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Republicans in The House, Part II: You Fool No One

We honestly cannot grasp the thinking of Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) and his fellow witch hunters. Not that they're pursuing a Joe Biden impeachment. That may be venal, nakedly partisan and an abuse of power, but at least we understand what the goal is. The part we don't get is the rush to get the proceedings underway. Because Jordan & Co. just had to start this week, they allowed themselves to be substantially drowned out by bigger news (say, the GOP debate, the budget mess, etc.), and they also moved forward with three witnesses of dubious merit whose testimony was a waste of 6 hours of everyone's time (well, everyone who watched, that is—for our part, we did our duty with 3 hours of GOP debate and Trump speech on Wednesday).

Here are the three people who testified on opening day of the impeachment inquiry:

  1. Bruce Dubinsky: He is a world-class forensic accountant. How do we know? Because the website where he markets his services says so, and everyone knows you have to tell the full and honest truth on the Internet. He's testified in many, many criminal cases where accounting expertise was needed. Of the three witnesses called by the Republicans yesterday, he is the one most appropriate... if only there was some actual evidence for him to discuss.

  2. Jonathan Turley: He is the legal scholar whose fame far outweighs his scholarship, and who continues to present himself as a liberal who is "open" to many ideas. Everyone else thinks he's a conservative. In any event, he does not know the Biden family, and so has no direct testimony to give. Obviously, he was just there to prattle on about how impeaching a president like Biden is legal and justifiable and within the bounds of the Constitution. Of course, one guy's broad legal opinion does not an impeachment case make; Turley's appearance achieved so little that even a Biden hater like Steve Bannon wondered why Turley was there.

  3. Eileen O'Connor: She worked in the tax division of the Bush 43 era DoJ. She also writes op-eds about her dislike of the Biden family. Oh, and she uses her LinkedIn page to warn about how the U.S. is being destroyed by "hordes" of immigrants. Needless to say, someone with a last name like O'Connor is undoubtedly of Native American extraction, and could not themselves be the descendant of immigrants who came to America oh, say, in the 1850s or so.

    Anyhow, which of the three things—former bureaucrat, editorialist, or xenophobe—qualifies her to be a material witness in a de facto criminal prosecution, nobody seems to know.

When the 1/6 Committee called witnesses, they were powerhouses, and carefully chosen for both relevance and impact. This trio falls just a wee bit short of that standard, so much so that House Democrats had a field day poking them in their eyes. MSNBC even put together a montage of Democrats doing so, which you can view here, if you wish.

It is not just us, or House Democrats, or even Steve Bannon who were unimpressed, however. Even several Fox-ers offered negative reviews. For example, this from Neil Cavuto:

There is no doubt about the curious nature of Hunter Biden's financial connections to a host of foreign players. There is still, at best, circumstantial evidence to connect his father to it. That's not to be a legal apology for his father, but many times I saw references to Biden in these remarks as if they were Joe Biden. Repeatedly, they were references to Hunter Biden. Now, again, I'm not a lawyer. I'm not even smart in interpreting legal shows I see on TV.

But when you begin to trumpet what you have as the beginning of an explosive inquiry into the president of the United States to potentially remove him from office, you think you'd bring your A-game. Maybe this is part of a pattern and a legal process of which I'm totally unfamiliar. Guilty as charged. But this took over six hours today, my friends. Over six hours. I wonder.

As one MSNBC anchor observed, "If you've lost Fox, then who have you still got?"

But again, the big problem is not the less-then-stellar witnesses. That can be dealt with; lawyers do it all the time. No, it's the lack of evidence. And the fact that Republicans still have nothing (despite their constant and ongoing claims that they are JUST about to reveal utterly damning proof of everything) is that their own witnesses conceded there was no evidence against Biden. "I do not believe that the current evidence would support articles of impeachment," Turley admitted. "I am not here today to even suggest that there was corruption, fraud, or any wrongdoing. In my opinion, more information needs to be gathered and assessed before I would make such an assessment," acknowledged Dubinsky.

If you would like even more of an indication that this is all smoke and mirrors, take a look at this clip brought to our attention by reader I.H. in Washington, DC:

In the event you don't want to watch it, it features a reporter from NBC asking House Ways and Means Committee Chair Jason Smith (R-MO) about a couple of items of Biden corruption "evidence" that are in the 700 pages of material House Republicans released earlier this week. The most salient question is that something from 2017 is held out as "proof" of Biden influence peddling, but Biden was a private citizen in 2017. Smith uses every trick in the book to avoid answering the question, including the good ol' "you're a liberal media member who just isn't willing to have an open mind." The Representative never does answer the question, or even appear to understand it.

Meanwhile, as the Republicans flail around, the Democrats are working to turn the tables. Recall that the person who has been most central in the Biden corruption narrative is... Rudy Giuliani. So, the blue team thinks it would be swell if he showed up to share his insights. Republicans are... reluctant, thus far, since they know full well that would be a massacre.

And to return to the question at the beginning of this item for a moment, we actually do have a fairly good idea of what it is that is driving Jordan and his cronies to make this a rush job. You might think it's the shutdown, and that they want to squeeze this in before the government is closed for business for days or weeks. However, the Republicans on the committee have already said that they'll keep at it, even if there is a shutdown.

The only reason to rush it, unless they are just drunk on power, is that they fear the mandate to launch an impeachment inquiry has an expiration date. Either Kevin McCarthy could be removed and replaced by someone who would cancel the inquiry or, more likely, McCarthy could be compelled to strike a deal with House Democrats that includes an end to the impeachment "investigation." If it was us, we'd rather hold our breath and take our chances on waiting until we could put our best foot forward, and not have to compete with other news. However, if you don't have a good foot to put forward, then it probably makes sense that you might as well get going before the rug might be yanked out from under you. (Z)

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