Conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin is among the chorus of people shocked and appalled by the news that Russia put a bounty on the heads of American soldiers in Afghanistan. However, she warned, Republicans aren't going to do anything about it.
Her Tuesday column cited the report following the GOP briefing at the White House on Monday in which it was revealed that there is an ongoing investigation into this information. The news came after President Donald Trump said that the story was false, possibly made up by the New York Times and that he wasn't briefed on it. The Times reported that spies and commandos knew in January about the bounties and Trump was briefed in February.
"We still do not know whether Trump was egregiously indifferent to intelligence matters or willing to let Russian President Vladimir Putin pay militants to kill our troops," wrote Rubin. "The latter sounds horrendous even for Trump, but the former underscores just how unfit he is to serve as commander in chief."
Republicans who learned about the news and are furious over the fact that a commander-in-chief wouldn't fight to protect American soldiers might provide outstanding soundbites on Twitter or cable news, but as Rubin notes, they won't do anything.
"Republicans’ tougher language rings hollow in light of their attitude toward Trump’s past betrayal of American interests," said Rubin.
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX) called it "concerning" that Trump wasn't made aware of the reports, as Trump claimed on Monday.
"Unfortunately, they were not concerned when it really mattered as to whether Trump had betrayed U.S. interests by holding back aid to Ukraine in the middle of a hot war against Russia. Trump, it seems, is willing to give a hand to Russian fighters — just not Americans," Rubin pointed out.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) threatened “vigorous oversight," which Rubin called "laughable," since Rubio has never cared about anything illegal Trump has done before. Why would he now?
Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) thinks that it is very troubling.
“I’ve been hearing from military families in Nebraska constantly for the last 36 hours, and they’re livid,” he said. “This is a story about the targeting of American men and women in uniform. This is about putting crosshairs on the backs of people who are fighting for our freedom. This is not about short-term politics.”
He wants an investigation. Realistically, however, Sasse's leadership on holding anyone accountable has been laughable. The closest he's ever come to real true leadership was a floor speech that earned him generous interviews on cable news and generated brief hope that Washington might finally hold someone in the White House accountable.
Then again, Sasse "has had the benefit of former national security adviser John Bolton’s revelations and has heard the overwhelming evidence of impeachable conduct during Trump’s Senate trial," wrote Rubin." Now, we are expected to believe that Sasse really, really wants to know what is going on?"
Republicans can read polls, she noted, and now that most of them have made it through the primary, they're desperate to pivot to hang onto their elected seats while the Albatross of presidential polls drag them underwater.
"Do not hold your breath. There is zero chance they will do anything, Rubin wrote. "Or even seek to enforce subpoenas if Trump again stonewalls. They know there is no good explanation for Trump’s conduct, so now they want the voters to know they really, really do not like Trump siding with Russia. This is 3½ years too late. They have helped create a monster in the Oval Office, someone willing to betray U.S. interests for his own personal or political ends. Without their continued support, Trump would not be in office, still endangering American national security."
She closed by explaining that it isn't just Trump who failed those serving overseas, it's Republicans in the House and Senate, who "failed in the most basic obligation to protect and defend the Constitution and to bring to heel foreign adversaries. Voters can render their verdict in November, one that we hope will be more attuned to facts, logic and patriotic duty than the Senate’s verdict on impeachment."