If hypocrisy was a form of precipitation, the amount of it generated by the Republicans this week alone would bury the country in a blizzard. Starting with Rudy Giuliani, comparing the closed-door impeachment inquiry to the Salem witch trials, and going to the ne plus ultra (for now) publicity stunt of Matt Gaetz storming the House SCIF conference room, the Republicans want you to think that it’s the Democrats who are violating both the law and House procedure — and not them. Nothing could be farther from the truth. It was Matt Gaetz and his comrades who violated House policy by entering a secured facility with electronics. They even had a pizza party in there until the sergeant at arms threw them out and the scheduled deposition went forward five hours later than planned. Now, if you dial your memory back just a few years, this is one hundred eighty degrees away from what was going on when the Benghaaaaazi debacle was taking place.
“The committee’s preference for private interviews over public hearings has been questioned,” former Rep. Trey Gowdy’s Benghazi committee said in its final report. “Interviews are a more efficient and effective means of discovery. Interviews allow witnesses to be questioned in depth by a highly prepared member or staff person. In a hearing, every member of a committee is recognized — usually for five minutes — a procedure which precludes in-depth in-depth focused questioning. Interviews also allow the committee to safeguard the privacy of witnesses who may fear retaliation for cooperating or whose work requires anonymity, such as intelligence community operatives.”
So it’s okay if you’re a Republican. We get that. Now, add to that this commentary by none other than Trump “economic adviser” Peter Navarro, decried as a complete quack for years now by any legitimate economist in the country, if not the world.
Navarro has zero credibility among experts of both parties who specialize in the field in which he purports to have expertise (trade). This is because he is an idiot who is limited both by how much he does not know & by the fact that what he does know is wrong. He's also a hack. https://t.co/LaLUTeUUy5
— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) October 24, 2019
Navarro was asked if the Chinese were asked to begin an investigation on Joe Biden and he said “You don’t have a right to know what happens behind closed doors.” Okay. If your head is ready to spin one-eighties on your shoulders, just like in the movie “Beetlejuice” you are interpreting this correctly. The Republican rule of law is this: If it’s the Democrats doing an investigation, they’re not allowed to abide by normal confidentiality standards for normal reasons, like making sure that multiple witnesses are not tracking each others’ testimony and endeavoring to keep a story consistent. This is what Trey Gowdy was talking about, and Adam Schiff repeated the exact same rationale the other day. But Matt Gaetz chose to ignore that and illegally storm the House conference room, in a blatantly cynical endeavor to undermine the gravity of the impeachment inquiry. Can you imagine what would have happened if the Democrats had done that when the Benghazi investigation was going on? Are you kidding?
And then the very next day, Peter Navarro is on CNN underscoring the absolute privilege that the Republicans claim, when it comes to confidentiality. Navarro tells us, in no uncertain terms, that we have no right to know what elected or appointed officials in government are saying to the rest of the world, purportedly on our behalf. And don’t forget last week, when Trump signed his executive order guaranteeing transparency in all administration dealings. As noted then, that order wasn’t worth the paper and ink it was written on.
The “defense” of Trump that Gaetz was putting forward Wednesday with his stunt is to cynically deride the House impeachment inquiry and reduce it to the level of a cartoon. That’s the motivation here, because they have no basis in law or fact to discourage the House inquiry, and discourage it they must. Chris Cillizza, The Point:
So, instead, the likes of Gohmert and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz, one of Trump’s most outspoken supporters in Congress, are trying to turn the whole thing into a circus. Storm the committee room! Demand to know what secrets are happening in there! Hold press conference! Mug for cameras! Order Pizza! (Yes, that last one happened. For real.)
What was the point? Nothing, really. The impeachment investigation isn’t suddenly over. The Cooper deposition eventually went forward anyway — just after 3 p.m. Eastern. And despite Gaetz tweeting Wednesday afternoon “Still inside – more details to come,” it’s unclear what, exactly, he had uncovered. (The Intelligence Committee had made known publicly who they would be interviewing on Wednesday as they have done since the start of the process.)
The goal of Gaetz and his colleagues is to make the GOP base — and less regular consumers of politics — believe that everything going on in Washington is a joke, a farce, a confirmation of their worst beliefs among how DC works (or doesn’t.) Because if that’s how the country — or even a decent chunk of it — perceive the impeachment investigation then Trump (and the likes of Gaetz) win.
I don’t know what the GOP will do to bottom this, but there’s no question in my mind that they will. Certainly, they will try. Gaetz’ Dick Tracy-worthy stunt was just the warm up act. This is the logical extension of Ronald Reagan declaiming back in the day that “government is the problem.” From that moment to this, your GOP at work. It’s all part of the downhill slide that occurs when a Republican is in the White House, creating a mess that the Democrats then go in and clean up. But the Trump administration is much more than the usual mess, it’s more like a house demolition.