Fresh off his non-exoneration from special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, the president of the United States took his tired, stale and pathetic act of grievance to Michigan. And, once again, he railed against elites, boasted about his intelligence and flaunted his wealth.
That’s not to say there wasn’t new material. After all, what’s a bully if not a bestower of belittling nicknames for those perceived to be weak. The latest recipient of one of Trump’s sophomoric sobriquets is Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.
“Little pencil-necked Adam Schiff. He’s got the smallest, thinnest neck I’ve ever seen,” Trump told his braying supporters on Thursday. “He is not a long-ball hitter, but I saw him today, ‘Well, we don’t really know, there still could have been some Russia collusion.’” The president went on to say, “Sick, sick. These are sick people and there has to be accountability because it is all lies and they know it’s lies.”
Hours earlier on Capitol Hill, sycophantic Republicans members of the Intelligence Committee also tried to use Attorney General William P. Barr’s glass-half-empty summary of the not-yet-released 300-page-plus Mueller report as a hammer as they called on Schiff to step down as committee chairman.
Schiff was having none of it. His five-minute response was blistering, with a recurring phrase said so often that it served as spikes on the road to redemption that the Republicans thought they were cruising down. Each time Schiff said, “You might think it’s okay,” he hit them and the president with specific facts that might not meet the high standard for criminal conspiracy, but they are certainly objectionable on moral, ethical and patriotic grounds.
My colleagues might think it’s okay that the Russians offered dirt on the Democratic candidate for president as part of what’s described as the Russian government’s effort to help the Trump campaign. You might think that’s okay.My colleagues might think it’s okay that when that was offered to the son of the president, who had a pivotal role in the campaign, that the president’s son did not call the FBI; he did not adamantly refuse that foreign help — no, instead that son said that he would ‘love’ the help with the Russians.You might think it’s okay that he took that meeting. You might think it’s okay that Paul Manafort, the campaign chair, someone with great experience running campaigns, also took that meeting. You might think it’s okay that the president’s son-in-law also took that meeting. You might think it’s okay that they concealed it from the public. You might think it’s okay that their only disappointment after that meeting was that the dirt they received on Hillary Clinton wasn’t better. You might think that’s okay.You might think it’s okay that when it was discovered, a year later, that they then lied about that meeting and said that it was about adoptions. You might think that it’s okay that it was reported that the president helped dictate that lie. You might think that’s okay. I don’t.You might think it’s okay that the campaign chairman of a presidential campaign would offer information about that campaign to a Russian oligarch in exchange for money or debt forgiveness. You might think that’s okay, I don’t.You might think it’s okay that that campaign chairman offered polling data to someone linked to Russian intelligence. I don’t think that’s okay.You might think it’s okay that the president himself called on Russia to hack his opponent’s emails, if they were listening. You might think it’s okay that later that day, in fact, the Russians attempted to hack a server affiliated with that campaign. I don’t think that’s okay.You might think it’s okay that the president’s son-in-law sought to establish a secret back channel of communication with the Russians through a Russian diplomatic facility. I don’t think that’s okay.You might think it’s okay that an associate of the president made direct contact with the GRU through Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks, that is considered a hostile intelligence agency. You might think it’s okay that a senior campaign official was instructed to reach that associate and find out what that hostile intelligence agency had to say in terms of dirt on his opponent.You might think it’s okay that the national security adviser designate secretly conferred with the Russian ambassador about undermining U.S. sanctions, and you might think it’s okay that he lied about it to the FBI.You might say that’s all okay, that’s just what you need to do to win. But I don’t think it’s okay. I don’t think it’s okay. I think it’s immoral, I think it’s unethical, I think it’s unpatriotic and, yes, I think it’s corrupt — and evidence of collusion.
Talk about a speaking indictment. Bravo to Schiff for keeping the focus where it belongs. Shame on the president and his followers (there is no Republican Party anymore, is there?) for thinking any of this is okay — or that we’ve forgotten what’s at stake.
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