Kasich on Trump and Ukraine: "Where are the Republicans?!"

Good lord. This Ukraine thing isn’t going to end up producing a John Kasich presidential candidacy, is it?

Then it really will be a national crisis.

He wants to know where the outrage is among Republicans over what Trump’s accused is. Well, there’s this guy:


That’s as close as Senator Mitt gets to “outrage.” Pat Toomey allowed yesterday on “Meet the Press” that “it is not appropriate for any candidate for federal office, certainly, including a sitting president, to ask for assistance from a foreign country” while stressing that we don’t know the facts yet — even though Trump has now confirmed that he raised the Biden investigation in his July phone call with Ukraine’s president.

That’s about it from Senate Republicans so far. Some doubtless are lying low, hoping that the facts here turn out to be better than they seem. Others known to call out Trump in the past, like Ben Sasse, decided awhile back to trade their right to criticize him for his support in their upcoming Senate primaries.

In some cases, the answer to Kasich’s “Where are the Republicans?” question is “Leaving Congress to get away from Trump”:

Three days later, [GOP Rep. Paul] Mitchell was awaiting a prime-time CNN appearance when he saw footage of Trump rallygoers chanting “send her back,” aimed at one of the congresswomen, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.). Stunned, Mitchell said he scribbled question marks on a notepad to silently ask an aide: “How do I even respond to this on TV?”

But one of the final straws was the unwillingness of people in Trump’s orbit to listen. Mitchell implored Vice President Pence, his chief of staff, Marc Short, and “any human being that has any influence in the White House” to arrange a one-on-one conversation between him and the president so he could express his concerns…

“We’re here for a purpose — and it’s not this petty, childish b——t,” Mitchell, 62, said in an interview in early September. Pence’s office declined to comment.


Ten days after the “send her back” incident Mitchell announced he was retiring, one of 18 Republicans so far this year to announce that they’re leaving the House. If the Ukraine scandal metastasizes, that number will accelerate.

There’s a third possible answer to Kasich’s question, though: Where are the Democrats? Everyone understands that the congressional GOP is now a mix of Trump personality cultists and Trump skeptics who are terrified of wrecking their future in the party by criticizing him. Democrats have the opposite incentive, though — the more adversarial they are towards Trump, the more their base loves it. So why aren’t they being more adversarial on the Ukraine matter? That’s what Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wanted to know yesterday, and it’s what other Dems are whispering to the media about today:

[I][nterviews with more than a dozen Democratic lawmakers this weekend made clear that they believed the latest allegations had the potential to be singularly incriminating, with the potential to advance the impeachment drive just as it appeared to be losing steam. Not only do the allegations suggest that Mr. Trump was using the power of his office to extract political gains from a foreign power, they argued, but his administration is actively trying once again to prevent Congress from finding out what happened…

Several first-term lawmakers who had opposed impeachment conferred privately over the weekend to discuss announcing support for an inquiry, potentially jointly, after a hearing scheduled for Thursday with the acting national intelligence director, according to Democratic officials familiar with the conversations. A handful of them declined to speak on the record over the weekend, with some still reluctant to go public and others looking for cues from Ms. Pelosi and their freshman colleagues…

Strikingly, some traditionally cautious veteran Democrats said the party might have no choice but to move toward impeachment. They believe that Senate Republicans, who are clinging to their majority of 53 seats, would pay a political price for protecting Mr. Trump if they voted to exonerate him in the face of damning evidence of malfeasance and a House vote to impeach.


Schumer is already trying to tighten the screws on McConnell over this, inviting Cocaine Mitch today to join him in asking the White House to release the transcript of Trump’s July 25 call with Zelensky and the whistleblower complaint. One key political mystery at the moment is what Democrats will do if the White House succeeds in withholding both documents. Can they possibly impeach him based on what the evidence is *alleged* to say, without seeing it firsthand themselves? If not, can they possibly *not* impeach him if he successfully stymies an investigation by withholding alleged evidence of wrongdoing? Imagine if they went ahead and impeached him and then the transcript and complaint came out and the evidence wasn’t as damning as it was cracked up to be. Trump’s instinct is to withhold information rather than supply it and risk being caught in a trap (e.g., refusing to sit for an interview with Mueller) so that’s probably what he’ll do here. Your move, Nancy.


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David Strom 6:00 AM | April 25, 2024