And Then

Actions and reactions, deeds and repercussions: that is what today’s article is all about. (And I’m just looking at the last 72 hours or less.) While I know where to end, I’m not certain where to start so I’ll just jump in. Let’s explore.

Monday the House Judiciary Committee held another impeachment hearing. I only watched segments of the hearing because I was busy but the tone was set early. Chairman Gerry Nadler was seconds into the “ground rules” portion of the hearing when Republican Matt Gaetz interrupted with an objection. It didn’t get much better from there. At one point Nadler was attempting to recess the meeting for a bathroom break. Gaetz objected. Nadler was forced to conduct a voice vote which the ayes clearly won. Gaetz demanded a roll call vote, which he is entitled to do. 24 Democrats voted for the break, 16 Republicans (several of whom were standing in an effort to make a quick exit) voted nay. There are 17 Republicans on the committee; I can only assume one was already in the potty.

Overall Gaetz acted like an unruly toddler. He actually interrupted the proceedings by talking out of turn without even seeking recognition. If there were a leader in the House Republican caucus Gaetz would be getting a scolding. While I am singling him out he was not alone in acting like anything other than a responsible adult who we are paying a minimum of $174,000 a year. Talk about wasting the taxpayers’ money!

Monday the long awaited Justice Department Inspector General’s report into the genesis of the FBI’s probe into the 2016 Trump campaign came out. It found that there were no political improprieties and the only negative finding was basically some sloppy paperwork at a low level. The report also criticized the FBI’s procedures on obtaining FISA warrants and suggested some improvements/modernizations.

Trump appointed-FBI Director Christopher Wray accepted the report, reiterated that the agency was found to have acted properly and said he would immediately commence instituting the suggested reforms.

Tuesday morning Trump sent out a tweet that began, “I don’t know what report current Director of the FBI Christopher Wray was reading, but it sure wasn’t the one given to me.” The thing I found the most laughable is that Trump actually read the report. He is incapable of reading something that long in less than 24 hours. If I were Wray the word that I would pay the most attention to is “current”. I’d say Trump is going to replace him in the not too distant future. Wray is a career FBI person and he knows that when you accept a job like his you have to do so with the full realization that in order to do your job with integrity you have to be prepared to resign or be unfairly terminated.

Tuesday morning I read Dana Milbank’s op-ed in the Washington Post. I spotted him in attendance at Monday’s House Judiciary Committee’s hearings. The Committee’s Republicans have an anteroom off the main chamber where they can caucus. That is perfectly fine and normal. It is entered via a set of double doors. There is a sign on the door that reads “This is not a door.” That, of course is a misstatement of fact because the door is in fact a door. If the sign read “Republicans only”, “Republican members and staff only” or “Not an exit” the message would be communicated and the truth spoken. Sadly that appears to be too much to expect from today’s Washington GOP.

(Alert: Here come the “and then” part):

Tuesday morning Nancy Pelosi, flanked by five House Committee Chairs, announced that on Thursday of this week the House Judiciary Committee would be taking up two articles of impeachment against President Trump. One is for abuse of power and the other is for obstruction of Congress. Assuming they are passed in Committee – my prediction is that they will be in a 24-17 vote – the full House would then vote on them the week of Monday December 16th which means that vote would come no later than Friday December 20th. (Incidentally the last day the federal government currently has funding and Congress’ get away day for its Christmas break.)

An argument will be made that more articles should be included. In all honesty I have mixed feelings on the broadness of the articles. One of the main reasons for more articles is to give Republican House members the opportunity to vote for some but against others to create the appearance of bi-partisanship. Color me cynical but based on the Obamacare vote and current polarization I just don’t see that happening.

Unless there is a radical shift in Republican public opinion I don’t see the Senate convicting Trump and removing him from office. When Republicans deny a door being a door it doesn’t leave a lot of room for hope.

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