The impeachment saga moves to the House Judiciary Committee today. The Washington Post says the Republicans are getting “ready to rumble.”
Defenders of President Trump often describe the impeachment inquiry as a “circus.”
But after the partisan theatrics expected during Wednesday’s first hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, they might need a stronger word.
When Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) gavels the room to order at 10 a.m., some of Capitol Hill’s most aggressive and colorful characters — Republicans and Democrats — will be seated on the dais, ready to inject new friction and hostility into the second phase of the inquiry.
There could be disruptions from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), the Fox News favorite who led a conservative revolt against impeachment in mid-October by storming the secure room where depositions were taking place.
There could be conspiracy theories from Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), who nearly named the intelligence community whistleblower during a recent speech on the House floor.
And there could be antics from Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), a vocal Trump critic who brought a bucket of fried chicken to a hearing in May to highlight the absence of Attorney General William P. Barr, who was scheduled to testify.
Add to these another 38 lawmakers — many Trump loyalists or pro-impeachment Democrats ready to do battle — and you have a potentially explosive mix of personalities whose excesses could dominate the proceedings.
“It’s a bunch of brawlers sometimes on the Judiciary Committee, so it should get pretty hot under the collar as we go along,” said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), a member of the panel, during an interview on Fox News’s “Sunday Morning Futures.”
“I don’t think things have been done the way they’ve been done in the past . . . so it causes some rancor and it should be much more feisty, I would say, than the Intel Committee was,” he said.
The reason for this expected response is rather obvious: they have no reasonable defense of Trump and his corruption, so they’re doing everything they can to distract the attention away from it short of releasing a flock of pigeons and running a stampede of goats through the hearing room. And I wouldn’t put that past them, either.
The Democratic report is an outright burial job. The president* tried to extort an agreement out of the government of Ukraine to help him ratfck the 2020 election. All the receipts are there, in four-part harmony and full orchestration, with circles and arrows and paragraphs on the back explaining how they all would be used as evidence against a renegade presidency.
In dealing with reports such as the one released on Tuesday, it is always important to remember the ARF Principle: Always Read Footnotes. For example, here’s a piquant bit of information that you would miss if you abandoned the ARF Principle. Rep. Devin Nunes, Republican of California, ranking member of the House Intelligence committee and former White House lawn ornament, is all over this report. Calls between Nunes and John Solomon, the enormously useful reporter formerly working at The Hill, are featured. These are the people the president* left on the beach. And this is the true bottom line.
This will be all over the TV today because they love to put on the shouting matches; it’s great for ratings and the stakes are higher than the showcases on “The Price Is Right.”