Republicans are taking a quote from W.C. Fields far too seriously: “If you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, baffle them with bullshit.” Unfortunately, it’s not working too well for them. In their futile efforts to defend “president” Donald Trump, the Republicans have been relying on the false narrative that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election. Further, they claim that interference was on behalf of the Democrats.
According to the Washington Post, this bright idea originated with Rudy Giuliani, who admitted that it was his idea. Giuliani claimed to have received a tip from a former colleague to that effect. He bought into it so heavily that he told conservative host Glenn Beck, “Hallelujah. I’ve got what a defense lawyers always wants: I can go prove someone else committed this crime.” Rudy’s reasoning for this bogus belief? He was attempting to head off Robert Mueller’s report. Poor Rudy.
Paul Rosenzweig, a former attorney on Ken Starr’s team, said it best: “All roads lead to Russia” and that this conspiracy theory is nothing more than “Russian propaganda.” The Republicans’ attempts to push and hold onto this insane narrative shows just how low they have gone. They even went so far as to have the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee look into Ukraine interference, which Politico describes as “coming up short.” Yet, the push continues. John Kennedy (R-LA) completely embarrassed himself on Meet the Press by saying that both Russia and Ukraine meddled. Richard Burr (R-NC) told NBC news that “every elected official in the Ukraine was for Hillary Clinton. Is that very different than the Russians being for Donald Trump?” Really, Burr? Let’s say for the sake of argument that Ukrainian officials did want Clinton to win. “Wanting” and “trying to make it happen” are two completely different things.
Ignoring the evidence that was right under their noses, the Republican-controlled Senate Intelligence Committee decided to waste our tax dollars on an investigation into a theory that they knew wasn’t true. That investigation, as expected, turned up nothing that wasn’t already known: Ukraine did not interfere in our elections. They even went so far as to interview Alexandra Chalupa, whom they baselessly accused of colluding with Ukraine, according to Politico. Whatever information they retrieved from Ms. Chalupa led to no follow-up or requests for additional witnesses. So much for that.
Even after all of the wasted time and money, some Republicans refuse to let go of this debunked theory, though Mark Warner’s spokesperson told PBS that “it is very clear to me, and this has been testified to by every leader of law enforcement, [and the] intelligence community, that there’s been absolutely no validity to this crazy conspiracy theory that Ukraine was behind the 2016 intervention.” At the same time, Angus King of Maine, who is independent, said “I have never heard one word about any culpability on the part of Ukraine.” Why, then, do Republicans refuse to let this go? As has been said time and again, it’s all they’ve got. At some point, one would think they would let this go and move on, but don’t count on it. We should all send the Republicans some grits to have with the egg on their faces.
Shirley is a former entertainment writer and has worked in the legal field for over 25 years