The GOP is up in arms about Friday’s revelations in the Mueller probe, implicating Trump as having directed Michael Cohen to break the law. While some Republicans are secretly discussing the risk Trump’s allegations pose to their party, others are saying they outright don’t care about his possible felonies, per CNN. Unsurprisingly, a large group of them are hoping to let the president slide away unscathed, though their strategy is uninspired.
The most-senior GOP senator Orrin Hatch leads the charge in that regard. When CNN asked Hatch about the situation, his first reaction was to blame Democrats and push attention away from his friend in the White House. Reporters corrected Hatch, pointing out that federal prosecutors implicated Trump in the crimes, not Democrats. Hatch might as well be wearing a blindfold. He was obstinate in his response: “OK, but I don’t care, all I can say is he’s doing a good job as President.”
Others have different arguments but similar logic. Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley said Cohen is a known liar and his plea is therefore nullified. He told reporters, “I shouldn’t give much credibility to what he says.”
Republican Senator John Kennedy spoke in the same vein: “Jesus loves him [Cohen], but everybody else thinks he’s an idiot,” adding that he would personally never base an investigation on evidence provided by Cohen. He even tries to say that Cohen’s plea is irrelevant to the Russia investigation, despite the fact that Cohen told the court he was regularly updating the Trumps on the construction of Trump Tower Moscow months after the project was supposed to have been abandoned.
About 20 years ago, during Bill Clinton’s sex scandal, their tunes were different. Hatch himself vehemently called for the Democrat to be removed from office, saying, “This great nation can tolerate a president who makes mistakes, but it cannot tolerate one who makes a mistake and then breaks the law to cover it up. Any other citizen would be prosecuted for these crimes,” per MSNBC. Hatch must have forgotten to add his caveat that good presidents don’t count as “any other citizen.”
Predictably, the old guard of the GOP are doing anything they can to cover for their locker-room buddy Trump, as other senators including Susan Collins and Rob Portman try to dismiss the allegations, saying they’ll wait for the probe to reach its end. Backed into a corner, they’re left to their natural instincts; playing dumb and diverting attention, after all, are some of the party’s oldest tricks.