TWO ROTTEN TOMATOES
What a Double Feature for Impeachment Week! True, I would have preferred the High Drama first, on Wednesday, and seen the Low Comedy second, on Thursday…you know, as a bit of comic relief. But that was not to be.
Led by the eternal frat boy Matt Gaetz, the GOP House Rep from the Florida Panhandle (known to some as “Trump’s protégé”), 47 or so Republican members of the House on Wednesday morning crashed a closed-door meeting. Inside Chairman Adam Schiff’s three committees were considering the president’s impeachment; the Storm Troopers burst through security, shouting and brandishing their cell phones—a violation of security rules that possibly opened the proceeding to foreign ears. And with their juvenile antics delayed the deposing of a witness by five hours.
Call it a farce that fell flat on its face, and might have been written by Aristophanes drunk on ouzo. But it proved a point, I suppose: there are no boundaries that the GOP Pocket Protector Brigade won’t go to disrupt the orderly conduct of governance and save their Chosen One, He of the Great and Matchless Wisdom.
I wish I could speak better of the “high drama” that followed on Thursday. Nope. Can’t. Lickspittle Lindsay Graham got his Clown Show rolling early by lobbing a two megaton smoke bomb at the House of Representatives on behalf of his golfing chum, Donald J. Trump.
How? Specifics? Well, the Senator from South Carolina introduced a non-binding Senate resolution condemning the House’s Democrat-controlled committees for denying Trump his constitutional rights to a fair trial, denying him the right to confront his accusers, holding their investigation “in secret,” and even failing to vote on whether or not to launch an impeachment investigation.
A quick barrage of incoming fire from the savvy dispersed the smoke, and Graham’s canard lay there, naked and dead. The particulars?
First off, since when does the Senate dictate to the House how it conducts its business? Toothless blather meant to mislead and obscure.
Second, there is no House rule requiring a vote to begin an impeachment inquiry. Period.
Third, inquiries are held behind closed doors for very good reasons. That way future witnesses do not know what previous witnesses have testified to, and cannot tailor their testimony to “get their stories aligned.” The non-public nature of the hearing also discourages congressional questioners from “showboating” to impress their constituents back home with their mastery of performance art; more committee work gets done in less time. Last, closed-door questioning protects witnesses’ privacy and reputation should the case not go forward.
Fourth, Trump should be denied the “right” to confront his accusers. He has made it clear, on film no less, how he thinks “spies” (read whistleblowers) should be treated: you know, the old fashioned way…hint, hint. Without protection of those brave souls who speak out against government wrongs, they would be…uh, dispatched, and we would in time become just one more Banana Republic.
Fifth, every impeachment in American history (Trump’s would be the fourth) has differed in how it was handled; there is no settled procedure, no precedent that must be followed. Each case brings its own circumstances, begging ad hoc actions and solutions.
Finally, Donald J. Trump is not being denied “due process.” Constitutional law is not statute law. And as Fox News (yes, Fox News!) commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano opined, “Democrats are following the rules.”
My DC Drama review? A clinker followed by a clunker. Or a bummer followed by a bust. Put another way, neither the Storm Troopers nor Trump’s Tee-Time Pal did anything but prove again that our government is badly broken.
To finish on a brighter note, did you know that no Kurds were slaughtered by Turks while Bill Clinton got his nine blow jobs in the White House?