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.
Putin targeted Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Attorney charged in Durham investigation pleads not guilty Attorney indicted on charge of lying to FBI as part of Durham investigation MORE in his covert project to elect Trump in 2016. Now Putin appears to have targeted Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillRepublicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sunday shows preview: States deal with fallout of Ida; Texas abortion law takes effect Giuliani to stump for Greitens in Missouri 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 BurrEmboldened Trump takes aim at GOP foes NC Republican primary key test of Trump's sway The 19 GOP senators who voted for the T infrastructure bill MORE (R-N.C.) has shown integrity, honor and patriotism as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, in contrast to Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesLIVE COVERAGE: Ways and Means begins Day 2 on .5T package Biden faces unfinished mission of evacuating Americans Nunes sues MSNBC, alleging Rachel Maddow defamed him 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) MuellerSenate Democrats urge Garland not to fight court order to release Trump obstruction memo Why a special counsel is guaranteed if Biden chooses Yates, Cuomo or Jones as AG Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel 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 RosensteinWashington still needs more transparency House Judiciary to probe DOJ's seizure of data from lawmakers, journalists The Hill's Morning Report - Biden-Putin meeting to dominate the week MORE.
Others in the Fredo Corleone faction haplessly seek to take away the security clearances of former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Still in the game: Will Durham's report throw a slow curveball at key political players? UFOs are an intriguing science problem; Congress must act accordingly MORE, former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence James ClapperJames Robert ClapperAfghanistan disaster puts intelligence under scrutiny Domestic security is in disarray: We need a manager, now more than ever Will Biden provide strategic clarity or further ambiguity on Taiwan? 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 CohenAndrew Cuomo and the death of shame Prosecutors considered charging Trump Organization CFO with perjury: report Michael Wolff and the art of monetizing gossip 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.Don TrumpHow Trump uses fundraising emails to remain undisputed leader of the GOP Donald Trump Jr. joins Cameo Book claims Trump family members were 'inappropriately' close with Secret Service agents MORE told Donald Trump Sr.Donald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol 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.