This is the real national emergency

Not the border wall, but the fact that we have a doddering/raving lunatic who grossly and publicly abuses his power and that his own party refuses to hold him to account.

I’m usually a big critic of Chuck Todd’s game-oriented, both-sidesism, but damn, does he nail it here:

NYT and Post both with excellent editorials today.  NYT:

Mr. Trump and his defenders are increasingly taking the position that what he did in pressuring the Ukrainian president was no big deal — the responsible course of action, even. Ergo, the more governments that Mr. Trump urges to do the same thing, the more normal, if not public-spirited, such aberrant presidential behavior will seem. The cynical marketing calculation — Mr. Trump’s favorite form of math — would seem to be that, as with previous administration outrages, the news media will grow weary, the public will grow numb, the Democratic inquisitors will appear ineffectual…

“I have zero problems with this phone call,” Mr. Graham said in a Sunday appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” Among those hitting the same talking point have been Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin: “We all kind of looked at it and said, ‘There’s nothing here.’” And Senator James Risch of Idaho: “I saw nothing in the conversation that was inappropriate. We’re done here.”

This represents a stark reversal of Republicans’ position during the special counsel’s investigation of Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election. In that case, Republican lawmakers said that it would be troubling if there was clear evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Now, their new position seems to be: There can’t be anything untoward going on here because the president is being so blatant about soliciting foreign help.

Indeed, Mr. Trump seems to be operating on the assumption that the more shameless his assault on democratic norms and laws, the more he can get away with. This is not how the system works, no matter how fervently Mr. Trump’s Republican defenders may wish it so. [emphasis mine]

And the Post

PRESIDENT TRUMP has shifted his solicitation of foreign assistance for his reelection campaign from private phone calls to live television. On Thursday, he publicly repeated his appeal to the Ukrainian government to investigate Democratic candidate Joe Biden — and called on China to investigate Mr. Biden also. China is a major adversary of the United States and a dictatorship that does not respect the rule of law. Even considering Mr. Trump’s record of shredding norms of presidential behavior, it’s astounding that he would believe that these appeals do not transgress his oath of office. It would be even more shocking — and more damaging to our political system — if congressional Republicans agreed with him…

Historian Robert Kagan recently described in The Post what the consequences would be if Mr. Trump’s actions went unpunished. “Sending the signal that other governments can curry favor with a U.S. president by helping to dig up dirt on his or her political opponents would open our political system and foreign policy to intervention and manipulation on a global scale,” he wrote. “Every government in the world wishing to influence U.S. foreign policy will have an incentive to come to a sitting president with information on his or her potential political opponents.”

Mr. Trump is in the midst of trade negotiations with the Chinese regime of Xi Jinping and has at times conversed directly with Mr. Xi about the terms of a deal. Will he raise his request for an investigation of Mr. Biden when he next bargains with the Chinese ruler? “That’s something we can start thinking about,” Mr. Trump said Thursday. Mr. Trump sees nothing wrong with making such requests. What about congressional Republicans? Do they really wish to see such use of the president’s office become the new normal of American politics?

Oh, and honestly, we really should be well beyond the “no explicit quid pro quo” absurd defense.  But we have clear evidence of an explicit quid pro quo.

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