Day 115: Republicans’ support for partisan FBI director shows true colors

Hint: there’s only red — no white or blue.

The FBI director — the man or woman in charge of leading 35,000 employees and ensuring cases and investigations are carried out properly and legally — should be non-partisan. This really shouldn’t even be a debate. Democrats, Republicans, Independents and supporters of other parties should all want someone leading the FBI that is separated from politics for obvious reasons: there should never be a question whether an investigation (or lack thereof) is politically motivated.

There have been whispers out of the White House that Donald Trump’s shortlist to replace James Comey — fired last week for, as Trump admitted, not letting the whole Russia/potential treason thing go — includes many Republicans and conservative heartthrobs: a conservative judge, a mayor, and a white collar lawyer.

The list also includes overtly political operatives, such as Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX).

Gowdy is perhaps best known for leading endless hearings on Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, all of which led nowhere other than giving right-wing media something to froth at the mouth over.

Cornyn is the second highest ranking Republican in the Senate. Recently, he sat in on hearings with former DNI James Clapper and former acting-attorney general Sally Yates. He focused his attention on anything that wasn’t related to the Russia investigation. Cornyn scolded Yates for interpreting Trump’s executive order as unconstitutional and for not blindly following Trump’s directives. (Yates, two years earlier, promised a GOP-led Senate that she would never blindly follow a president who made unconstitutional demands, something that the GOP was happy to hear since Barack Obama was POTUS. Trump also eventually pulled back the executive order when a federal court found it unconstitutional.)

Republicans sang the praises of the lawmakers. Some did so quietly, others more publicly.

To their credit, Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) noted the need for independence between the White House and new FBI Director. But votes matter a lot more than early talk. Flake is up for reelection in 18 months in reddish-purple state. He has a lot riding on his decision.

Graham has often jabbed a finger at Trump, but hasn’t done much more, rubber-stamping all of his nominees. Though he spoke out forcefully about the need to nominate someone “outside the political lane,” what happens if his fellow Republican senator Cornyn or fellow South Carolinian congressman Gowdy actually get nominated?

The red meat for conservative media and their consumers has been plucking a dyed-red Republican to put in the catbird seat of the FBI. Then, that person would kill all investigations into Trump while simultaneously seeking charges against Clinton. Yes, this is really what they’re salivating over.

At some point, who knows when, Republicans became more concerned with infuriating Democrats than doing what’s best for the republic.

Trump demanded personal loyalty from Comey; it’s clear that’s what matters most to him. The FBI has been a non-partisan operation with loyalty solely to the Constitution since it was founded over a century ago. In the blink of an eye, that could all change.

115 days in, 1347 to go


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