Trump’s chances of being impeached or led out in handcuffs got a huge boost with Republicans pushing back on his faux Spygate scandal and his claim that he can pardon himself.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that Republican Speaker of the House Paul Ryan “has joined those disputing President Trump’s assertion that federal law enforcement planted a spy inside his campaign, telling reporters Wednesday that he has seen ‘no evidence’ to support such claims.”
Ryan (R-Wis.) said he thought “Chairman [Trey] Gowdy’s initial assessment is accurate.” He was referring to last week, when Gowdy (R-S.C.), chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said on Fox News that “the FBI did exactly what my fellow citizens would want them to do” in investigating information alleging certain Trump campaign advisers had suspicious ties to Russia, “and that it has nothing to do with Donald Trump.”
“Normally I don’t like to comment on classified briefings,” Ryan said. “Let me say it this way: I think Chairman Gowdy’s initial assessment is accurate. I think — but we have some more digging to do. We’re waiting for some more document requests. We have some more documents to review. We still have some unanswered questions. But I have seen no evidence to the contrary of the initial assessment that Chairman Gowdy has made.”
Continuing their article, The Washington Post reported that “Ryan also shot a careful retort at Trump’s assertion this week that, as president, he is entitled to pardon himself should Mueller’s probe unearth evidence of crimes. At the same time, Trump said that he had done nothing wrong.”
“I don’t know the technical answer to that question,” Ryan, who is not a lawyer like Gowdy, stated. “But I think obviously the answer is, he shouldn’t and no one is above the law.”
CNN reported that Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr joined Ryan in breaking with Trump, stating that he, too, thought Gowdy’s assessment was correct.
“I think that Trey Gowdy’s description of the process was correct,” Burr said.
Making matters worse, not only has the lead Republican in the House broken with Trump, The Guardian reported that Mitch McConnell has split with Trump as well.
The US Senate’s Republican leader, Mitch McConnell, also discouraged talk of a self-pardon by Trump on Tuesday.
“Let me just tell you that from – from my perspective – I don’t think the president needs any advice on pardoning himself,” McConnell told reporters. “He obviously knows that would not be something that he would or should do.”
Continuing their article, CNN reported on the significance of this break:
The declarations by the leading Republicans are the latest indications that Trump lacks any evidence to back up his claims of a major political scandal he calls “spygate” — since those lawmakers were among a select group briefed on the classified intelligence at issue. The only Republican briefed on the intelligence who has yet to break from Trump is Rep. Devin Nunes, the House Intelligence chairman who has demanded more documents as part of his investigation.
Trump has been investing enormous political capitol on his faux “spygate” claim in an effort to avoid impeachment and/or possible criminal prosecution, making this split by leading Republicans significant.