Paul Krugman: The Republican Party Is Just as Treasonous as Trump

After abruptly firing FBI director James Comey earlier this week, Donald Trump told NBC's Lester Holt on Thursday that Comey's dismissal was, at least in part, a product of "this Russia thing." (The thing in question is, of course, the Trump administration's alleged collusion with the Russian government.) It was a stunning admission, a sitting president openly acknowledging his obstruction of a federal investigation. Just don't expect a Republican-controlled Congress to draw up impeachment proceedings any time soon, warns Paul Krugman.

In his latest piece, the New York Times columnist compares the GOP to Judas Iscariot, betraying the American public for the equivalent of 500 silver coins—the spoils of a billion-dollar tax cut for the rich. Republicans have accused Democrats of being soft on communism during the Cold War and on terrorism since 9/11, he reasons, but confronted with circumstantial evidence of treason, a single congressman has called for a special prosecutor. Just six Republicans claim an independent investigation is in order. Krugman sees this as part of the conservative movement "returning to its roots":

Much has been made of Trump’s revival of the term “America First,” the name of a movement opposed to U.S. intervention in World War II. What isn’t often mentioned is that many of the most prominent America-firsters weren’t just isolationists, they were actively sympathetic to foreign dictators; there’s a more or less straight line from Charles Lindbergh proudly wearing the medal he received from Hermann Göring to Trump’s cordial relations with Rodrigo Duterte, the literally murderous president of the Philippines.

Krugman also argues that the GOP of 2017 bears virtually no resemblance to the GOP of the 1970s, which placed country over party when confronted with President Nixon's sweeping malfeasance. Citing the work of Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, he writes that the Republican Party "hasn’t just become 'ideologically extreme'; it is 'dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.'"

"It's time to face up to the scary reality here," Krugman concludes. "Most people now realize, I think, that Donald Trump holds basic American political values in contempt. What we need to realize is that much of his party shares that contempt."

Read Paul Krugman's column at the New York Times.

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