Republican Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), who retired from the U.S. Senate in 2007 as its majority leader, penned an op-ed in the Washington Post imploring Republicans and Congress to protect Mueller. The point of his op-ed is pretty clear from the title: “The Senate I led put country over party. This one must do the same for Robert Mueller.” Country over party? That seems like a novel idea for the Republican party these days. Washington Post:
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is under assault, and that is wrong. No matter who is in the White House, we Republicans must stand up for the sanctity of our democracy and the rule of law…But we can’t look the other way as, tweet by tweet, with each new assault on the Justice Department’s independence, the bedrock principles of our party crumble.
Frist makes arguments that you will often hear in the media, as long as you avoid Fox News, and what his first crop of lawyers seemed to have been telling him. Arguments like attacking Mueller doesn’t do Trump or the Republican party any good:
It isn’t easy to tell a president of your own party that he is wrong. But the assault on Mueller’s investigation does not help the president or his party.
And how about this obvious one: talking about firing Mueller or throwing out hints of presidential pardons makes you look guilty:
When Trump talks about firing the special counsel or his power to pardon himself, he makes it seem as though he has something to hide. The president must remember that only Mueller’s exoneration can lift the cloud hanging over the White House.
And what about the obvious: Robert Mueller is not out of control, and his investigation is producing results:
I have worried over the years about runaway legal authority, and I’ve battled against activist judges. I don’t worry about Robert Mueller. He is a lifelong Republican…[a]nd his investigation is getting results: By any objective standard, he has moved swiftly, obtaining 23 indictments and five guilty pleas in just more than a year.
These are facts that Trump need reminding of. Mueller is a Republican, and he is getting results, counter to the claims by Trump and his lemming followers. If Trump was an innocent man, then he should act like one and let the investigation run its course without interference.
To be fair, Frist claims to believe that Trump did not collude with Russia:
I, for one, do not think the president colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin to win the 2016 election.
That is a comfortable position to take. Publically state that you do not think Trump conspired with Russia and at the same time support the Mueller investigation. Then when Mueller ultimately proves that Trump colluded–since it is clear that Trump is guilty of something by his actions–then you can say how surprised you are and praise yourself for supporting the investigation that uncovered this treasonous behavior.
It’s such a comfortable position to take that I don’t know more Republicans aren’t taking it. There must be some other motivation. Perhaps they are too afraid to show any hint of disloyalty to Trump for fear he attacks them on Twitter, turning his rabid base against them, and sewering their hopes from re-election. Country over party? How about some country over cowardly pandering in one’s self-interest?
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.