‘Say it ain’t so’? GOP leaders say, ‘So?’

They cheated. They got caught. They’re gone.

If only our nation were governed like Major League Baseball.

If it were, Donald Trump would take the same exit as Houston Astros manager A.J. Hinch and Boston Red Sox manager Joey Cora, confirmed cheaters and rule-breakers. They’re out, in baseball’s biggest scandal since the Chicago White Sox threw the 1919 World Series.

That bygone episode, the Black Sox scandal, immortalized the plaintive call to White Sox star Joe Jackson – “Say it ain’t so, Joe” – from a young believer in fair play.

Of course, that’s baseball. In the minor matter of heeding our Constitution, even as Republican senators swear to be true to it, they are prepared to give Trump a pass to do whatever he wants. We don’t need no stinking rules.

They are going to let him get away with breaking the law in freezing aid to Ukraine to facilitate a personal political vendetta, and insist as his lawyers are doing, that the American people are on trial. Or that a sitting president cannot be indicted.

Never mind that our government’s own watchdog – the non-partisan Government Accountability Office – says Trump broke the law in trying to wheedle and bully Ukraine’s new president to do his bidding with taxpayer money.

Republican senators are going to ignore assertions by many, including Rudy Giuliani’s pet Ukrainian, Lev Parnas, about Trump’s close coordination of the effort.

They’re going to ignore Parnas-supplied evidence that Team Trump had Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovich tailed.

They’re going to ignore credible accounts that Vice President Mike Pence, ex-energy secretary Rick Perry, chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Congressman Devin Nunes were in on this whole illegal gambit – bribing a foreign nation for a political favor.

Sen. Lindsey Graham has acknowledged all of the above, and so has Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in so many words.

Does anyone remember who was among the first to trot out the phrase “quid pro quo” as being pivotal to this matter? It was none other than Lindsey Graham.

It was October. Graham was in reflexive dismissive mode about the contents of the July 25 telephone call that has led to Trump’s impeachment.

Graham refused to give much weight to one phone call, but, said, “If you could show me that Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing.”

Yes, it would, Sen. Graham. It would be one corrupt president using the weight of the U.S. government, with life-or-death military aid attached, to cheat his way to re-election.

I’m still waiting for one other Republican – just one – to say what GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski said about this.

“If this set of facts were to be in front of me and the president was Hillary Clinton as opposed to President Donald Trump, would I be viewing this a different way? Because if I do, that’s wrong.”

We need not speculate what McConnell, Graham and Trump’s chief sycophants would say.

If any hint of these allegations were attached to a Democratic president, they’d come charging with bayonets.

And this applies to the host of matters identified by Robert Mueller that other prosecutors called clearly indictable.

Republicans would never cease to probe the role of a Roger Stone, a Paul Manafort, a Michael Flynn, a Rudy Giuliani with his shadow foreign policy if they were on “the other side.”

Add Vladimir Putin and his army of trolls. These are the mobsters of Trump’s Black Sox scandal. The players who cheated – the guys on our payroll – are Trump, Pence, Mulvaney, Perry and more.

Back to today’s baseball scandal: Contemplated the role of the players on the Astros and Red Sox who benefited from the cheating, broadcaster Bob Costas observed that the players were observing the “Code of Omerta” a Sicilian oath of silence to shield rule-breakers.

They are the cheaters who prosper.

As are Pence. McConnell. Graham. Nunes. Pompeo. Perry – the whole bunch: They should be banned from the sport. Of course, this isn’t baseball.

Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado.


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