We’re now approaching 16 hours after Rudy’s “You’re damn right I ordered the code red!!” interview on CNN, and the “facts” seem to be settling in. I say “facts” because, as of today, we only have a Washington Post story alleging Trump’s attempted bribe of Ukraine, Rudy’s “Damn right I did” moment, and Trump’s near admission: “It was pitch perfect,” along with noting the whistleblower that Trump claims not to know, is “highly partisan.” I think we’re safe to assume that Trump told Ukraine to investigate Biden’s son or face Trump’s “promise” to withhold the foreign aid.
But we shouldn’t have to assume anything. We should have the complaint in front of the Congress, and through them, us. After all, we’re told it is perfectly legal, perfect “pitched” and Trump is out there encouraging people to “look into” the Biden conspiracy:
Trump says it doesn't matter what he told the President of Ukraine, goes on to peddle Biden conspiracy theory. https://t.co/3KES46qMRd
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) September 20, 2019
So that’s where we stand.
What can “we” do about it? What can Congress do about it?
Not until they have the complaint, and the ability to examine the whistleblower as a witness. (We are assuming that Republicans will not jump out in front of this and call for Trump’s resignation based upon what we know now, just leaving it open). Like any legal process, there must be an official record. You cannot have a “record” without real evidence.
The first piece of “evidence” needed is the name of the whistleblower, and what the whistleblower heard. Barr says we can’t have it. Because Trump said we can’t have it, and what the yell are we going to do about it, anyway?
Indeed, what are “we” going to do about it?
Assuming no Republican help, and we feel safe in doing so, we’re going to go get another branch on our side. We’re going to court. We’re going to sue somebody. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence v. Barr.The DC Federal Courthouse is literally “down the street” from the Capitol.
We’re going to go get a court order, a writ of mandamus, directing the Department of Justice and/or White House to turn over the complaint to the appropriate committees in congress. We are going to do it with a request for an “expedited” calendar, citing national security. Ideally, we will get a hearing within a month, perhaps two weeks.
So, weeks or a month from now, we’ll get our ruling, the losing side will appeal it. However, the appeal will get filed directly with the Supreme Court, again, citing national security concerns. Here is where we might run up against our first real obstacle. If the Supremes want to give Trump time to “run out the clock,” the SCOTUS will not grant the direct appeal to the SCOTUS, and instead it will go to the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. Again, we continue to assume that the matter will get “urgent” review, and at each step where a judge attempts to slow things down, worry.
Do note, however, that the longer Trump and Barr hold this up, the more they have to say they were “pitch perfect” but f-you, “no you can’t have it,” the more ridiculous they look. They will back themselves into a corner.
While this legal process grinds itself out, we look for leaks, from the whistleblower himself, or out through the news, just like we’re hearing today. The picture will come into clearer focus. As it does, we watch the Republicans, and determine how far they’re willing to go for this guy. If Republicans look uneasy, we press judges for tax returns, bank records, and access to witnesses from inside the administration – perhaps start with Bolton, see if one of them is willing to tell the White House to go to hell with its privilege claim. With each claim of privilege, with each new revelation, the public will see more and more the lengths Trump goes to suppress damning information.
Ultimately, we’re going to get the information from one of two paths. We are either going to get it through a judicial order – which is why Schiff should be filing this complaint today, or we will get it through the media. But the House is unlikely to impeach Trump over media reports. They need “evidence.”
Ironically, Republicans might be more and more willing to listen to “news reports” in consideration of dumping Trump. After all, if the Republicans determine it is time for Trump to go, they will want to do it due to “news reports,” so they can control the real information, the evidence itself, that may embroil far more than just Trump. Once the White House loses its iron grip on the evidence, there is no telling what’s spraying from that spigot.
Certain people in congress, *cough, *cough, #MoscowMitch, might prefer that the actual “evidence” be ignored as calls rise for a president to step down.
So that’s where we stand, everyone on the same page here? How are we doing? Does this sound doable?
No one hang your head, no one kick a rock and pout “He always gets away with it, Pelosi never does anything …” That is exactly what Trump is counting upon. He has done this before, he’s a pro. This is a president who paid off a porn star weeks before the election and lied about it. He’s sitting in office today, as if nothing happened. We must be bold, hold the line this time, demand action, demand justice, demand accountability, and demand openness. No one ever won anything while pouting in a corner.
The other thing that needs to happen on Monday is a House-wide vote on an impeachment inquiry, a real one, which will pass now. That buffs out our lawsuit just a bit. How’s that sound?
firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter @MiciakZoom