Among Donald Trump’s most vile traits that we saw in the 2016 election were his blatant bigotry and his willingness to abuse the law to persecute his enemies. Of course, neither of these are things he invented, but rather the inevitable outcome of what the Republican Party has been cultivating through the years with not so subtle language in right-wing media, and its endless and wasteful congressional investigations into Hillary Clinton’s email. The chanting of “Lock her up!” resonated particularly well with Republicans who were otherwise in doubt that their candidate could pull through.
How ironic it was, then, when Trump’s own foreign policy advisor, Michael Flynn, who first popularized the phrase, pleaded guilty to a felony less than a year into the Trump presidency. He’s hardly an anomaly, as Donald Trump’s cabinet seems to have more scandals than actual cabinet members, and most of his staunchest and earliest supporters have run afoul with the law. House Republicans Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins both got themselves re-elected last year despite having each been indicted on felony charges. Hunter’s federal charges involve campaign finance violations, accusations that have also been leveled against Donald Trump, while Collins is accused of insider trading.
As they await trial, the House Ethics Committee voted unanimously to extend probes into both men, as well as a third House Republican, David Schweikart, who has not been formally charged but is suspected of financial improprieties. While right-wing media might try to accuse the Democrats of being partisan with these probes, these votes to investigate were unanimous, including all five Democrats and all five Republicans on the committee.
We aren’t quite sure what the probe will reveal – possible dark money ties, or complicity in other crimes, or nothing at all – but it’s not something the Trump administration or most other House Republicans will want to be anywhere near. Probes into these three guys could mean the behavior of the other House Republicans will be more scrutinized than in the past – and they may decide their own troubles are more important than propping up Donald Trump.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making