President Trump: We have great, great relationships with the people in the Rupublican Party. But they don’t fight dirty. As an example with subpoenas. You take a look at Paul Ryan when he was Speaker. He wouldn’t give em! I’m not even knocking him for that. He wouldn’t give em. He thought it was inappropriate. Jim Jordan, Mark Meadows, all of the guys wanted, Gaetz, all of them. Matt Gaetz. I could name 25 people. These are incredible people. They wanted subpoenas to investigate all of the corruption that they found. Horrible, horrible corruption. Paul Ryan would say, “Well, wait a minute, slow down. Let’s come back next week.” They would come back, they wouldn’t get it. She hands them out like their cookies!
Later, in the runup to the 2018 Midterm elections, Ryan appears to have deliberately sabotaged Republican efforts and to have helped lose the House to the Dems. The NYT, How the House Fell: Republican Chaos and Democratic Focus, notes:
While he promised to keep raising money for fellow Republicans, Mr. Ryan’s contributions to the party would steadily decline; in the last fund-raising quarter of the campaign, his political committee transferred a paltry $1.4 million to the N.R.C.C., less than some first-time Democratic candidates raised for themselves.
I've long believed that at least some GOPe senators played into that perfidious game. My reasoning wasn't based on inside information but on the simple belief that the Russia Hoax could not have gone as far as it did without institutional support within key Senate committees (and bear in mind that the Majority leader doesn't have the degree of control in the senate that a Speaker has in the House).
Yesterday, regarding the Senate, I noted:
How does Impeachment Theater figure into [the struggle to regain control over the IC]? Impeachment Theater works in different directions, but it seems clear at this point that legislators, including Republicans, were involved in the coup plot. From this vantage point, Impeachment Theater could be--in part--a defense against an ascendant Barr whose lifelong determination to protect the Executive from Congress could lead him to target those legislators. McConnell's seeming openness to an impeachment trial could, from this standpoint, be an opening gambit to come to a more amicable settlement.
It's important to view this from McConnell's standpoint. As leader of a fundamental governmental institution, his job and duty is above all to safeguard that institution--but also to safeguard his party's position within that institution, all else being equal.
I personally believe McConnell was too smart to associate himself with overt NeverTrump actitivites. That doesn't mean that he has supported Trump's agenda. He hasn't, except on a selective basis. Nevertheless he almost certainly--again, IMO--understands that at this point Trump is the leader his party for electoral purposes and is a veritable juggernaut. McConnell is not one to look that type of gift horse in the mouth.
At the same time, however, McConnell will seek to protect his fellow GOPe senators who played a fool's game by colluding with the Russia Hoaxers. Not out of love for them, not out of hatred for Trump, but out of a desire to protect party interests in maintaining a majority in the Senate. I don't believe that the number of GOPe fools comes anywhere close to the 20 defectors who would be needed to commit political suicide--removal of a Republican president on a relentless path toward reelection. However, to get an idea of who some of those fools are--beyond the obvious Pierre Delecto and the now departed and not lamented Bob Corker--sundance at CTH has a long rehearsal of what's been going on at the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for the past two years:
McConnell's dilemma is how to maintain his majority--a majority that Trump helped to build. McConnell will certainly understand Trump's interests in rooting out Dem perfidy and gaining control over the full Executive Branch, but he also knows that that could be a hollow victory without control over at least one chamber of Congress. Impeachment remains unlikely and removal is, in my opinion, a non-starter as a realistic possibility. But revelation of major Republican wrongdoing is a distinct possibility. McConnell will very much wish to communicate these concerns to Trump and to Barr. The need to communicate with Barr, discretely, arises from the fact that Barr's control over the ongoing investigation is almost complete. If he has obtained most of the documentation that he needs--especially in the form of NSA records--even the POTUS would have great difficulty in preventing Barr from following the investigative path to an end that could be very bitter not only for coup plotting bureaucrats but also for legislative NeverTrumpers of both parties.
All this is undoubtedly under discussion in Washington, in one form or another.