About a week before Iowa's presidential caucuses last year, Donald Trump delivered a memorable line while boasting about the loyalty of his allies. "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and I wouldn't lose any voters, okay?" the Republican bragged. "It's, like, incredible."
This was, in a way, prescient. At the time, Trump was referring to the unflinching support he enjoyed from much of the GOP base, but a year and a half later, it's hard not to wonder if he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody, and he wouldn't lose any congressional Republicans, either.
Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) said Monday evening that he would have done the same as Donald Trump Jr. in meeting with a Russian lawyer offering damaging information about Hillary Clinton.
"Do I think it's appropriate? I think I probably would have done the same thing," Yoho told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I mean, it's opposition research. Anybody that's been in an election, you're always looking to get the upper hand."
The Florida Republican added, "I stand on the side of the president 100 percent on this."
There's a lot of this going around. While yesterday seemed to present the nation with a smoking gun -- we now know the Trump campaign knew about and welcomed Russia's intervention in the American election -- congressional Republicans were largely indifferent to the developments. The Washington Post reported, "What Democrats saw as a break in the Trump/Russia investigation was processed by many Republicans, and much of conservative media, as one more distraction that was likely being overhyped."
Vox, which ran a helpful quote collection, added, "Everybody at the US Capitol was rocked Tuesday by revelations that Donald Trump Jr. had accepted a meeting with someone whom he had been told was a representative of the Russian government, who had promised damaging information about Hillary Clinton. Everybody, that is, except Senate Republicans."
GOP lawmakers are not blind to the revelations. They know Russia launched the most serious attack on the United States since 9/11. They know Trump and his team lied about their contacts with Russian nationals. They know Trump fired an FBI director because of the president's opposition to an ongoing investigation in the Russia scandal. They know the Trump campaign was eager to accept support from a foreign adversary.
Congressional Republicans, however, by and large, simply don't care.