In midterm disaster, Fredo Corleone Republicans back Trump on Russia

In midterm disaster, Fredo Corleone Republicans back Trump on Russia
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As investigations and scandals surrounding Trump Republicans in Congress may well doom the GOP in midterm elections, American politics increasingly resembles what a fourth Godfather film would look like.

Perhaps the great actor Marlon Brando would play the role of Vladimir Putin as Don Corleone in Godfather IV if he were here today. Many Republicans are as alarmed as Democrats watching Putin appear to pull the strings in his recent meeting with Trump in Helsinki, raising questions never before asked about an American president.

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Putin targeted Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Memo: Trump faces steep climb to reelection What the Mueller report tells us about Putin, Russia and Trump's election Steve Bullock puts Citizens United decision at center of presidential push MORE in his covert project to elect Trump in 2016. Now Putin appears to have targeted Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillBig Dem names show little interest in Senate Gillibrand, Grassley reintroduce campus sexual assault bill Endorsements? Biden can't count on a flood from the Senate MORE (D-Mo.), based on credible reports that Russia attempted to hack McCaskill’s staff as part of Putin’s plan to attack the midterm elections.

 

 

If Putin was the Don Corleone of American politics in 2016, working to elect the president of his choice, he now aspires to be the Don Corleone of 2018, working to elect the Congress of his choice, which would not be a Democratic majority.

The great curse of Republicans in the midterm elections is that on issue after issue, many of them appear to be playing the role of Fredo Corleone, the hapless, duplicitous and incompetent sycophant in the original Godfather.

George Will, the conscience of modern conservatism, recently lampooned Vice President Mike Pence for groveling before the extreme excesses of Trump. Will did not use the Fredo Corleone analogy, but he could have. 

Pence is a leader of the Fredo Corleone faction of Republicans, going along with dastardly deeds to get along with those who commit them. Pence’s groveling would be funny if the subject was not so serious and the dangers so grave.

Not all Republicans belong to the Fredo Corleone wing of the GOP. Sen. Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrOvernight Defense: Congressional leaders receive classified briefing on Iran | Trump on war: 'I hope not' | Key Republican calls threats credible | Warren plan targets corporate influence at Pentagon Key Republican 'convinced' Iran threats are credible Congressional leaders receive classified Iran briefing MORE (R-N.C.) has shown integrity, honor and patriotism as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in contrast to Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesOvernight Defense: Congressional leaders receive classified briefing on Iran | Trump on war: 'I hope not' | Key Republican calls threats credible | Warren plan targets corporate influence at Pentagon Schiff says DOJ hasn't complied with subpoena for Mueller report Key Republican 'convinced' Iran threats are credible MORE (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a leader of the Fredo Corleone Republican faction.

While Russia attacks America, Nunes attacks those who defend America from the Russian attack. While Don Corleone Putin attacks American democracy from Moscow, Nunes and the Fredo Corleone Republicans in Washington attack almost every leading player on the American team working to thwart the Russians.

Special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerSasse: US should applaud choice of Mueller to lead Russia probe MORE is one of the most respected attorneys and great patriots of our times. The attacks against him by the president and various members of the Fredo Corleone faction are shameful, despicable and doomed to fail.

In the worst idea since Trump appeared to take the word of the Russian Corleone over the American good guys in Helsinki, some in the Fredo Corleone faction moved to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod RosensteinRod RosensteinKlobuchar: 'Don't think' there are reasons to investigate Mueller probe's origins Democrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook Barr dismisses contempt vote as part of 'political circus' MORE.

Others in the Fredo Corleone faction haplessly seek to take away the security clearances of former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanThe Hill's Morning Report - White House, Congress: Urgency of now around budget Dems ask former CIA chief John Brennan for Iran briefing: report Brennan hits Trump for calling Mueller probe a 'coup': These are 'sociopathic ramblings' MORE, former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperComey: 'The FBI doesn't spy, the FBI investigates' How I learned to love the witch hunt 10 factors making Russia election interference the most enduring scandal of the Obama era MORE, among others.

Brennan, Hayden and Clapper are fervent patriots of the highest order. They have worked to protect the security of our country over decades of service, but the Fredo Corleone Republicans, performing a great service to the Don Corleone in Moscow, say they are unworthy of a security clearance.

I wrote earlier this week that blockbuster scandal news would rock Republicans in the midterm voting.

Since then, we learned that apparently, before close Trump associates met with Russian agents at Trump Tower to further the Russian Godfather’s plot to elect Trump as president, the beneficiary of this plot knew about that collusion meeting in advance.

Matt Drudge recently referred to Michael CohenMichael Dean CohenCohen says Trump attorney told him to say Trump Tower talks ended earlier than they did Cohen told lawmakers that Trump lawyer Sekulow instructed him to lie about Moscow tower project: report Stormy Daniels reaches settlement with Michael Cohen, ex-lawyer  MORE, the source of this blockbuster information, as a “rat”.

Drudge, appropriately using a word that is common in Mafia movies, might have suggested that Cohen went from being a Fredo Corleone rat who supported Trump to being a Fredo Corleone rat who could destroy Trump.

According to Cohen’s alleged version of events, when Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpCohen says Trump attorney told him to say Trump Tower talks ended earlier than they did Cohen told lawmakers that Trump lawyer Sekulow instructed him to lie about Moscow tower project: report Ukraine's top prosecutor says no evidence of wrongdoing by Bidens MORE told Donald Trump Sr.Donald John TrumpMore Dems press Pelosi on impeachment proceedings: reports Enough already with the partisan multistate lawsuits Health care tops list of Americans' top issues in new poll MORE about the collusion meeting, there were others, who may soon expect subpoenas, who were present as well.

Meanwhile, we also learned that Trump’s long-term CFO, Allen Weisselberg, has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury about matters involved in the Cohen case and possibly more. 

What dirt might they dish on Trump under penalty of perjury when Trump’s fixer and consigliere Cohen and Trump’s moneyman Weisselberg are questioned by Feds before the grand jury?

As scandals multiply, evidence mounts, midterms approach and our modern Godfather saga unfolds before voters, the Fredo Corleone faction of Republicans is increasingly the brand of the GOP.  

Even the modern Godfather in Moscow must be worried that too many rats will abandon the sinking ship, and Democrats in Congress will ultimately end this sad saga with a massive victory over the Fredo Corleone Republicans.

Brent Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Rep. Bill Alexander (D-Ark.), who was chief deputy majority whip of the U.S. House of Representatives. He holds an LLM in international financial law from the London School of Economics.