It Looks Like No Impeachment Inquiry

Ken AshfordCongress, L'Affaire Russe, Trump & AdministrationLeave a Comment

I’m John Cole:

I guess maybe because I read the damned report, unlike, apparently, the FBI director and every member of the Republican caucus, there was nothing really newsworthy there today. Just an aged bureaucrat calmly answering questions from a bunch of people who, with limited exceptions, had far inferior intellect. I don’t know how the man made it through the sessions without eye rolling, but I had to stop watching somewhere around when Matt Gaetz shouted nonsense for five minutes and some lady named Lesko owned herself and the GOP and didn’t seem to notice.

The main problem for me is this format, much like the debate formats for Presidential debates, just sucks. One of the things I have noticed in the years I have been alive is that in large group settings, not everyone has to talk. In fact, again with limited exceptions, everyone would be better off in large group settings if most people didn’t talk. This is especially true when the large group is composed of congressmen, who are only there because the people chose them, and the American people are a bunch of idiots who are constantly making bad choices. For example, the Big Bang Theory ran for twelve seasons.

But, because we have to let every egomaniacal halfwit have their say, everyone is giving a smattering of time and nothing beyond the superficial is ever really explored. Add to that that the time is mostly wasted by people who like to hear their own voices and seem confused by the difference between talking and saying something, and you get four minutes and forty seconds of inconsequential babble peppered by brief remarks from Mueller retorting “It’s in the fucking report you mouthbreather.”

The hearings themselves were then capped with instant analysis by a bunch of people who basically have their jobs because they are prettier than most everyone else and thus on television, and usually the instant analyses are roughly worth the time given to create them. And then we’ll have the almost instant thought pieces, and the “who won and who lost” pieces, and by tomorrow we’ll be talking about whatever Third Reich slogan the losers at Trump’s rally down the road from me were screaming.

I’ve come to the conclusion that as a country, we are just uniquely unprepared to deal with Trump. Everything happens so fast, no one thinks about anything, there are never any repercussions for the rich and powerful and most certainly not for the pundit class, and in the end it’s all just a blur with too much happening in too many directions to handle anything effectively. It’s dizzying.


No one seems to care if they know what they are talking about anymore.

Nancy Pelosi has said she will only support impeachment inquiry when there is a groundswell of public support for it. And yesterday, by most accounts, did not generate that groundswell.

This is a tragedy, not only for Democrats but for the country. Trump’s wrongdongs are so myriad and diverse, that we have become desensitized to them. Imagine, if you will, that everything we know about Trump — the violations of the emoluments clause, the obstruction, the pandering to Russians, the womanizing, etc — had all come out in one day. There is no question that support for impeachment would be overwhelming.

But because it has come out slowly — a little bit every week for the past 3 years — there is no longer that “Aaron Sorkin” moment. So the public ho-hums every affront to democracy.

But why should that be? Even Watergate was a drip drip drip of allegations, and most people didn’t even KNOW what it was about when the impeachment inquiries started.

Democrats in the House — and Nancy Pelosi in particular — should not follow the polls, but follow their duties. Period.

With no predetermined outcome, it is time to speed up House inquiries to facilitate the gathering of the necessary evidence for the House to fulfill its Constitutional duties. The wrongdoing exposed by the Mueller Report must be dealt with. Stonewalling can-and must-be overcome.

I have said it before and I will say it again: we don’t need impeachment. We need an inquiry. You want fireworks? But Don McGahn on the stand — the White House counsel who testified that Trump told him to fire Mueller.

But you know what, Democrats in Congress? Fuck fireworks. Just do your duty.

Jennifer Rubin writes that Mueller didn’t fail… we did:

I worry that we — the media, voters, Congress — are dangerously unserious when it comes to preservation of our democracy. To spend hours of airtime and write hundreds of print and online reports pontificating about the “optics” of Mueller’s performance — when he confirmed that President Trump accepted help from a hostile foreign power and lied about it, that he lied when he claimed exoneration, that he was not completely truthful in written answers, that he could be prosecuted after leaving office and that he misled Americans by calling the investigation a hoax — tells me that we have become untrustworthy guardians of democracy.

The “failure” is not of a prosecutor who found the facts but might be ill equipped to make the political case, but instead, of a country that won’t read his report and a media obsessed with scoring contests rather than focusing on the damning facts at issue.

Many well-meaning figures continue to beat the drums of impeachment rather than demand that Trump be voted out of office for betraying his country and lying to voters to conceal his crew’s unpatriotic sellout to Russian actors.

Trump reads from the same hymnal of disinformation and recites the same slander of democratic institutions that 20th-century totalitarians deployed, yet too many in the media call him the “winner” because Mueller did not pass their ridiculous tests (e.g. add new information, persuade Republicans).

Trump’s authoritarian liturgy, like that of many 20th-century despots, also co-opts religion, abandons universal liberal values including a free press, substitutes corporate cronyism for democracy and excludes from the body politic those who disagree with the government. Given his druthers, this president would exile critics just as dying colonial regimes would send off dissidents without hope of physical return.

And despite all this, too much of the chattering class remains dangerously unfocused and frivolous. It deploys irony and cynicism when clear-eyed explanation and morally defensible perspective are essential. Democratic presidential candidates and voters had better get their act together to find someone to beat Trump. If not, Trump with the complicity of a craven party and the indulgence of those who know better will further fray our tenuous attachment to democracy and truth.