It has been shocking to watch Republican House members and Senators uniformly condone President Trump’s act of seeking foreign interference in our election to his benefit.
An obvious explanation, yet somehow undiscussed, is that many of the same Republican House members and Senators themselves have also sought or participated in foreign interference in our elections.
That is such an obvious explanation that I think it would be in the forefront of the discussion in most other major Western democracies. (And one concrete example may concern the corruption and take over of the NRA with Russian money.) But in the US, absent outside pressure, some sense of politeness and timidity will prevent this obvious question from being asked and investigated.
And, even if you think this scenario unlikely, the Republicans’ conclusion that what President Trump did was acceptable plainly requires that all Republicans (not just Trump) repeatedly be asked the following two questions:
1. Have you, or anyone on your staff, ever discussed receiving information or assistance from a foreign state or foreign actor for possible use in a US election?
2. Will you pledge now that you will report to the FBI any instance that you or your staff become aware of a foreign state or foreign actor offering assistance or information for possible use in a US election?
These two questions are the necessary and logical consequence of the position taken by the Republican President, Senators and House members. Republicans must be forced to own and live with the consequences of their stated position. And they really do not like shaming.
I am not suggesting that these two questions will somehow lead to confessions or be a “gotcha“ question. No, asking these two questions to Republicans is the necessary step to fight back and make sure that they are not successful in establishing a new norm of misconduct. Republicans can only do that if we let them — with silence and acquiescence being the biggest culprit
These two questions must not only be repeatedly asked of Republicans by journalists, cable TV show hosts and editorial boards, but also by their Democratic opponents and their constituents at Townhall meetings. It will make the Republicans mad (trust me), but it is the logical, unavoidable consequence of their own position and votes. Don’t let them escape that.
Btw, if you want to see this principle in action, watch the foreign press. In the clip below of the press conference following Trump’s meeting with the President of Finland, the Finnish reporter’s first question to her President was: “I have to ask you. What kind of favors has President Trump asked from you?” Perfect, responsible, and look at Trump’s face.