Instead of Oversight, This Congress Believes in Under-Sight
Omarosa saga reminds us that no Trump offense is so big that the GOP can’t ignore it

OPINION — In “Dr. Strangelove,” Stanley Kubrick’s scabrously funny 1964 sendup of nuclear war, a fanatical anti-Communist general starts pummeling the Russian ambassador for taking photographs in the inner sanctum of the Pentagon. The hapless president breaks up the scuffle by saying in an outraged tone, “Gentlemen. You can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!”

If only Kubrick were still around to do justice to Omarosa Manigault Newman taping her own firing by John Kelly in the White House Situation Room. Even the fanatical Gen. Jack D. Ripper couldn’t match the deranged fury of Donald Trump’s Tuesday tweet calling Omarosa “a crazed, crying lowlife” and viciously likening her to a “dog.”

Why the Mueller Investigation Is the Wobble of Neptune
Nixon comparisons may be premature, but things can be anticipated before they are observed

OPINION — It was the summer of “Chinatown” and Elton John’s best-selling album “Caribou.” Top-rated TV shows like “All in the FamilyM*A*S*H” were in rerun season. But August 1974 was not lacking in drama cut with pathos.

On Aug. 8, Richard Nixon spoke to the nation, announcing his surrender in the battle of Watergate because “I no longer have a strong enough political base in the Congress to justify continuing that effort.”

What If Trump Is Trying to Throw the 2018 Elections?
President could blame a Democratic House and Senate for everything

OPINION — In this time of tumult, political truths are being knocked off their pedestals faster than Confederate statues. But even now, it seems ludicrously self-evident that a president wants to elect a Congress of his own party.

Donald Trump, however, is a president who marches to a different brass band. Consider what he has done in just the last week.

No, Dems Aren’t Disarrayed, Riven, Imploding, Eating Their Young or Battling for the Soul of the Party
By the historical standards of Democratic warfare, today’s disputes are like 6-year-olds battling with foam swords

OPINION — “Democrats in disarray” is one of those alliterative phrases beloved by pundits and political reporters. Database searches can trace it back to the Eisenhower administration, and the expression came into its own during the period when the Vietnam War upended politics.

At the end of the first year of Richard Nixon’s presidency, New York Times columnist James Reston (under a headline that you can easily guess) wrote, “It is not only power that corrupts but sometimes the absence of power, and the Democrats are following the familiar pattern. They are complaining about the failure of Republican leadership and providing very little of their own.”

Opinion: Even Tricky Dick Didn’t Bow and Scrape to Brezhnev
Trump’s Helsinki performance alone is worse than Watergate

“Worse than Watergate” is an epithet that Donald Trump supporters hurl like a javelin at the FBI and the Robert Mueller investigation. But after looking back at the history, it is easy to conclude that Trump’s hellish Helsinki press conference was by itself worse than Watergate.

Like Trump with his shrill denials of any collusion with the Russians, Richard Nixon had publicly insisted that he had no knowledge of the 1972 Watergate break-in or the frenzied cover-up.

Opinion: Why the Kavanaugh Pick Is Not as Safe as It Seems
Collins and Murkowski aren’t the only Republicans who could balk at Trump’s choice

It is a memory seared into Brett Kavanaugh’s soul — and it may well be an image that briefly flickers through his mind every time a loud siren goes off in Washington.

In his Monday night East Room debut as Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nominee, Kavanaugh harked back to working for George W. Bush on 9/11. Introducing his wife, Ashley, Kavanaugh said, “We met in 2001 when we both worked in the White House. Our first date was on Sept. 10, 2001. The next morning, I was a few steps behind her as the Secret Service shouted at all of us to sprint out the front gates of the White House because there was an inbound plane.”

Opinion: Trump and the Case of the Missing 15 Percent
The president’s golden gut has told him to demonize immigrants, but where is that strategy leading?

It was a trademark Donald Trump performance down to his invoking a race of sycophants with the typically vague formulation “Some people have said.” In his self-absorbed ramble at a Monday night South Carolina rally, Trump boasted, “Some people have said I have the greatest political instinct in 50 years.”

Of course, 50 years gets us right back to Richard Nixon.

Opinion: When Even Ted Cruz Balks at Trump’s Excesses
Children’s screams are now the soundtrack of the Trump era

If the arc of history does indeed bend toward justice, then we know what soundtrack will greet future visitors to the Donald J. Trump Presidential Library and Golf Resort.

It will be the eight-minute audio recording, obtained and authenticated by ProPublica, of children in a Border Patrol detention facility screaming for their parents.

Opinion: Verdict on Singapore — Better Real Estate Deals Than Bombing Runs
Summit hype and hoopla may have the lasting significance of an infrastructure week

For a president who normally adheres to his own doctrine of infallibility, Donald Trump displayed a few flickering moments of uncertainty in the aftermath of the Singapore summit.

Asked by George Stephanopoulos in an ABC interview whether he trusts Kim Jong Un to dismantle his nuclear program, Trump replied, “I do trust him, yeah. Now, will I come back to you in a year and you’ll be interviewing and I’ll say, ‘Gee, I made mistake?’ That’s always possible.”

Opinion: Trump’s D-Day Gift to Canada: A Trade War
Earlier presidents understood Canadians’ shared sacrifice

When Ronald Reagan delivered one of the most stirring speeches of his presidency in Normandy on the 40th anniversary of D-Day, he hailed “the boys of Pointe du Hoc,” the Army Rangers, who, despite gruesome casualties, scaled the cliffs on Omaha Beach.

That June 6, 1984, speech, written by Peggy Noonan, also took pains to credit “the unsurpassed courage of the Canadians who ... once they hit Juno Beach, they never looked back.” Of the 14,000 Canadian troops who landed on D-Day, more than 1,000 died in the first six days of the invasion.

Opinion: ‘Spider-Man’ Would Never Fly in Donald Trump’s America
What if Mamoudou Gassama had pulled off his heroic balcony rescue in the United States?

In this world of woe, it may have been the most inspiring news story of the last few days. An immigrant from Mali, in France with dubious papers, clambered up four stories of a Parisian building in defiance of gravity to rescue a small child who was dangling from a balcony.

Despite anti-immigrant feelings in France, President Emmanuel Macron granted the unlikely hero (now dubbed “Spider-Man”) legal residency and a quick path to citizenship. He also received a presidential recommendation for a job with the Paris fire department.

Opinion: A Letter to Republicans About Watergate, Trump and the Judgment of History
Excuses by lawmakers won’t hold up in the end

Dear Congressional Republicans,

As you spend time with your families over the recess, I suggest that you might invest a few hours reflecting on the Nixon era in Washington.

Opinion: John McCain’s Empty Seat at the Gina Haspel Hearing
Perspective as a POW and torture victim would have helped clarify the debate

The second Republican presidential debate of the 2008 campaign season was held in Columbia, South Carolina — the conservative state where John McCain’s dreams of upending the George W. Bush juggernaut died in 2000. So when Brit Hume from Fox News asked McCain a question about waterboarding and other forms of torture, the prudent political strategy would have been to pander to GOP fears of terrorism.

But for McCain, the only presidential candidate to have ever been a prisoner of war, this was not an abstract topic. In 1968, after he refused early release from a Hanoi prison camp, McCain was so brutally beaten by his North Vietnamese captors that he was driven to the brink of suicide.

Opinion: A Few Cracks in Trump’s GOP Wall on Capitol Hill
Senate Judiciary Committee saw a rare display of bipartisanship over Russia probe

Washington, as we know, is riven by vicious partisanship, with those on the right and left at each other’s throats over the most pressing issue that this nation has faced in decades. We are, of course, talking about the violently differing opinions and never-ending hot takes about Michelle Wolf’s comedy act at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.

Amid the nonstop invective, it was easy to have missed Capitol Hill’s equivalent of Halley’s Comet — a rare celestial display of welcome bipartisanship in a matter relating to Donald Trump and Robert Mueller. The Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday, by a 14-7 vote (with four Republicans joining the panel’s Democrats in the majority), approved legislation designed to safeguard the special counsel from being arbitrarily fired by Trump. The bill was designed to protect Mueller from the wrath of a cornered president.

Opinion: Best and the Brightest? Trump’s Troika of Troubled Nominees
Senate can stop president’s dismal choices for cabinet jobs

Senate confirmation fights have been the stuff of Washington drama from the fictional “Advise and Consent” (1960 Pulitzer Prize) to the real-life rejection of John Tower (a rumored alcoholic and inveterate skirt chaser) for Defense secretary in 1989. And of course, Mike Pence last year had to break a 50-50 Senate tie over the fate of Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.

But never in modern times has a president in the midst of his first term had three nominees as troubled as the Trump Troika.

Opinion: A Message for Midterm Poll Jumpers
It’s not that political handicapping is worthless, but a little humility will go a long way

The conventional wisdom creeps in on little cat feet.

Over the last few months, the political community has come to assume that the Democrats will take back the House in November. And with the impatience that defines our era, the smart money is already speculating on when the newly assertive House majority will try to impeach Donald Trump.

Opinion: Mark Zuckerberg and the Theater of Contrition
But will it be enough?

The most insidious questions during a high-profile congressional hearing are often deceptively simple.

So it was Tuesday afternoon when Mark Zuckerberg, the pharaoh of Facebook, tried to ingratiate himself during questioning by nearly half the Senate.

Opinion: Trump Era Corruption — Where’s the Outrage?
Here’s something the president does better than Bill Clinton

It was the other Bill Clinton scandal — the half-forgotten one that didn’t involve sex.

To jump-start his 1996 re-election campaign with an early advertising blitz, Clinton straddled the ethical boundaries by offering access to the White House in exchange for six-digit checks. In Clinton’s defense, there were no proven quid pro quos — just an atmosphere of sleaziness.

Opinion: A Radical Idea for Congress — Legislate Instead of Loafing
If Republicans weren’t so scared of offending Trump supporters, they could make this year count

It remains one of the most arresting photographs in the history of sports — an exhausted Roger Bannister bursting through the tape in 1954 as the British medical student, who died earlier this month, became the first runner to break the four-minute mile.

This Congress regards itself as the Roger Bannister of legislative bodies. Gasping for breath, yet proud of its blistering pace, Congress has now collapsed in a self-satisfied heap for the current two-week Easter recess.

Opinion: Congress’ Bush-League Omnibus Provision an Embarrassment
Lawmakers want to financially shiv minor league ballplayers.

Anyone who wonders why Congress is more unpopular than a myopic baseball umpire who hates the home team need only look on page 1,967 of the omnibus spending bill.

If you are one of those slower readers who are only halfway through the densely worded 2,232-page draft document that was dumped on late Wednesday night, this column represents your salvation.