Category: politics

President Trump is off the hook as far as Congressman Raul Labrador is concerned.

And given Trump’s high approval ratings among Republicans in Idaho – and even higher ratings among Republicans most likely to vote in May’s primary election – vindicating Trump could pay off big for Labrador in the governor’s race.

Labrador, who was a lawyer before going to Congress, lays out a case that might not necessarily sway a courtroom jury. But he throws out the kind of red meat that a Trump choir, which is probably at least 80 percent of Idaho Republican primary voters, will devour.

Labrador sings the praises of the controversial House Intelligence Committee memo, saying there was no evidence of collusion with the Russians, let alone obstruction of justice. The whole thing is part of a conspiracy by the FBI and Department of Justice, working with a liberal-biased media, to damage Trump and the office of the presidency.

That sounds like treason on the highest levels of the FBI and Department of Justice – at least on the level of Democrats failing to stand up for every applause line during the president’s State of the Union message. Labrador doesn’t go as far as accusing the FBI and DOJ of treason, but that’s essentially what he’s saying. Depending on your perspective, he’s either being reckless with this charge, or politically brilliant in his run for governor.

I can see a campaign ad with this line: “And if you agree that the FBI and DOJ are traitors who were bought and paid for by the Democratic National Committee, then vote for ….”

“For over a year, the media has been focused on alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia without producing any hard evidence,” Labrador says.

What the committee memo shows, he continues, “is real collusion between Democrat operatives and key officials at the FBI and DOJ to spy on the Trump campaign and interfere in the 2016 election.”

Hmmm. That darn Hillary Clinton must have had something to do with that. According to the memo, the “Steele dossier” that all the TV talking heads keep railing about was compiled by a British spy “on behalf of the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.”

All together now: Lock her up! Lock her up!

“The politicization of our intelligence and law enforcement agencies should concern every American regardless of their party,” Labrador says. “Congress should continue to investigate this matter and release all the evidence supporting the memo’s allegations. The document shows the dangers of allowing secret courts under our constitutional form of government.”

Democrats, of course, have a much different view. And so do officials of the FBI and DOJ, who say that the memo does a lot of cherry picking on the facts. Republican critics, such as Arizona Sen. John McCain, suggest that the House memo puts national security in peril and amounts to doing Putin’s work for him. If that’s the case, look for vodka sales to go up in Russia.

Labrador was the only member of Idaho’s all-Republican congressional delegation to release a statement about the Republican-drafted memo, and it was largely ignored by Idaho’s media outlets. Sen. Jim Risch, who sits on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and works with other members to ensure that intelligence activities abide by the Constitution and U.S. law – is not making political hay over this issue.

But on the House side, as Labrador sees it, “the Intelligence Committee memo provides important context regarding the so-called ‘Steele dossier,’ a compilation of salacious and unverified allegations against President Trump and his associates.”

Well … if this governor’s thing doesn’t work out for Labrador, he might see about taking a job with Trump’s legal team. Obviously, he can make a closing argument with the best of them. Another possibility is, could get a high-level position with the Department of Justice after the top officials are convicted of treason and hauled off to the gallows.

But Labrador may not have to worry about sending out job applications after May 15, if a spirited defense of President Trump means anything to primary voters.

Chuck Malloy, a long-time Idaho journalist, is a columnist with Idaho Politics Weekly. He may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.