THE OBSERVER: Presidential mania on social media isn’t a pretty picture and will do nothing to stop the coming investigations by Congress into what exactly was going on between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin last year. Trump’s bluster and deflections on the campaign trail sufficed to push aside some of those troubling questions, but things have reached a point that the full story, no matter how unpleasant it may be, will come out, eventually.
At a minimum, the House and Senate intelligence committees will be conducting investigations which ought to worry the White House, whose political future will likely depend on how many Republicans are willing to back Trump—and by extension the Kremlin—over fellow Americans. Since several prominent Republican senators, including Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr, have indicated that investigations are going forward, the White House can’t depend on partisan loyalty to protect them for much longer.
Republicans should be advised to put country over party right now and pursue rigorous inquiries into the full extent of Trump’s Moscow links and their impact on the election—and the new administration. Washington is at the precipice of a scandal unlike anything seen since Watergate. Indeed, KremlinGate promises to be much seedier and more troubling than anything proffered by President Nixon.
Here the inevitable comparisons to Watergate fall short. Tricky Dick committed domestic crimes, and paid the price for them, but Nixon was in no way beholden to a foreign power—much less one which has several thousand nuclear weapons pointed at the United States. Neither did Nixon collude with that foreign power’s spies to arrange his own election to the presidency.
We are now discussing things worse than mere impeachment. If members of Trump’s team colluded with Russian intelligence, the Espionage Act comes into play, and we’ve entered uncharted waters, presidentially speaking. MORE