While Donald Trump sleeps


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Look closely and you can see the Republican Party forming a circular firing squad. The trigger was the much-delayed vote last weekend on $61 billion in aid to Ukraine. The Republicans were almost evenly divided. The difference between a yes and a no on Ukraine was much bigger than Ukraine; it represents irreconcilable worldviews. Even Donald Trump, who sits absently, day after day, in a dingy New York courtroom, cannot bridge the divide between globalist and anti-globalist Republicans.

They see each other as enemies. “It’s an absolute honor to be in Congress, but I serve with some real bastards,” said Tony Gonzales, a Texas Republican, before referring to his “neo-Nazi” primary challenger who is supported by some of his colleagues in the House. “These people walked around at night with white hoods. Now they walk around in white hoods during the day. Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader of the Senate, is only slightly less direct: “Much of the hesitation and the myopia that has delayed this moment is based on pure fiction,” he said of the financing of the Ukraine.

The last and most important Republican breach was caused by an unexpected display of courage. House Speaker and die-hard evangelist Mike Johnson experienced a moment on the road to Damascus when U.S. intelligence officials outlined to him the dire fate of Ukraine if the House failed to resolve keep his promises. Ukraine’s unlikely savior remains a 2020 election denier. Another routine conspirator, Newt Gingrich – who was one of Johnson’s predecessors as president in the 1990s – urged him to support the Ukraine and to hell with the consequences. “Brave men only die once,” Gingrich said. “A coward kills a hundred people. »

Johnson took those words to heart. The price could pose a challenge to his presidency when the House returns next week. What’s even more infuriating for Johnson’s critics is that his change of heart was prompted by an extensive state briefing. It is an article of faith among Trumpians that the CIA, FBI, and Departments of Justice and Homeland Security are sources of globalist propaganda. This makes Johnson a traitor not only to their main foreign policy cause, which is that Ukraine must submit to Russia; his decision also rebuked their narrative about Washington. If Johnson can believe the CIA on Ukraine, could he also take other national security briefings to heart?

Yet the vote was only a weak indicator of future behavior. Trump appears to have allowed this to happen in a fit of distraction. He had spent the previous four days struggling to keep his eyes open while lawyers argued over jury selection for his secret criminal trial. Part of Trump’s fatigue undoubtedly came from his nightly social media activity, which includes alleged violations of the judge’s order of silence. The fact that Trump is not allowed to use his smartphone in court and has been repeatedly asked to sit down cannot help his energy. He still has six weeks to go. No member of his family has yet joined him in court. Melania Trump, the former and possible future first lady, is unlikely to go anywhere near a scene in which Stormy Daniels, the porn star who allegedly slept with her husband (which Trump denies), is expected to speak .

Whatever the outcome of the trial and its effects on public opinion, Trump will come back strong once the trial is over. But a spell was broken in the House last Saturday. For the polite fiction of calling some of the aid a loan, Trump gave Joe Biden and Ukraine – the two names that cover his impeachments and election defeat – a timely reprieve. The House also passed a bill authorizing Biden to seize $6 billion in frozen reserves from Russia for Ukraine. Most of the rest of Russia’s $300 billion in foreign assets is in Europe. The Kremlin was not happy. “We fully expected it,” said Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, with an impassive face. Putin’s predecessor as president, Dmitry Medvedev, called for a new American civil war that would “lead to the inglorious breakup of the evil empire of the 21st century.”

It is far more likely that the Republicans will escalate into their own civil war. Nearly half the party – 101 voted yes, 112 voted no – are now committed to positions well beyond the Ukrainian battlefield. Trump, in his acquiescence, is now also strangely linked to these positions. The idea that Biden conspired with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to harm Trump’s 2020 electoral prospects is now considered absurd. The same goes for the idea that Putin represents an exaggerated risk or is actually a friend. If Ukraine was worth an additional $61 billion, how could it pose a threat to American democracy? Perhaps the courtroom narrowed Trump’s field of vision so much that he failed to understand what he had agreed to outside the courtroom.

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