Top Republican: It's OK if Trump says he'd collude with Russia since it's 'hypothetical'


House Minority Whip Steve Scalise defended Trump's admission of being open to colluding with foreign powers, saying it was 'hypothetical.'

Let the parade of GOP lawmakers twisting themselves into pretzels to defend their unethical and immoral leader commence.

On Thursday morning, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise sought to defend Trump's admission that he's open to illegally colluding with hostile foreign powers — such as Russia and China — in order to win reelection in 2020.

Scalise did so by saying that Trump was just discussing a "hypothetical" situation — as if that's true or somehow makes Trump's admission acceptable.

"I have been in many situations with [POTUS] where how he responded to a hypothetical question was treated very differently when he actually had to deal with a specific problem," Scalise said, according to Elizabeth Crisp, a reporter at the local Louisiana newspaper the Advocate. "How you deal with it in a hypothetical is different because it's not real."

Trump has given absolutely zero reasons for why the public should trust that he might act differently in an actual situation where a hostile foreign power seeks to collude with his campaign.

We already know how Trump and his campaign would act in that situation, as the Trump campaign gleefully welcomed Russia's interference in 2016 — as laid out in former special counsel Robert Mueller's report.

But Scalise isn't the only Republican lawmaker trying to let Trump off the hook for openly admitting that he'd allow a foreign government to once again interfere in our elections.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) — one of the most vulnerable Republican senators up for reelection in 2020 — pulled former Speaker Paul Ryan's favorite trick in the book by claiming to CNN that she hadn't seen Trump's comment on his willingness to collude. It's unclear how she could have missed it, unless she lives in a nuclear fallout shelter without any internet access, or goes through her day wearing both blindfolds and earplugs.

Other GOP lawmakers have also tried to avoid commenting on Trump's lawlessness by canceling interviews with reporters.

"A GOP lawmaker just canceled an interview with us this hour," CNN's Jim Sciutto tweeted. "I was going to ask about the president’s comments on accepting foreign campaign help. Still awaiting comment from a sitting Republican lawmaker. Anyone willing to answer this basic question, we will put you on our air."

Some Republican lawmakers have timidly said they disagree with Trump, while at the same time trying to turn the tide on Hillary Clinton using false equivalences.

"I think that's a dangerous territory," Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn told CNN's Manu Raju of Trump's comment — while then attempting to pivot attention to Clinton for working with Fusion GPS on opposition research.

Let's make one thing clear: The Clinton campaign's work with Fusion GPS was not illegal — even the Republican Russia report says as much.

What is illegal is accepting dirt from hostile foreign governments on a political opponent, which is what Trump said he's totally OK with and would not report to the FBI.

Ultimately, Republicans will try any way they can to make Trump's admission of being a lawless and unethical operator look palatable to the public.

That's as shameful as it gets.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.