THE BIG IDEA: Sunday started with President Trump’s former homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, saying he was “deeply disturbed” by the implications of his call to the Ukrainian president and ended with a GOP congressman, Adam Kinzinger, calling one of Trump’s tweets “beyond repugnant.”
While key Republicans have rallied to the president’s defense since House Democrats opened an impeachment inquiry last week, the bookends to the day underscore the riskiness of a scorched-earth defense strategy that is predicated on an insistence that Trump did absolutely nothing wrong.
The president is running the smashmouth playbook he learned from Roy Cohn, his mentor and Joe McCarthy’s hatchet man. It’s worked repeatedly for Trump, from fighting the Justice Department’s investigation of racial discrimination at his family’s rental properties in the 1970s to overcoming Bob Mueller’s investigation the past two years. Among other things, this strategy involves denying everything and counterattacking critics by accusing them of whatever you’ve been accused of.
The don’t-give-an-inch mentality is what prompts someone like White House policy adviser Stephen Miller to declare on “Fox News Sunday” that “the president of the United States is the whistleblower, and this individual is a saboteur trying to undermine a democratically elected government.” And it is why Trump allows Rudy Giuliani, his ferocious personal attorney, to keep defending him on television despite the messes he seems to make each time he goes on the air.