Blumenthal shines in the national media spotlight

April 10, 2018 GMT

Like most Connecticut journalists, I know how much Sen. Richard Blumenthal welcomes media coverage.

When he was Connecticut’s attorney general, he personally returned virtually every reporter’s phone call himself.

So I am never surprised to see him interviewed on national television. It’s hard to imagine him saying no. In the age of Trump, he has been a reliable critic of the president, enough to score his fair share of what he calls “bullying tweets” from the White House.

More recently, he seems to have scored as many on-air interviews as Sen. Chris Murphy, who, in the early days of the Trump presidency, emerged as a consistent antagonist, seeming to appear on cable news as often as the Geico gecko.

I am proud the little state of Connecticut has produced such prominent national Trump critics. That’s especially true since U.S. Rep. Elizabeth Esty of Connecticut’s 5th District has become a national disgrace due to her failure to protect female staffers.

On Tuesday, Blumenthal outdid himself in an appearance on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” in which he talked not only about the raid on Trump attorney Michael Cohen’s office but the challenges of Syria and Tuesday’s Congressional testimony by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.

He actually debuted some of his incendiary comments, talking about Zuckerberg’s “contrition sonata” and “apology tour” in an interview Monday on National Public Radio, with morning news host Steve Inskeep.

He was in rare form by the time host Mika Brzezinski began questioning him Tuesday on “Morning Joe.”

Calling the raid on Cohen’s office “seismic,” Blumenthal compared it to a “nuclear strike with multiple warheads.”

Indeed, the senator, a former prosecutor himself, put the raid on the president’s attorney, which was sought by Trump appointees and approved by a judge who had to have found probable cause of a crime, in stark terms.

He called the raid by the FBI “an extraordinary event,” unusual first because it focused on a lawyer and, more incredibly, the president’s lawyer. It wouldn’t have been done lightly by Trump’s Justice Department, which he suggested must have used careful scrutiny in deciding to proceed.

Brzezinski, who said she has covered Blumenthal since he was Connecticut’s attorney general and knows him as “the most measured analyzer of information I’ve ever met,” seemed almost startled by the senator’s frank assessments Tuesday.

She suggested, at the end of his appearance, that Blumenthal “seemed to be firing on all cylinders this morning.”

Blumenthal, who has proposed a bill with bipartisan support to protect the inquiry by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, suggested Tuesday it is needed more than ever, given the president’s agitated response to the raid on his personal lawyer’s office.

Trump, asked by a reporter Monday whether he is considering firing Mueller, said only that “many people” have told him he should.

Of course, it wasn’t even Mueller who orchestrated the raid on Cohen’s office and apartment. It was all Republicans appointed by Trump, including the federal prosecutor in New York who donated more than $5,000 to his campaign.

It seems clear to me, as the legal noose tightens, that history is not going to treat well the Republicans who are willing to attack America’s great institutions of law enforcement and undermine the Constitution in the name of defending a dishonest, greedy and unethical president.

His campaign chairman is under indictment. His national security advisor pleaded guilty to a felony and is cooperating. A judge concluded that there is reason to believe his personal lawyer may have committed a crime. And some of his disgraced top advisors are singing to prosecutors.

There is a lot of evidence on the record that Trump may go down as the most audacious traitor in American history. He certainly appears to have an awful lot to hide.

I’m glad the senators Connecticut sent to Washington are going to be remembered in the story as people who wanted the truth to be known.

May they keep getting a lot of air time.

This is the opinion of David Collins.