History will judge sycophantic Republicans harshly

History will judge sycophantic Republicans harshly
© Greg Nash

The country is at a crossroads. We are facing an unprecedented breakdown in our democracy brought about by the Trump administration’s lies and violations of every norm and convention that have been sacrosanct since the birth of our country. 

Ever since the Mueller report came out and Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrFeinstein calls on Justice to push for release of Trump whistleblower report Clarence Thomas, Joe Manchin, Rudy Giuliani among guests at second state visit under Trump Democrats to seek ways to compel release of Trump whistleblower complaint MORE was allowed to launch a narrative favorable to Trump that obscured the actual findings of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerLewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network Mueller report fades from political conversation MORE, we have been stuck in a rigorous tug-of-war.

ADVERTISEMENT

On one side are the Democrats, who want to fulfill their constitutional responsibility of holding the administration accountable; on the other side are Republicans, who are doing everything they can to protect a corrupt commander in chief who has shown more loyalty to Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinMaher: Republicans 'right' to say Democrats 'never got over Trump's behavior' We, the People: A radical idea that must persist Trump's 'soldier of fortune' foreign policy MORE than to our own democratic institutions. 

To do their jobs, Democrats have been trying to obtain the entire Mueller report, including the underlying documentation and evidence that AG Barr astoundingly admitted he had not even read yet.

After the administration rebuffed the deadline to hand the report over, the House Judiciary Committee voted to hold AG Barr in contempt — a serious and rarely used move that underscores the gravity of Barr’s partisan-based intransigence. The full House vote is expected in a few days.  

As a result, President Trump exerted executive privilege over the entire Mueller report to get back at Congress’ contempt vote. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerPelosi: Lewandowski should have been held in contempt 'right then and there' Nadler's House committee holds a faux hearing in search of a false crime Lewandowski says he's under no obligation to speak truthfully to the media MORE (D-N.Y.) exclaimed that we are now in the midst of a “constitutional crisis.” He is right.

Trump’s belief that he is above the law and the unflinching support of his sycophantic members of Congress are weakening our democracy and dealing our Constitution a death by a thousand cuts.  

The question is: How will history judge congressional Republicans who have shielded and protected this unethical administration to the point of abdicating the constitutional duties of the branch to which they belong?

Republicans didn’t even seem to bat an eye when the Mueller report so clearly stated that there were at least 10 instances in which Trump appeared to obstruct justice. 

What's more, the main reason Mueller did not charge the president with a crime is because the Department of Justice guidelines say a sitting president cannot be indicted.

In fact, the Mueller report clearly states that if investigators would have been able to clear or exonerate the president, they would have. They could not, so they stated three times in the report they cannot exonerate him. 

Even with this, AG Barr took it upon himself to declare that Trump was clear of any obstruction charges when he did not have the authority to do so. We have also recently learned that Mueller wrote and called Barr to let him know that Barr’s characterization of the report was inaccurate. 

In addition, nearly 700 former prosecutors wrote a letter saying that Donald Trump would have been indicted for obstruction of justice if he wasn't president. 

What will it take for Republicans to finally open their eyes and understand the existential threat to the country that is Donald Trump? Do they really think that he has acted honorably, lawfully and in a manner worthy of the Office of the President of the United States? 

Or have they completely sold their souls to the devil of political expediency and thus are willing to endanger our democracy? Where is the point of no return for them? So far, sadly, we know the answer to that. 

Democrats, however, will not let our democracy sink into the depths of Trump’s putrid political swamp and will do what is necessary to hold this president accountable. 

Will it be easy? No. Facing pure obstinance from a president who fancies himself an autocrat and with no help from their Republican colleagues who have ceded their principles, Democrats will face headwinds unseen before now. 

But that will not dissuade them from their mission of finding the truth and acting on it no matter where it may lead. 

Many say Democrats are divided and do not agree on how to proceed — to impeach or not impeach. While the latter may be true, the former is not.

Democrats (along with many independents) all agree that President TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE has done something illegal and should be held accountable for the sake of our democracy's survival. 

Will it lead to impeachment? It is too early to tell. As Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTimeline: The Trump whistleblower complaint DC statehood push faces long odds despite record support Ukraine could badly damage both Donald Trump and the Democrats MORE (D-Calif.) said, Democrats will not impeach for political reasons. They will follow the truth and the facts. 

That is why Democrats are embarking on the investigations they need to execute and are asking for the materials they need to get to the bottom of the mess that Trump has created. 

ADVERTISEMENT

While Trump and the administration will continue to stonewall, it is heartening that on the Senate side, Intel Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrLawmakers applaud Trump's ban on flavored e-cigarettes Trump to hold campaign rally in North Carolina day before special House election Hoekstra emerges as favorite for top intelligence post MORE (R-N.C.) agrees with Democrats that we need more information and has issued a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpDemocrats introduce bill to block taxpayer-funded spending at Trump properties Trump dismisses NYT explanation on Kavanaugh correction The Hill's Morning Report - Trump takes 2020 roadshow to New Mexico MORE for him to appear again before the committee. 

But we need more Republicans with backbones to see the light and understand their true responsibility is not to Trump but to the American people and to our Constitution. 

Until that happens, all Americans should be outraged and not keep quiet about how Republicans and Trump are working together to undermine our democracy. 

Maria Cardona is a principal at the Dewey Square Group, a Democratic strategist and a CNN/CNN Español political commentator. Follow her on Twitter @MariaTCardona.