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 BarrThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign Justin Amash confirms collusion witch hunt was all about politics MORE was allowed to launch a narrative favorable to Trump that obscured the actual findings of special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerHouse progressive: Pelosi 'has it right' on impeachment Democrats talk subpoena for Mueller Democratic Rep. Ro Khanna: 'I'm not there yet' on impeachment MORE, we have been stuck in a rigorous tug-of-war.

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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 PutinTop European official accuses Trump, Putin of trying to weaken EU Gridlock in Moldova's government helps Russia and Putin What the Mueller report tells us about Putin, Russia and Trump's election 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 NadlerDemocrats are running out of stunts to pull from impeachment playbook Trump asks if Nadler will look into Clinton's 'deleted and acid washed' emails Trump tweets conservative commentator's criticism of FBI director 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 TrumpFeinstein, Iranian foreign minister had dinner amid tensions: report The Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Harris readies a Phase 2 as she seeks to rejuvenate campaign 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 Patricia D'Alesandro PelosiThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump says no legislation until Dems end probes Threat of impeachment takes oxygen out of 2019 agenda Trump denies 'tantrum' in meeting with Pelosi: 'It is all such a lie!' 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. 

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While Trump and the administration will continue to stonewall, it is heartening that on the Senate side, Intel Committee Chairman Richard BurrRichard Mauze BurrDOJ plans to show Senate Intel less-redacted Mueller report, filing shows Bipartisan House bill calls for strategy to protect 5G networks from foreign threats Overnight 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 MORE (R-N.C.) agrees with Democrats that we need more information and has issued a subpoena to Donald Trump Jr.Donald (Don) John TrumpDonald Trump Jr. inks book deal Cohen 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 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.