Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Why VP Pence Lies so Hard to Maintain the Trump fantasy

It’s déjà vu all over again.

As the Trump Russia story continues to stutter forward, comparisons to Watergate are everywhere — and justifiably so. 

The revelations and denials, the slow unraveling of deception, the critical role of a free and independent press challenging the cover-up and digging for the truth are all very familiar, especially to those of us who actually were in Washington back during those peculiar days and nights of Richard Nixon.

But another inside-the-Beltway, historic parallel struck me last week when reports emerged of House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-CA) suddenly jumping from his Uber car into another and covertly racing to the White House grounds, where he met with who-knows-who about who-knows-what. 

(The New York Times reported on Thursday that White House officials Ezra Cohen-Watnick and Michael Ellis gave Nunes access to “intelligence reports that showed President Trump and his associates were incidentally swept up in foreign surveillance by American spy agencies.” Early Thursday evening, The Washington Post added to the list John Eisenberg, legal adviser to the National Security Council.)

When it comes to paralleling Nunes and his car switcheroo, there hasn’t been such noteworthy bolting from a vehicle in the District of Columbia since a South American stripper named Fanne Foxx dashed from the limousine of House Ways and Means Chairman Wilbur Mills and jumped into the Tidal Basin. 

That was in 1974, just a couple of months after Nixon’s resignation. Foxe and Rep. Mills were having an affair and soon after his companion’s 2 a.m. dip, Mills, who was considered by many to be the most powerful man on Capitol Hill, had to give up his chairmanship. Foxe had her 15 minutes of fame, during which her exotic dancer sobriquet was changed from “The Argentine Firecracker” to “The Tidal Basin Bombshell.”

No word as to what Rep. Nunes’ stripper name will be, but I’m open to suggestions. Certainly Devin “D for Dumb” Nunes is a real possibility. Which brings to mind another congressional highlight of 1974, and I’m not talking about the superb work of the House Judiciary Committee passing articles of impeachment against Nixon. It also was the year that a start-up magazine, New Times, made a splash with its cover story naming, “The 10 Dumbest Members of Congress.” It was written by Nina Totenberg, now NPR’s star legal affairs correspondent.

No. 1 on her list was Sen. William Scott, Republican from Virginia, a one termer whose stupid-is-as-stupid-does behavior reportedly included racist and anti-Semitic remarks.

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