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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Linda Blackford: Dear Mitch McConnell: Are you happy now? Or are you worried about that military tribunal?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) smiles while giving speaking at the Graves County Republican Party Breakfast at WK&T Technology Park in Mayfield, Ky., on Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023.  (Ryan C. Hermens/Lexington Herald-Leader/TNS)
By Linda Blackford Lexington Herald-Leader

Dear Sen. McConnell,

Are you happy now?

Or are you and Liz Cheney making plans to head for the border with hopes that the Canadians will accept political refugees?

On Sunday on the Truth Social platform, Trump promoted posts calling for “televised military tribunals” for you and Liz and a lot of others.

“Elizabeth Lynne Cheney is guilty of treason,” the post said. “Retruth if you want televised military tribunals.” Trump promoted another post that called for the jailing of President Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, Sen. Chuck Schumer, former Vice President Mike Pence and you, Sen. McConnell.

It followed previous calls for revenge on Trump’s political enemies for all that he has been through.

But on Monday, the suggestion of political revenge didn’t look quite so crazy, what with the Supreme Court handing him the keys to whatever kingdom he desires, a kingdom without you or Liz or Chuck Schumer in it.

And on Monday, after Biden’s disastrous debate performance a week ago, Trump’s second term seemed much more assured.

Unlike Andy Barr and Jamie Comer and the other profoundly unserious members of the Kentucky delegation, you’ve been noticeably quiet, Sen. McConnell, ever since your hand-picked Supreme Court handed down that opinion on presidential immunity.

It’s an opinion that’s quite different from what you said back in February 2021 about why you voted against the impeachment proceedings that happened after he left office: “Trump is still liable for everything he did while he was in office. … We have a criminal justice system in this country. We have civil litigation and former presidents are not immune from being held accountable by either one.”

Except now, thanks to the Supreme Court, they are.

Presumably, since Trump was still in office on Jan. 6, he cannot be held responsible for inciting a coup because it was an official act.

As Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote in her dissent: “The President of the United States is the most powerful person in the country, and possibly the world. When he uses his official powers in any way, under the majority’s reasoning, he now will be insulated from criminal prosecution.

“Orders the Navy’s Seal Team 6 to assassinate a political rival? Immune. Organizes a military coup to hold onto power? Immune. Takes a bribe in exchange for a pardon? Immune. Immune, immune, immune.”

Senator, I know you’re not responsible for the ineptitude of a Democratic Party that refused to face the reality of its elderly standard-bearer. I can only imagine you’re sympathetic to your old friend and fellow octogenarian.

But you’re responsible for much else.

You’ve made it clear you saw it as good politics to block a president from an opposing party from confirmation of his Supreme Court pick. You loved Citizens United, the case that you ushered through the Supreme Court that allowed so much latitude for dark money to buy and sell our politicians. As it turned out, buying Supreme Court justices worked out pretty well, too.

Maybe unfettered corporations, untrammeled dark money, unlimited power for an unhinged president is worth the fall of democracy in your eyes.

But now we’re in that hoary old cliche of a perfect storm: A probable second term for Trump at the same time he’s been given the go-ahead from the Supreme Court to do anything he wants. Military tribunals will be just a start.

Then Trump can go on to hollowing out the federal bureaucracy – now unneeded, because thanks to the Chevron decision, corporations will be regulating themselves. (The day after I wrote this, the New York Times published a story about your celebration of the stream of deregulatory decisions from the Supreme Court, so maybe it’s all worth it in your eyes.) President Trump will be too busy creating massive detention camps for migrants and whoever else. The media, probably.

As for Ukraine, which you have bravely stood up for against the MAGAheads, I think Donald has already gotten his marching orders on that one.

If Trump wins Nov. 5, he wins. If he loses, he and his supporters will make Jan. 6 look like a tea party. And if you think that sounds hyperbolic, we’ve – and by we I mean you – have underestimated Trump at our peril, again and again.

At least Comer and Barr went full lickspittle from the beginning. You have sort of resisted the MAGA cult, but then again not really. Not enough and when it mattered.

You’ve accomplished a lot in your career, Sen. McConnell. Not here in Kentucky, still one of the poorest, sickest states in the nation, but in terms of political power. You could see Republican domination of the end of the republic before you leave office.

If you’re not facing a military trial, that is.

So again I’ll ask: Are you happy now?