After spending four days in the middle of the country steeped in theatre and characters and writing, I come home to this:
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam B. Schiff said Sunday that his panel has reached an agreement to secure testimony from the anonymous whistleblower whose detailed complaint launched an impeachment investigation into President Trump.
The announcement from Schiff came on the same day that Tom Bossert, a former Trump homeland security adviser, delivered a rebuke of the president, saying in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” that he was “deeply disturbed” by the implications of Trump’s recently reported actions.
Those comments come as members of Congress return to their districts for a two-week recess, during which they will either have to make the case for Trump’s impeachment or defend him to voters amid mounting questions about his conduct.
In appearances over the weekend, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) offered a preview of the Democratic message, casting the impeachment inquiry as a somber task that she chose to endorse only as a last resort.
“I have handled this with great care, with great moderation, with great attention to what we knew was a fact or what was an allegation,” Pelosi said Saturday at the Texas Tribune Festival in Austin. “This is very bad news for our country, because if it is as it seems to be, our president engaged in something that is so far beyond what our founders had in mind.”
While privately favoring a rapid probe confined to the Ukraine allegations, Pelosi said Saturday that the investigation would last “as long as the Intelligence Committee follows the facts.”
I have every hope that unlike the Roman candle approach that the Republicans took twenty years ago with Bill Clinton’s trip down the rabbit hole, this will be a deliberate and yet efficient investigation, resulting in a prompt rendering of cogent articles of impeachment stating the clear-cut facts of the case which will so impress and horrify the majority of Republicans in the Senate that they will see their clear duty to the Constitution and the oath they all took and render a resounding verdict. Meanwhile, I’m getting my speech ready for the Tony awards.
This will be messy, noisy, disruptive, and the business of the country will be set aside while accusations of treason and threats are hurled. It will make for wild TV: excerpts of Trump’s defenders calling for capital punishment and worse (what could be worse?) will go viral, and when the identity of the whistleblower (or is it whistle-blower?) is released, they will be alternately vilified and glorified on the same network.
Unlike Watergate, which took years and numerous court battles to unravel and resolve, this one is going along as fast as a Twitter thread. Unlike Whitewater/Clenis, this one doesn’t have salacious overtones so we don’t have to come up with colorful euphemisms for oral sex so it can be described in front of the children (who have a language all their own). And unlike Iran/Contra, we’re not dealing with underlings who are manipulating foreign policy while the president is drifting off into dreamland. In this case, he’s proudly admitted to what he did, got his minions to yell “Fuck yeah!” in support, and dare the Congress to come and get him.
It’s blackmail and coercion, pretty much the stuff of “The Sopranos” if that classic show was cast with the Three Stooges. It’s illegal, it’s immoral, and a danger to the country. So yeah, we’re gonna do this.