Republicans spent Wednesday afternoon bickering over a briefing on Iran, with the sides split between those who believe the briefing was criminally awful and those who believe it’s criminal to even suggest that anything in the Trump White House is less than perfect. But that intramural squabble wasn’t the only example of Republicans in disarray. Inside the Senate, there’s another fight underway over Donald Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial: a fight between Republicans who feel that the Senate can do its own business and those who want to bring in House Republicans with experience in screaming lies for Trump to assist.
As The Washington Post reports, House Republicans are arguing that the sweatiest men in Congress (not the Post’s phrasing, perhaps)—Jim Jordan, John Ratcliffe, and Doug Collins—should come to the Senate not to be part of the House team managing the impeachment, but actually to sit down with White House attorney Pat Cipollone as part of Trump’s defense team.
Senators, including Mitch McConnell, have winced at the idea, partially because they’re worried that bringing in the House scream-team will offend the “moderate” members of the Republican Senate to the point where they may put on a momentary show of almost voting their conscious, and partially because the idea that the Senate needs House members to give Trump a proper defense suggests that the Senate isn’t fully capable of groveling (and grahameling) on its own. McConnell has already been warming up his gavel arm for a trial lasting less than five seconds. Having to wait around while Jim Jordan scoffs at things and Doug Collins repeats his talking points for the ten-thousandth time will only throw off the schedule for McConnell’s pre-determined outcome.
But there’s a problem for senators concerned that House members will get their two-year-term cooties all over the Senate chamber: Even if, as the Post reports, some senators feel that House Republicans “lack the right temperament to be persuasive for a Senate constituency,” it may not matter.
Because Trump really likes the idea.
The Post also collected one of the most Trump White House quotes ever on this still up-in-the-air decision. “There are a lot of rabbits running around claiming to be the very best bunny,” said an unnamed official, “but the president hasn’t yet decided which set of fuzzy tails he’ll use.” The image of Donald Trump deciding “which set of fuzzy tails he’ll use” is not one that the American public needs to focus on for too long.
McConnell continues to express concern about holding his relatively narrow 53-vote advantage together firmly enough to prevent horrible things from happening in the trial. Things like witnesses and evidence that he wants to avoid at all cost. The concern is that there may be some Senate Republicans so ticked-off by having to listen to John Ratcliffe that they may decide they also want to hear from John Bolton. Meanwhile, Trump only wants to get maximum prime-time ass-kissing.
It’s unlikely this fight will go on for long. After all, there are already endless examples of Susan Collins threatening to shake her finger, only to back down and issue a quick Hail Trump. The idea that any Republican is really going to revolt against something that Trump wants is about as likely as being hit by lightning while being attacked by a shark.
But having to listen to more Jim Jordan, John Ratcliffe, and Doug Collins is the kind of thing that could make anyone snap.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.