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GOP had 11 chances to stop Trump before the current funding fiasco – but failed to: conservative columnist

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Senators Mitch McConnell, Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee (Reuters Yuri Gripas)

A government shutdown appeared inevitable Friday, as President Donald Trump doubled down on his pledge to allow the workings of government to grind to a halt.

The chances of a shut down are “probably very good” the President confirmed in a press briefing Friday morning.

The domestic crisis overlaps with foreign policy turmoil, with Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis resigning Thursday in protest of President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw US troops from Syria.

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Conservative columnist Jennifer Rubin writes in the Washington Post that even with all of the chaos issuing from the White House, Republicans refuse to take any number of actions that might rein in the President. And there’s a lot they could have done over the last two years.

“Republicans are responsible for the Trump fiasco,” Rubin says.

“We have gotten to this sorry stage of events because Republican lawmakers shielded him from scrutiny and indulged his lies, racist rhetoric and attacks on democratic norms. To make matters worse, Republican senators refused to reject unqualified or extreme nominees,” she adds.

Here are 11 ways the GOP could have stopped Trump, according to Rubin, but opted not to.

1. They could have taken concrete action by blocking his nominees until the completion of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. But they didn’t.

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“Not a single Republican senator has committed to delaying confirmation of key Cabinet nominees until the special counsel’s report is complete,” Rubin writes.

2. Then there are his mysterious tax records, an issue from campaign season that’s never been resolved. “Not a single Republican lawmaker has committed to bipartisan legislation forcing Trump to turn over his tax records and divest himself of his businesses.”

3. None have called for his resignation or even seemed especially opposed to a second term.

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“Not a single Republican member of Congress has declined to endorse him for reelection. (Do they actually think he deserves reelection, or is even fit to govern?),” she writes.

“And certainly none has called for him to resign for, if nothing else, his endemic lying and effort to defraud voters during the 2016 election (e.g., lying about pursuit of business deals with a foreign foe, hiding payments to women).”

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4. There’s the President’s failure on the national disaster front. “Not a single Republican chairman has conducted an oversight hearing on the handling of Hurricane Maria,’ she writes.

5. The conflicts of interest that continue to bedevil the administration, such as: “Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’s serial failures to disclose and divest himself of stocks posing a conflict of interest.”

6. And: “administration officials’ repeated misuse of taxpayer money on travel.”

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7. And: “Jared Kushner’s and Ivanka Trump’s possible conflicts of interest.”

8. And: “Ivanka’s use of personal emails.”

9. And: “Mar-a-Lago members’ influence at the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

10. And: “Trump’s receipt of foreign emoluments.”

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11. And: “White House procedures for national security clearances or dozens of other incidents involving mismanagement or corruption.”

It’s an overwhelming list of misdeeds, any one one of which might be cause for long-standing controversy in previous administrations. Yet, thanks in part to GOP inaction, the news cycle seems to lurch on without much constraint being put on the president by members of his own party.


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Joy Reid: What’s the point of having laws if the president’s friends can break them without consequence?

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The recent pardon of ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn exasperated MSNBC's Joy Reid, who welcomed former federal prosecutors on her show Wednesday. She explained that President Donald Trump's opposition to "law and order" when it comes to his friends is just more example of Republican hypocrisy to which Americans have become accustomed.

"You know, and Congressman Lieu, you've got The Wall Street Journal going sort of deeper into some of the other things that he did," Reid said of Flynn. "This is not the guy we remember just chanting 'lock her up' at the 2016 Republican National Convention, which is what probably people know him for. Michael Flynn planned to forcibly kidnap a Muslim cleric living in the United States and deliver him to Turkey under the alleged proposal. Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr. were to be paid as much as $15 million to deliver him to the Turkish government, basically renditioning him for cash. Yet you have Lindsey Graham still Lindsey Grahaming calling it 'a great use of the pardon.' A-OK. Great job, Donald. I wonder what you make of this. I'm old enough to remember when Bill Clinton did a pardon for which Republicans would love to see him clacked in leg irons at the end of his presidency!"

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‘Last chapter in The Godfather’: Watergate prosecutor tears into Trump’s ‘continuing coverup’ of his associates’ Russia misdeeds

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On CNN Wednesday, former Watergate assistant special prosecutor Nick Akerman tore into outgoing President Donald Trump for his pardon of ex-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — and warned that a larger coverup is looming.

"I think you have to look at the big picture here," said Akerman. "The big picture is that this is part of the continuing coverup of Donald Trump's efforts to conceal what happened between his campaign in 2016 with the Russian government. It started with Jim Comey, his firing because he refused to basically give an oath of loyalty to Donald Trump. It continued when Robert Mueller was appointed, the continuing threats of firing Mueller and his staff. It continued with Roger Stone, who was — his sentence was commuted."

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Conservative Charlie Sykes tells Trump if he wants a pardon — he’ll have to admit he’s guilty first

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Editor and creator of The Bulwark, Charlie Sykes, told MSNBC's Joy Reid that the most "Trumpy" of things President Donald Trump could do is pardon himself ahead of leaving office in January.

After the president pardoned ret. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, it sparked new anticipation on how Trump will protect himself from prosecution after leaving office. Trump was alleged to have committed at least ten acts of obstruction of justice by special counsel Robert Mueller. In that case, the Justice Department followed the internal rule that sitting presidents could not be indicted. Then, it stands to reason that the Justice Department would also follow a 1974 memo from the same Office of Legal Counsel that said a president could not pardon himself.

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