I wrote last night that Trump’s defenses are so utterly predictable at this point that one knows the script beforehand, Schiff is the real criminal who should be going to jail, Biden is corrupt, and on and on.
We have seen this for three years, so have Republicans. The difference being, Republicans are now tiring of it, and no longer buying it, according to those who know. Additionally, the media isn’t cowering away, either.
There is a dramatic shift occurring.
Politico’s Jake Sherman appeared on Morning Joe this morning, and laid out what he’s heard from Republican sources on Capitol Hill:
“The president’s strategy here is a little bit worn out, according to all the Republicans we talk to,” Sherman said. “He’s trying to employ the same tool he’s used for the last two years, and it’s not been successful because he’s dealing with a entirely new set of facts. An impeachment inquiry that is obviously extremely legitimate — Congress has the right do this.”
“We’ve heard him talk about the media like this before,” Sherman added. “We’ve heard him call people crooked, we know he doesn’t like Democrats. We know all of these things and, frankly, it’s not having much effect because we’ve heard it now for two years.”
The key: Republicans recognize the inquiry is very legitimate. In light of a legitimate inquiry (as if Mueller was not a legitimate inquiry), they are aware that simply yelling at accusers is not a defense.
It never was.
But it’s been years now. Republicans have to know that the scandals are not going away because Trump can’t do business of any kind legitimately. And if the scandals aren’t going away, the yelling isn’t going away. Everyone gets tired of the drama, never mind the boy that cried wolf.
Additionally, Republicans are having to deal with a media that seems to be learning its lesson.
Sherman pointed to a remarkable exchange between an angry Trump and a calmly persistent Jeff Mason, a reporter for Reuters who repeatedly pressed the president to explain what he wanted the Ukrainian president to do for him regarding Joe Biden.
“Reporters are standing up to the president and not cowering down when he bullies them, not that any reporter has before,” Sherman said. “But it’s important to keep that in mind. So these tricks that he’s employed for two years are not terribly successful.
We have heard so much criticism of the media over the last few years, especially at the mothership, some of it deserved, some of it highly unfair. It should be noted just how damn difficult it must be to stand there and have the most powerful, obnoxious person on Earth screaming at you in front of hundreds of people, while remaining calm. Yet he did it.
It is all having an impact:
“You hear all around Washington the last couple weeks Republicans are very concerned that this White House has no strategy,” he said. “Why does it have no strategy? Two important things to keep in mind. No. 1, he has no surrogates that are willing to go on television to defend him. Why is that? Because they don’t know where the bottom is, they don’t know the entirety of the story, because the president has not been forthright.”
“People like Rudy Giuliani when they go on TV are roundly dismissed as a laughingstock because their behavior is so bizarre,” Sherman added. “Lawmakers won’t go on TV because they don’t want to stand up for the president at this moment when they don’t know everything.”
“They don’t know everything,” but there is one thing they most certainly do know, there is much more out there to come, stuff they won’t see coming, and they look increasingly like dumbass automatons. (I am tiring of the word “sycophant,” a word many people didn’t know two years ago and now appears in every article, including mine).
“It’s just incredibly bizarre to see all this lineup of circumstances that the White House is unwilling or unable to change,” he added, “and that, in the face of an impeachment inquiry that’s getting more and more serious, Democrats are saying that stonewalling is going to have consequences in that it could be evidence for obstruction, and the president has no strategy to handle this that we see in the public view.”
Yes, I – too, noted that the fact that Trump extorted a foreign leader to destroy a political enemy is not what is driving Republicans away, at least not at this point. It is the White House’s lack of strategy, lack of a message, all that.
Left unsaid in the above: They know he did it, and if his best defense is to just scream at people, Republicans aren’t willing to defend it anymore.
Trump is going to be impeached.
I am no longer certain that Republicans will clear him in the Senate. It is just week two, and today starts the real testimony. Watch for exploding news from the House questioning of the former Ukraine envoy today. He was the one dumped overboard, and must have a lot to say.
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