Deal with the Devil

Published: October 11, 2019

By Jim Lichtman
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Wednesday’s commentary was an attempt to put a light spin on what has grown into a clear constitutional crisis amid the silence of most Republicans.

After Trump’s surprise announcement that he will pull American troops from Syria and abandon not only the Kurds who are struggling to fight ISIS, but our allies, Senate Republicans are silent no more.

“This betrayal of the Kurds will also severely harm our credibility as an ally the world over,” Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.) said in a statement. “President Trump should rethink this decision immediately.”

Stalwart supporter Lindsey Graham said on Twitter, “So sad. So dangerous. President Trump may be tired of fighting radical Islam. They are NOT tired of fighting us.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who defended Trump when he said that the president was not serious when he called on China to investigate Biden, said of his announcement, “If reports about US retreat in #Syria are accurate, the Trump administration has made a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria.”

Mitch McConnell said in a statement, “A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”

Trump’s abrupt withdrawal even caught evangelical supporter Pat Robertson off guard. “I am absolutely appalled that the United States is going to betray those democratic forces in northern Syria, that we’re possibly going to allow the Turkish to come in against the Kurds,” said Robertson, who once called Trump “God’s man for this job,” as reported by Fox News (Oct. 8). He told his viewers that the president is “in danger of losing the mandate of heaven if he permits this to happen.”

This is what happens when you make a deal with the devil. As long as you don’t cross him and his beloved “base”; as long as you hold your nose and remain silent about his tweets; as long as you look the other way when he illegally asks foreign leaders to help in the upcoming election; as long as it doesn’t directly impact you and your reelection, the deal works. After all, who cares if you lose your soul in the process.

Now, when he makes another impulsive decision that could have serious consequences for us and our allies, they have second thoughts.

However, it’s not too late to change; it’s not too late to stand up and do what’s right for the country.

Meanwhile, back at whistleblower central, according to ABC News (Oct. 6), “Mark Zaid, the attorney representing the whistleblower who sounded the alarm on President Donald Trump’s dealing with Ukraine… tells ABC News that he is now representing a second whistleblower who has spoken with the inspector general.

“…the second person — also described as an intelligence official — has first-hand knowledge of some of the allegations outlined in the original complaint and has been interviewed by the head of the intelligence community’s internal watchdog office, Michael Atkinson.”

Now word comes that “Two associates of the president’s private lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani who helped fund efforts to investigate one of President Trump’s political rivals, were charged with violating campaign finance laws in a new criminal case that touched on their work in Ukraine and alleged financial ties to Russia,” The New York Times writes (Oct. 10).

“ ‘This investigation is about corrupt behavior — deliberate lawbreaking,’ Geoffrey S. Berman, the United States attorney for the Southern District of New York said.”

“ ‘Protecting the integrity of our elections — and protecting our elections from unlawful foreign influence — are core functions of our campaign finance laws,’ he said.”

Meanwhile, back on the impeachment front, after the House requested documents of the White House and State Department as well as testimony from State Department officials, “White House counsel Pat Cipollone sent a letter to congressional Democrats saying the administration would refuse to cooperate with the probe of President Trump’s effort to have Ukraine investigate former Vice President Joe Biden…” The Wall Street Journal reports (Oct. 8).

To quote former Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, “The notion that you can withhold information and documents from Congress no matter whether you are the party in power or not in power is wrong.”

Gowdy now represents the president in fighting Congress over impeachment. With Trump, there’s always room for one more disciple.



  1. Another good one, Jim.

    You always include things I had not heard, no matter how bad: “Mitch McConnell said in a statement, “A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime…ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”

    On another ethical front, a utility company can turn off the electricity just because the wind is blowing…

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