The Morning Briefing: House Democrats' Hearing Recycles Anti-Trump Felon
Good Tuesday morning.
Here is what's on the president's agenda today:
- The president tours Southwest Iowa Renewable Energy in Council Bluffs, Iowa
- President Trump delivers remarks on renewable energy
- The president delivers remarks at the Republican Party of Iowa annual dinner in West Des Moines, Iowa
House Dems hold fake impeachment panel with cable news stars
On Monday, Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler held a hearing with three rabid anti-Trump characters and constitutional scholar John Malcolm, from Heritage. The main attraction was disgraced, convicted felon John Dean, who was there to say that Trump is just like Nixon and the RUSSIA collusion conspiracy theory is just like Watergate. Everything is just like Watergate to Dean, who made similar claims under the Bush/Cheney administration and against Reagan. Watergate is Dean's schtick, he's a one-trick pony. When you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
At issue is whether the president can exercise his constitutional powers legally. Since the #resistance activists fancy themselves experts at identifying and prosecuting thought crimes, they are arguing that Trump's intent was to cover up a crime he didn't commit and that he wanted the investigation to end to hide his non-existent crime rather than because his political opponents were using it to interfere with his ability to govern. We live in a universe where Hillary Clinton engaged in actual criminal behavior but didn't intend to and was given a pass, while Trump did not engage in the accused crime but "intended" to cover up his non-crime so he needs to be removed from office and thrown in jail. No one ever accused these folks of being logical.
One exchange in the hearing worth highlighting is when Rep. Jim Jordan got Dean to admit that he advised Lanny Davis, Michael Cohen's lawyer, to withhold Cohen's testimony from the GOP. Sounds kind of obstruction-y.
Remember, the point of these hearings is to put on a show, have selected segments air on television and disseminated on the internet, hope the public turns to support impeachment and then go forward with impeachment. Sadly for Fat Jerry, the NYC helicopter crash directed media coverage away from the Judiciary's freak show, so he didn't get the intended media coverage.
What does Barr have up his sleeve?
Justice Department official Stephen E. Boyd wrote to Judiciary Committee chair Rep. Jerry Nadler with some more information about the agency's investigation into the Obama administration's surveillance of the Trump campaign.
“It is now well established that, in 2016, the U.S. government and others undertook certain intelligence-gathering and investigative steps directed at persons associated with the Trump Campaign,” Boyd wrote Nadler, adding that “there remain open questions relating to the origins of this counter-intelligence investigation and the U.S. and foreign intelligence activities that took place prior to and during that investigation.”
“The Review is broad in scope and multifaceted, and is intended to illuminate open questions regarding the activities of U.S. and foreign intelligence services as well as non-governmental organizations and individuals,” Boyd wrote.
“[I]t is of great importance to the Department to protect classified information by preventing the unwarranted disclosure of sensitive sources, methods, techniques and materials where such disclosure would endanger the personal safety of U.S. government employees or friendly foreign partners, harm U.S. national security interests, or compromise the ability of U.S. government agencies to conduct their important work to protect the American people,” Boyd wrote Nadler.
Justin Amash has left the building
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) is leaving the Freedom Caucus.
"I have the highest regard for them and they're my close friends," he told CNN. "I didn't want to be a further distraction for the group."
Amash recently announced he thought the president should be impeached for obstructing justice. The Michigan congressman was a founder of the caucus but stopped going months ago because of differences with the members on the group's direction under Trump.
He emphasized his decision was voluntary and that he remains on good terms with his colleagues.
Amash remains the only sitting Republican to publicly say Trump committed impeachable offenses based on his reading of Mueller's report. He has said it would be appropriate for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to move ahead with an impeachment inquiry.
Hasta la vista, baby!
And that's all I've got, now go beat back the angry mob!