It's fascinating, but even more telling that Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) have contacted the Justice Department to make their Senate Judiciary Committee's first "recommendation for investigation" -- and it's Christopher Steele. No, not anyone actually conspiring with Russia against the United States government. but the person who researched the information and passed it along to the FBI! That's like reporting someone who said your house is on fire. (Heads-up to any of their neighbors...)
It's getting to the point where I really do now wonder if Putin or Trump has something on these two senators, since their actions have become borderline inexplicable.
To be clear, I don’t say any of this because they keep doing things I disagree with, but rather because they’re both smart men – Graham especially – and they know what Trump is, and see his poll numbers, and read about the likely Blue Wave…so why haven’t they done the obvious and smart thing to take the Republican lead and get ahead of the story, not sucked into Hell by it? I’m not saying they are being blackmailed, but I no longer can discount it as part of the discussion, especially with Graham. Grassley maybe, but maybe he’s just a crotchety old diehard too inflexible to change.
Graham's turnaround has been particularly bizarre. Going from calling Trump a “nut job” to slamming people who call Trump a “nut job.” As for Grassley, after saying publicly he supported releasing the Fusion GPS testimony – he then not only refused, but said that the testimony is too sensitive and should be kept private...but oddly added they should testify in open public session!
We know that there hacked email of the Republican National Committee. And information has come forward that Graham received money from a Russian oligarch. With Grassley, who know? Maybe it's as simple as that at 84 he’s just simply losing it. After all, his defense of the tax cut bill was just looping -- talking about people spending all their money on “booze, women and movies” as opposed to rich people who invest. I don't know.
They're motivations aside, their actions are outrageous and seem pretty clearly a desperate act to distract. Ken Dilanian, the low-key legal analyst on MSNBC was pretty dismissive of it all, and he's rarely dismissive of anything but very even-keeled. He said that the Justice Department gets "recommendations to investigate" all the time, so there's nothing special about this...other than the strangeness of it being the first one the committee has made. And he said the Justice Department is under no obligation to even investigate, and often don't. Additionally, he said that Christopher Steele is well known within the intelligence community and highly respected. So, the likelihood of this having any substantive meaning is small. Which is why it just seems like just a blatant effort to undermine Steele and the FBI investigation. But likely won't get anywhere.
Again, I don't think Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham are being blackmailed, especially the former. But bizarre as the concept is (and I know it's bizarre), I don't think it can be taken off the table. Because this "recommendation" is too bizarre itself.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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