Clown show at the Capitol

I know, I know. Evergreen title.

But Rep. Matt Gaetz and his posse of House Republicans took things to a new level yesterday with their dishonest stunt. Here’s the story—from Fox News, for those who are inclined to call me biased. Gaetz led about 30 Republicans into the closed-door impeachment hearing, demanding to know what’s going on. They’ve called it a “Soviet-style” process, claimed there is no “due process,” and the President himself tweeted that the “Do Nothing Democrats allow Republicans Zero Representation.”

Let’s review the facts.

  • This is not a trial. If the President is impeached by the House, a trial will take place in the Senate, in which the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides, House members present the prosecution’s case, the President is represented by his own attorneys, and each side has the right to call and cross-examine witnesses. A two-thirds supermajority is needed for conviction and removal from office.
  • So far, what’s happening in the House are not formal impeachment proceedings; they are an impeachment inquiry. Republicans are angry about it, but it’s not unconstitutional. Congress has the right to conduct inquiries.
  • Three House committees are authorized to sit in on the closed-door hearings: Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight. These committees total 108 members of Congress. Of the 108, 46 are Republicans. Despite what you’ve heard from Matt Gaetz and the President and your angry uncle on Facebook, 46 Republicans have had full, unrestricted access to every single second of the impeachment hearings.
  • Republicans have not been allowed to call witnesses, but they have had equal time to question the witnesses who have appeared.
  • House Congressional rules govern these proceedings, the ones Matt Gaetz and Friends are so loudly decrying. But who set the current rules? Republicans. Source: Fox News.

But worst, and most hypocritical, the Republicans who stormed in on the hearings went barging into a SCIF (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility.) A SCIF is a highly-secured room, built and operated explicitly to prevent the classified information being discussed within from falling into the wrong hands. Locking cabinets are located outside the room for electronic devices, which are strictly prohibited. But some of the Republicans walked right in with their phones.

The defense we’re hearing today is that those members aren’t accustomed to SCIF protocol because they don’t sit on those committees. In other words, they didn’t know any better. They didn’t mean to endanger national security. They didn’t mean to mishandle classified information.

Sound familiar?

If it’s wrong for one side, it’s wrong for the other.

Gaetz’s grandstanding is political theater. Schiff’s speech on the House floor was political theater.

What if both parties stopped rewarding and promoting clowns? What if we demanded that our leaders behave like rational adults and statesmen?

A girl can dream.

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