"In any world not governed by the need to defend Trump at all costs, the Comey statement would be devastating in the eyes of all. Comey’s tale calls into question the president’s understanding and allegiance to the rule of law. It casts Trump as a liar and a scoundrel who engaged in action that might even be illegal. Republicans and Trump defenders cannot accept the true meanings of this text. To do so would be to acknowledge too much. They have to distort reality and embrace dishonesty to deny the statement’s significance and its newsworthiness, to dismiss it as nothing, or to cherry-pick the few lines that partially support Trump’s previous assertions. Consequently, they have to bare their worst to protect their president. Trump has forced them into an ugly act of self-abuse that cheapens them and abets a dangerous erosion of constitutional democracy."