You’d hardly know anything was amiss in the White House if you relied on the Wyoming congressional delegation to keep you informed. Maybe they can’t decode the smoke signals coming from the dumpster-fire on Pennsylvania Avenue.

Barring their unanimous support for hiring Robert Mueller to investigate possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia, our representatives have generally stayed mum as the leader of their party repeatedly shames himself, the GOP and our nation.

You might think Republican Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso and Rep. Liz Cheney would want to get out in front of the scandal machine in the oval office. Why let themselves be tied to his failures? They don’t need his support to win.

But no, our trio in Washington, D.C., hasn’t offered the slightest criticism of Trump. And in this case silence is far from golden.

Trump attacks, humiliates and defames federal judges, foreign leaders, the free press and Gold Star mothers — silence.

Trump dismantles the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, promises to save it, flip-flops some more and then tells the “dreamers” he intends to deport them — crickets.

He praises dictators, ridicules our allies and cozies up to Russian President Vladimir Putin — nada from the Wyoming delegation.

Can you imagine Barrasso, Enzi or Cheney not fully apoplectic with outrage if Barack Obama — or anyone else for that matter — appeared to have paid hush money, to a porn star, through a shady fixer who then accepted millions in “consulting fees” from corporation and foreign entities. No, you can’t imagine it. Because it would never happen. So what’s different?

Enzi and Barrasso are sure to reflect upon their years of service at some point in the future, perhaps during cozy retirements. Not all of their decisions will have aged well. But of all the bad calls they’ve made I imagine their failure to defend a colleague might be the hardest to live with.    

When a White House staffer dismissed Sen. John McCain’s (R-Arizona) criticism of CIA Director Gina Haspel’s involvement in torture programs by saying “he’s dying anyway,” Trump not only didn’t disavow the comment, he threatened to find and fire whoever leaked it. And our senators’ response to the presidential afront? They issued no public statements, held no press conferences, penned no op-eds and demanded no apology from the man who dodged the draft — five times — while Sen. John McCain was tortured in the Hanoi Hilton.

They chose sides with their silence. They chose poorly.

I could spend a day and most of the night outlining why Trump has already staked his claim as the worst president in the nation’s history and deserves to be impeached. What I want to focus on, though, is his recent attempt to convince the public that there’s a great conspiracy against him because he’s been subjected to a year of investigations.

That’s simply what happens to a corrupt president. He makes Richard Nixon and his staff of crooks and liars look like saints.

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The thrust of his defense appears to be to repeat “there’s no collusion” as a mantra and to claim that Mueller’s probe has been nothing but a “witch hunt.” And he may pull it off – a poll last week found that 59 percent of Americans believe the special counsel hasn’t uncovered any crimes.

No, Mueller has just indicted 19 people and three companies with more than 100 charges, including Trump’s former campaign manager and his national security adviser. The special counsel also arranged deals for the acceptance of five guilty pleas. Nope, nothing to see here, folks. Let’s pack it all up and go home!

I am glad to see that our Wyoming delegation hasn’t joined the growing chorus of Republicans calling for the immediate end of Mueller’s probe.

Sure, that’s a reasonable request. Why shouldn’t we ignore evidence that the Trump campaign was willing to accept any offer of help from foreign governments, even our enemies? Or that it appears the president’s personal attorney had been selling corporations access to Trump? Or that the president’s son-in-law was somehow able to get millions in loans following White House meetings?

Trump and his legal team believe they discovered spin-doctor gold when they learned that the FBI had a “confidential informant” who talked to several members of his campaign. What seems to have been forgotten is the motive for enlisting such an informant. The FBI was following up on reports that several of Trump’s campaign staff had shady dealings — reports that are bearing out these many months later in the form of indictments and guilty pleas.

You know where else the FBI has confidential informants? The mafia, drug cartels and international spy rings.

Trying to find out if those claims are true is standard FBI procedure to keep the nation secure. The agency also warned Trump officials to be wary of any Russians who might be trying to recruit them to switch sides.

Trump is screaming “Spygate!” and claiming what the FBI did “is a disgrace worse than Watergate” so he can muddy the waters and divert attention from his actions. His congressional cronies succeeded in making the Department of Justice back down and release information to them from the special counsel’s investigation.

Apparently the president has confused the DOJ and FBI for his personal protectors who must do anything he wants, including punishing his enemies. It’s a terrible precedent to set since it means our law enforcement won’t be able to recruit confidential informants because they won’t protect their sources. The president can’t demand to see material gathered against him or call for a separate investigation to discredit Mueller’s probe.

Of our three-person congressional delegation, Barrasso has been the most willing to defend the DOJ’s investigation early on, before the focus shifted to hush money and money laundering. “The American people deserve answers,” he said shortly after Mueller’s appointment. “We’re going to get to the bottom of this.”

But Wyoming’s junior senator seems to accept every offer he gets to step in front of a TV camera, and he never uses those opportunities to question Trump’s conduct or decisions.

Enzi has taken a noncommittal approach, stating he won’t judge anything about the investigation until its report is submitted. Meanwhile, earlier this year Cheney criticized the FBI for being biased against Trump, but at the time of this writing she hadn’t weighed in publicly on the alleged “Spygate.”

Wyoming gave Trump his biggest margin of victory in 2016, but it’s way past time to start holding him accountable for his shameful misbehavior. One critical constitutional role of our legislators is to check the powers of the executive branch. Ours are failing to fulfill that vital responsibility.

Kerry Drake

Veteran Wyoming journalist Kerry Drake has covered Wyoming for more than four decades, previously as a reporter and editor for the Wyoming Tribune-Eagle and Casper Star-Tribune. He lives in Cheyenne and...

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  1. Send the entire delegation packing. WY has nothing to lose and everything to gain with that move. Start by supporting Gary Trauner in his tireless grassroots campaign to unseat Barrasso. We can do this!

  2. Thank you Kerry for this take on the state of our Nation. The silence of our Wyoming Delegation is deafening especially about a true patriot John McCain. I have sent a letter to both Senators telling about my brother who paid the ultimate price for this nation in Vietnam and have received no response from either of them. Do they think that no one remembers their cowardice? There were seven casualties in my hometown of Scottsbluff, Ne, I believe 6 were Hispanic along with the seventh, my brother.

  3. I have been waiting all year for our Congressional Delegates to speak up with even a mild rebuke of Trump. Since they haven’t done so my only conclusion is that they are as corrupted as he is.

  4. MEMO to Enzi, Barrasso, and Mrs. Elizabeth Perry:
    Be sure and let go of your clenched grip on Trump’s coattails before he goes over the edge into the abyss.

  5. I am sure that come November if the Republicans lose control of either the House or Senate then they will realize that the President is a liability instead of an asset to their own elections, then watch the worms turn on Trump.

  6. Trump infamously claimed that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue in New York, and his followers would not care. At the time he made that statement, I thought of his followers as a small, vociferous group of malcontents. Now we see that Trump has stood and said that official American policy is to rip children from their parents if they dare to approach our border seeking asylum, a perfectly legal thing to do. Our Wyoming delegation is silent on that atrocity being committed against our fellow human beings in the name of this once great country. I guess that they have joined the group of followers who wouldn’t care if Trump shot a random person on 5th Avenue. They are willing to silently endorse something much worse, the harming of innocent children for no reason whatsoever. It turns out that at least a few of those children have been farmed out to traffickers by our poorly trained and apparently unsupervised new national police force referred to as ICE. We should all be out in the streets demanding justice and care for those children, but the attacks on every belief and value and constitutional protection that we have is relentless. Enzi, Barrasso, and Cheney are presiding over our downfall without even a whimper of dissent.

  7. I served with Senator John Barrasso in the Wyoming Legislature. I have occasionally contacted him as my Senator and he would call me back. For the last 6 or 8 weeks, as President Trump’s actions have become more destructive to America’s future I have regularly contacted offices of both Wyoming Senator’s and heard nothing from Senator Barrasso – not even an e-mail. He is quite busy standing behind Senator McConnell like a Pretorian Guard or an unsmiling statue.
    Senator Enzi’s Jackson office has been very responsive, scheduling a personal visit with Senator Enzi which I was unable to meet. He did personally send me an e-mail.
    Senator Barrasso does not have a Jackson presence,

    It is time for a majority of US Senators of all parties to speak up for America’s future.
    They are our best hope before November at which time the Americabget to speak, and I believe they will.

    For full transparency, I must admit that after 60 years in Jackson I now live and vote in
    Arizona, where Senators McCain & Flake speak out righteously. Currently in Jackson for a couple of months relief from the heat – it is nice to be back..