It’s by now incredibly obvious that the Republican party cares more about protecting the Trump administration and their own hold on power than investigating any government corruption by their side of the aisle, no matter how blatantly unconstitutional the actions concerned may be.
The reaction of congressional Republicans to the investigation of Vice President Mike Pence’s emoluments-laden trip to Ireland being conducted by their Democratic counterparts in the House of Representatives — the only portion of the current government that the Trump administration does not control — demonstrates just how little the rule of law means to the GOP at this stage.
The Democrats have opened official inquiries into Pence’s stay at the president’s Trump International Golf Club in Doonbeg, Ireland while he was on a recent diplomatic visit. The probe was initiated because the decision to stay at a property owned by Donald Trump that was four hours away from the vice president’s meetings in Dublin seemed particularly egregious given the massive increases in transportation costs and the fact that the taxpayer dollars being spent were all flowing into the president’s pockets.
A letter was sent to Pence’s office seeking the details of the total cost of the stay, of his Secret Service protection detail, and of the rates for comparable hotels nearby, as well as those more in more logistically convenient locations across the country in Dublin. To give you an idea of the scope of the cost of the trip, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has estimated that the cost of limousine service alone during the visit totaled nearly $600,000.
While the information that the Democrats are seeking seems to be the type that any reasonable person would want to see to ensure that the Trump administration doesn’t continue to loot the U.S. treasury for the president’s personal benefit, Republican members of Congress continue to try to paint the inquiry as just another politically-inspired Democratic “witch hunt” rather than a perfectly valid probe of clearly unconstitutional emoluments violations.
Two top GOP Freedom Caucus members — both regular attack dogs for the Trump administration and its agenda — Congressmen Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Mark Meadows (R-NC) sent a letter yesterday to House Oversight Committee chair Elijah Cummings (D-MD) castigating him for initiating the investigation and demanding that Cummings “abandon your partisan attacks on President Trump.”
“Although you coordinated your attack with Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, you failed to consult with any Republican Members before demanding voluminous information from four separate entities – none of which bore responsibility for the lodging and accommodations in Ireland. We can only assume that these letters were the result of a rushed process to capitalize on news reporting about the Ireland travel, rather than responsible and deliberative oversight,” the Congressmen’s letter said.
It seems as if the Trump administration’s GOP enablers have taken a page straight from the playbook of psychological projection that they leaned from Donald Trump himself – as they accuse the Democrats in Congress of the type of politically-motivated sham investigations of the type they invented in the Benghazi and Hillary Clinton email scandal era.
Even faced with clear evidence of behavior designed to personally enrich the president at the expense of taxpayers — the type of corruption that the founding fathers envisioned when they included the emoluments clause in the constitution — Republicans fight against congressional oversight that they themselves don’t control and instead try to shift focus to issues like two Oversight Committee staff trips to Mexico in August that they claim were designed “to delegitimize the administration’s border security efforts and vilify the men and women who protect our border.”
While many may look at the current situation and dismiss it as “politics as usual,” the fact that we now have an administration that is the most corrupt in modern U.S. history means that nothing is usual anymore, including the commitment to justice and a criminality-free government from both parties, not just the Democrats.
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Original reporting by Sophia Tesfaye at Salon.
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Vinnie Longobardo is a 35-year veteran of the TV, mobile & internet industries, specializing in start-ups and the international media business. His passions are politics, music and art.