On Impeachment, Republicans Smell The Blood In The Water
And it’s their own blood. Why else would they storm impeachment depositions in the House?
There are over 400 bills passed by the House and that now wait in the Senate for a vote. Mitch McConnell, majority leader in the Senate won’t have any of that nonsense from the House on the floor of the Senate. That’s legislative power if I ever saw it. That kind of power could stop impeachment.
I guess that’s not enough power for Representative Matt Gaetz (R-Florida). It has been widely reported that on Wednesday, Gaetz led a contingent of House Republicans to storm the highly secured room used Congress, the Secured Compartmentalized Information Facility, while 3 House committees were taking a deposition from Deputy Assistant Defense Secretary, Laura Cooper. Most news coverage is referring to the incursion as “a stunt” played on the part of Matt Gaetz.
Gaetz says he wants transparency. Gaetz says that the testimony should be given in public. But there is transparency. And there are plenty of Republicans sitting on those committees: Oversight, Foreign Affairs, and Intelligence. If there was a problem, those Republicans could speak up if they wanted to. But so far, they’ve been pretty mum, and rightly so.
Representative Adam Schiff (D-California) has organized the work of taking testimony as evidence in a quest to develop and eventually file, articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. Republicans have been critical of the secrecy of the hearings where testimony is given, but as Vox.com explains:
Schiff spent much of this week breaking down why House Democrats are interviewing witnesses behind closed doors for now: In a letter to his colleagues last week, Schiff noted that many interviews have been private in order to prevent witnesses from coordinating their stories.
Gaetz is an attorney, so I think he’d have some appreciation of these concepts, especially the part about not wanting witnesses to coordinate their testimony. Well, not this month. Fox News reported back on October 15th, that Gaetz expressed some confusion about all of this secrecy:
“And, I guess my question is: If the evidence is so good, why are House Democrats doing so much to keep it so secret?” asked Gaetz.
I think that the incursion led by Gaetz is evidence of a tolerance break. You know, that point where you throw all caution to the wind due to a flood of frustration? Maybe Gaetz found it too difficult to restrain himself after learning of the testimony given the day before, by Bill Taylor, acting ambassador to Ukraine. Numerous outlets are using the term, “quid pro quo” and Trump in the same sentence in their stories about Taylor’s testimony. That suggests that the president was trading something for something else, right?
Slate says Taylor’s testimony goes far beyond quid pro quo, but even if we’re just talking about quid pro quo, more than a few Republicans are finding it difficult to defend Trump. I think that Gaetz and a few other Republicans had a tolerance break after hearing about Taylor’s testimony. They must have been imagining what it will be like to have a town hall meeting in their districts with a rather fair prospect of having to defend Trump. They don’t seem too confident about those prospects come next November.
But I keep thinking about Trump’s campaign for the White House. I remember him saying that he’s a billionaire and he can’t be bought. This is a confidence man. I mean, this is a confident man, right? Some lawyers say that Trump could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and there is nothing anyone could do about it, right? As president, he can’t be prosecuted, they say.
Trump could act with impunity if he wanted to. He has firm control of the Senate, with McConnell there to protect him against any nasty vetoes. McConnell could simply round-file any articles of impeachment that comes across his desk if he wants to. A fair number of Republicans say that as long as they are in office, there will never be a vote on impeachment in the Senate.
McConnell can’t decide if he must hold a trial or not, according to the Intelligencer. One day, McConnell says “we have to do it”. Another day he’s running ads saying that his merry band of Republicans will stop any articles of impeachment dead in their tracks.
And for a man who is so confident of re-election, I have to wonder why Trump would even try to squeeze the president of Ukraine for an investigation of a political adversary, Joe Biden. Trump can win the election without help from a president of a third world country, right? Tell me it ain’t so.
Oh, wait. I just figured it out. Trump is great at negative campaigns. Telling us all the great things he’s going to do for our country might seem a bit foreign to him. And there seems to be very little that Republicans in Congress can do about it.