Now, once again, we find ourselves desperately counting on the courts and an independent press to help protect us. We can't depend on but a handful of Republican senators and House members who have come forward. They've called for more thorough investigations by the House and Senate intelligence committees, and that's a start, but in this current Congress, it's more than likely that a truly, impartial, transparent, honest inquiry will be stymied and quashed.
That's why we continue to insist that only an open and public, independent, bipartisan investigation can determine if Trump and his pals actually colluded with Putin's intelligence agencies to influence the 2016 election, and whether they came to power obligated to carry out the wishes of a foreign power.
Here's what former Democratic House member Lee Hamilton -- who was vice chair of the independent 9/11 Commission -- just told Karen Tumulty of The Washington Post: "Very aggressive leadership is necessary," he said. "There's just an awful lot out there that needs to be clarified and investigated independently by people who do not have an interest in the outcome of the investigation. I am doubtful that the Congress can put together a very robust investigation. Their performance on oversight in recent years has been deplorable -- timid and not robust enough."
In the '50s, the red-baiting Joseph McCarthy was brought down not just by newsman Edward R. Murrow and the compassionate but scathing attorney Joseph Welch, but also by Republican senators who said enough is enough. During Watergate, Richard Nixon was not undone solely by The Washington Post and the justices of the Supreme Court, but also by Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee who voted for his impeachment and the senators who came to him in the White House and said it is time for you go.
We have to remind you of something: Those Republicans who stand by watching all of this, silently, in the hope that in return for their obeisance they will get away with forcing a right-wing agenda of privatization, deregulation and inequality upon the nation, should keep in mind that when survivors look back upon a time of acute crisis, those who are remembered are not the spineless and opportunistic who hoped to snag a piece of the action. Rather, it is the men and women who rose in defiance and said this betrayal of what my country is supposed to be will not stand.
Republicans, there is a name for those who take the moral high ground and fight back: heroes. When all is said and done, how will you be remembered?*Michael Winship is the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and BillMoyers.com, and a former senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos. Follow him on Twitter at @MichaelWinship.