There is nothing liberal or progressive about Ohio conservative Republican Mike Turner— unless the definition of “conservative” has changed to “fascist.” Turner defeated Dayton mayor Clay Dixon (D) and served 2 terms (1994-2002) as a business-oriented before being narrowly beaten by Rhine McLin (D) in 2001. In 2002 when Democrat Tony Hall retired from Congress, Turner was elected to the seat by a wide margin, after the Republican legislature gerrymandered the district to start electing Republicans. In the latest round of redistricting OH-10 went from an R+9 partisan lean to R+10. Trump won within the new boundaries 50.9% to 47.4%. On the same day, Turner beat Democrat Desiree Tims 58.4% to 41.6%, outpolling Trump by a wide margin and winning all 3 counties, Montgomery (which Trump lost), Greene and Fayette.
Turner is a member of the right-wing Republican Study Committee and of the more mainstream Republican Main Street Partnership. He’s also the chair of the House Intelligence Committee and a senior member of the Armed Services Committee. When it came out that Trump had stolen large numbers of classified documents, Turner was one of the Republicans who went to the media to lie about the seriousness of what Trump had done. On Fox he claimed that the theft of the documents and his refusal to turn them over was “more like a bookkeeping issue than it is a national security threat, which means it doesn’t rise to the level of justifying raiding the former president’s home.”
Trump— never loyal to anyone but himself— denounced Turner last week as a “RINO piece of garbage.” That may have finally encouraged Turner to tell the truth about the seriousness of Trump’s crimes. Yesterday he was Jake Tapper’s guest on CNN’s State of the Union and admitted that the documents found at Mar-a-Lago are “certainly of grave concern… with respect to this litigation, it's going to go forward. And I'm certainly not going to defend the behavior that is listed in that complaint. But they're going to have to prove it. And it's a legal process that's going to have to go forward.” So, presumably no more bullshit from Turner about “bookkeeping issues.”
Mark Esper was also on State of the Union yesterday. Trump’s former Secretary of Defense, told Jake Tapper that he thinks Señor T shouldn’t have access to any national secrets in the future. “It’s just irresponsible action that places our service members at risk, places our nation’s security at risk. You cannot have these documents floating around. They need to be secured. We know how that happens, that only authorized persons are allowed to see documents or receive information from documents… Imagine if a foreign agent, another country were to discover documents that outline America’s vulnerabilities or the weaknesses of the United States military. Think about how that could be exploited, how that could be used against us in a conflict, how an enemy could develop countermeasures, things like that. Or in the case of the most significant piece that was raised in the allegation about U.S. plans to attack Iran, think about how that affects our readiness, our ability to prosecute an attack.”
And speaking of former Trump allies who have turned on him, Trump’s former Attorney General William Barr was on Face the Nation yesterday. He told Bob Costa the Trump “provoked this whole problem himself… He’s a fundamentally flawed person who engages in reckless conduct that leads to calamitous situations like this which are very destructive and hurt any political cause he’s associated with.”
Barr emphasized that Trump “had no right to those documents. The government tried for over a year quietly and with respect to get them back and he jerked them around. He had no legal basis for keeping them. But beyond that, when he faced a subpoena, he didn’t raise any legal arguments. He engaged in a. Course of deceitful conduct according to the indictment. That was a clear crime.”
Asked if he believes that Trump lied to the Justice Department, Barr said, “Yes, I do… Trump’s conduct is indefensible… Should we [the GOP] be putting someone like this forward as the leader of the country, leader of the free world, who’s engaged in this kind of conduct? This is not just an isolated example… The fact of the matter is, he is a consummate narcissist and he constantly engages in reckless conduct that puts his political followers at risk and the conservative and Republican agenda at risk. He will always put his own interests and gratifying his own ego ahead of everything else, including the country’s interests; there’s no question about it. This is a perfect example of that.
He’s like a defiant 9 year old kid who’s always pushing the glass toward the edge of the table defying his parents to stop him from doing it. It’s a means of self-assertion and exerting his dominance over other people. He’s a very petty individual who will always put his interests ahead of the country’s, his personal gratification of his ego. Our country can’t be a therapy session for a troubled man like this.”
And let’s not forget what his old pal Chris Christie wants Republicans and independent voters to remember about Señor T. “Trump, if you believe what he said when they left, that means he didn’t pick the very best people and doesn’t know how to pick personnel. If you believe what— about them what he said at the beginning, the great stuff, then this guy is the worst manager in the history of the American presidency. Either way, Republicans should listen to what he says. He’s a petulant child when someone disagrees with him… if you disagree with Donald Trump, the petulant child comes out and he calls you names.”
Another former GOP partisan, Charlie Sykes, is now distinguishing between the original NeverTrumpers and a new group “from inside the house,” as he put it, who he calls “Never Again Trump.”