Republicans complain their "messaging" on impeachment isn't working. Yesterday encapsulates why. Like a bunch of lefty college kids shouting down a campus speaker they don't like, House Republicans have resorted to trying to deplatform House impeachment investigators.
A group of GOP House members stormed impeachment inquiry testimony this week and delayed it for five hours, huffing and puffing about how attempts to gain more information are just not fair to the president.
Left with no options to deny the weird shit that President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and their cronies were doing with Ukraine (since Trump et al can't stop talking about it and new officials keep confirming things), and finding the one-note minimization (no quid pro quo) isn't impressing American voters (who increasingly back impeachment), the Trump-bootlicking wing of the GOP has started parroting the president's favorite diversion tactic: insisting (contra all evidence and the U.S. Constitution) that there's something sneaky and wrong about how House impeachment investigators are looking into things.
The bulk of them are still trying to pretend to us and themselves that their moral spines aren't rotting corncobs. So focusing on some alleged violation of procedure lets them hold up impeachment proceedings without having to say outright that they think everything Trump has done here is wonderful or legally acceptable.
Some of Trump's legislative lackeys will say it's all OK, of course, but others have been leaving room to distance themselves if this all blows up.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.)—who has condemned House impeachment proceedings for not being public and yesterday introduced a resolution objecting to them—has been one of the worst at justifying his opposition on dubious procedural grounds.
"Graham is the man who, as a Republican member of the House in 1999, voted articles of impeachment against Bill Clinton out of the Judiciary Committee almost entirely on the basis of the behind-closed-doors investigation of one Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr," notes the New York Daily News editorial board:
He is the man who, as a manager of the impeachment when Clinton went to trial in the Senate, argued that a president who lied under oath about a consensual sexual relationship should be removed because, "You don't even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role." And who back then said, "The day Richard Nixon failed to answer that subpoena is that day that he was subject to impeachment because he took the power from Congress over the impeachment process away from Congress and he became the judge and jury.
But now Graham has nothing to say about Trump delaring he would refuse to comply with congressional subpoenas, and he "whines about secrecy despite the fact that 47 Republican committee members, totaling about a quarter of the caucus, are allowed to participate in the depositions in question."
Senator Graham continues to mislead. The Constitution divides impeachment and trial between the House and Senate. The House impeachment is an indictment. The process he's demanding happens in the Senate trial. No defendant participates in an indictment in the way he's suggesting. https://t.co/9107Mp3Fqm
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) October 24, 2019
Criminal inquiry into Russiagate roots? "Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William P. Barr to a criminal inquiry, according to two people familiar with the matter." So The New York Times reported yesterday, to a collective chattering-class freakout over what this meant. As the Times article continues:
The opening of a criminal investigation is likely to raise alarms that Mr. Trump is using the Justice Department to go after his perceived enemies.
One note of caution: The anonymously sourced Times scoop doesn't say when the investigation started, or why, or who and what it's looking into. This could be old news that just now got passed to the press. Julian Sanchez of the Cato Institute lays out why this smacks of a strategic leak. Thread starts here:
On a second read, this absolutely reeks of a strategic leak. Two sources say Durham's review has spawned a criminal inquiry, but not when it happened or what the crime is. That's awfully suggestive. https://t.co/ljN2DVXo8n
— Julian Sanchez (@normative) October 25, 2019
Prohibition kills. A new report on drug overdose deaths shows that "nationwide, fentanyl was the most common drug implicated in 2017." It was implicated "in 38.9 percent of the more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths that occurred that year," reports NBC.
Fentanyl's prominence in recreational drugs and strong potential to kill users is a direct result of the war on drugs.