived on a private server in the possession of Hillary Clinton. Those damn messages that put the Democratic presidential nominee under federal and congressional investigation and withering public scrutiny. Her critics swore they would show criminality, corruption and collusion. As then-candidate Donald Trump hammered those points home at campaign rallies, he would bask in, if not lead, chants of “Lock her up!”
The infamous letter from FBI Director James Comey was the last straw for the walking-on-ice Clinton voter. That’s what I called the folks who couldn’t stand Clinton and the baggage that came with her but would look the other way because what they had seen of the Trump campaign offended them on some level, if not all of them. But Comey’s letter coming just days before the election was that cracking sound in the ice that had those voters scampering away from what they thought was danger. “There’s always something” with Hillary Clinton was the gasp that could be heard from Democrats and Republicans alike.
How quaint all that seems now.
The tick-tock of events that led to the resignation of Michael Flynn as Trump’s national security adviser this week should alarm every American. That the president and the White House counsel knew for days that Flynn had misled senior administration officials about talking to the Russian ambassador to the United States about sanctions before a story in The Post forced his hand is disturbing.
Even more disturbing? Learning that Vice President Pence didn’t know he was lied to until he read about it in The Post — on Monday. That Sally Yates’s firing as acting attorney general came five days after she warned the president about Flynn adds to the intrigue and growing unease. But the news that high-level campaign aides to Trump “were in constant communication …with Russians known to U.S. intelligence” when we all knew Russians were trying to undermine the November election is a five-alarm inferno that cannot be ignored.
Yet the Republicans who hounded Clinton over a private server and then made hay over the uncomfortable contents of emails hacked by the Russians for the sole purpose of helping Trump become president can barely muster a yawn. The folks who puff out their chests as peerless defenders of liberty are now mere spectators as each day brings more evidence that Trump is an autocrat willing to turn the West Wing into a bureau of the Kremlin. The crowd that crows about being protectors of the Constitution stands by while their standard-bearer and his aides defy and defile the document that is the bedrock of our democracy.
Yes, there’s always something with Hillary Clinton. But those “damn emails” were and always will be inconsequential compared with the bona fide scandal flowing out of Trump’s mess of an Oval Office now. Would that the Republican-controlled Congress gave a damn.
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