As Republicans call out Trump's lies, his loyalists are demanding retribution.
Trump’s palace guard will not tolerate dissent.
Ryan, following all the known facts, agreed on Wednesday there is no evidence of scandal in the FBI’s handling of the Russia probe — and there’s certainly no proof the FBI somehow planted a “spy” inside Trump’s campaign in 2016.
But even that whiff of dissent is now driving some Trump loyalists in the House to demand that Ryan step down.
“There is no defense today for Paul Ryan siding with the FBI and Department of Justice over against those of us in the Congress who are working for transparency and accountability,” whined Matt Gaetz (R-FL), inserting “transparency” for the more accurate “conspiracy.”
He told Fox Business Network he’s hearing from more Republicans who want to oust Ryan.
It’s an extraordinary scenario, where the speaker of the House is being attacked not for failing to defend that institution, but for failing to defend the executive branch — for failing to provide political cover for the White House, even though that’s clearly not Ryan’s job.
Ryan announced in April he was quitting Congress, but has insisted that he remain speaker until next January. Since he quit, far-right members of the GOP caucus have been chafing at that move and have been pushing for Ryan to step aside now.
Now, Ryan’s undercutting Trump on the White House’s Russia lies has stoked far-right anger. But the speaker isn’t the only target of the palace guard’s wrath.
Another retiring member who suddenly located his backbone, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), has also stepped forward to renounce Trump’s spy lie.
Gowdy was quickly gang-tackled by Trump loyalists and the right-wing media for daring to question the mighty leader.
Then on Wednesday, Rep. Tom Rooney (R-FL), a top Republican lawmaker on the House intelligence committee, became the latest GOP House member to rip Trump’s lie.
“What is the point of saying that there was a spy in the campaign when there was none?” Rooney said. “You know what I’m saying? It’s like, ‘Lets create this thing to tweet about knowing that it’s not true.’ … Maybe it’s just to create more chaos but it doesn’t really help the case.”
The fallout surrounding the spy lie has evolved into a rare instance where some Republicans are summoning the slightest bit of courage to publicly call out one of Trump’s Deep State fantasies.
And in the end that could cost Paul Ryan his job.