As is often the case I’m writing a few days ahead of publishing (Saturday afternoon). The public impeachment inquiry hearings are scheduled to begin tomorrow morning. I didn’t want to commence writing until the Republicans released their witness request list anticipating they would give me more fodder. They did not disappoint! Let’s explore.
The stated purpose of the hearings is to investigate whether there is reason for the House to vote on articles of impeachment against President Trump for his role in Ukrainegate. The real purpose is to sway public opinion. Based on the reports from reputable news sources to date you would have to be willfully ignorant to claim Trump was innocent. Trump’s sycophants are not claiming innocence; they are “pounding the table” over process but are unable to substantiate even those claims.
One of their big issues is for the Whistleblower’s identity to be revealed. At this point the identity of the Whistleblower is irrelevant. Most of the accusations in their report have been proven correct, many by Trump’s own release of the “transcript”. (It is not a transcript of the call as the document itself asserts. It is an edited summary of the call that was still so damning to Trump that his people attempted to hide it in a secret, super secure server contrary to standard operating procedures.)
This is not a criminal procedure (something Trump and his minions can’t seem to comprehend) but likening aspects of it to the public helps explain it. The Republicans are acting like gang members who are not concerned with guilt or innocence or the underlying transgression, but with who called 911, how they got their information and who they got it from.
The Whistleblower’s identity has supposedly been revealed by at least one right wing website. Even Fox News refused to air or link to it. I have no idea as to the accuracy of the “revelation” and didn’t even waste my time viewing it. The bottom line is that it is irrelevant to the issue at hand. The information is what counts and to date it is being proven to be accurate by multiple, authoritative sources.
I am neither a lawyer nor did I attend law school but here are at least four laws that Trump has either directly or by conspiracy violated in Ukrainegate: The Hatch Act, The Emoluments Clause, the extortion statues and Federal Election Law. In fact revealing the identity of the Whistleblower would violate the federal whistleblower protection statute. As Trump and his supporters have repeatedly revealed they won’t let something like the law get in their way. Am I the only one who sees the irony in the fact that Trump portrayed himself as the law and order candidate in 2016?
The bottom line on all this is that the Republicans have requested the Whistleblower as a witness in the House impeachment inquiry.
They have also requested that Joe Biden’s son Hunter be called. Much of the Republican distraction effort is centered on the long debunked right wing myth that then-Vice President Joe Biden used his office to bury an investigation into his son’s activities in Ukraine. This is like calling Goofy to testify in an inquiry into the possible marital infidelity of Minnie Mouse. (If that last sentence doesn’t make sense to you I cannot tell the underlying old joke and stay anywhere near my PG rating.)
The next issue strikes me very personally because of my life experience and convictions. The Republicans have just added Jim Jordan to the House Intelligence Committee so that he can participate in the hearings. Repeated and credible allegations of Jordan’s conduct while an assistant coach at Ohio State have surfaced. Of the seven years of my coaching career that I spent at the college level all but about 72 hours were as an assistant coach (I was the interim head coach during my first year at that level).
The allegations (over a multitude of seasons) are that the team physician sexually molested hundreds of Jordan’s players; he had knowledge of it and did nothing about it. Had anyone at the school ever molested any of my players I would have immediately gone to the head coach and if they did not take definitive action within 24 hours I would have gone to the athletic director. If met with the same result in that same short time period I would have gone to the press which would have ended my coaching career but it would have protected my players. That was my number one moral obligation.
If Jordan is the best the House GOP can come up with they are in sadder shape than even their critic think they are!
If all goes according to the current schedule don’t expect the Republicans to argue the facts or the law; expect a lot of irrelevant table pounding led by the despicable Representative from Ohio in an attempt to distract the public and please Trump. If he was too much of a coward to defend his players what makes you think he will defend his country.
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