As if we needed it, here’s further proof that Donald Trump is as dumb as a bag of rocks

THE ISSUE

The issue is pretty much explained in the title.

THE MEDIA

Trump On E. Jean Carroll Accusing Him Of Rape: ‘She’s Not My Type’’

“I’ll say it with great respect: No. 1, she’s not my type. No. 2, it never happened. It never happened, OK?” the president said in an interview with The Hill.

Article by Antonia Blumberg in HuffingtonPost.com on Monday, June 24, 2019
THE COMMENT

Can you believe this quote??? I mean, seriously???

Just for the purpose of this post, I’d like to put a pin in the whole “EJ Carroll v Donald Trump” issue. My intention here is not to explore what actually transpired, rather how he has responded to the allegation.

Might I suggest a ‘Number 3’ for the president’s list – “No. 3 I WOULD NOT DO THAT”. In fact, while I’m at it, how about he moves that up his list to number one??? In fact, while I’m at it, how about he doesn’t bother with the other two points???

This man is such a (to quote his first choice as Secretary of State) “fucking moron” that he doesn’t even know how to respond to an accusation of sexual assault, and it’s not as though it’s his first time.

And if he’s this dumb, what does that say about all of those who still support him?

Finally, to take that pin back out, of course I believe the accuser, though I certainly wouldn’t want him to be denied a day in court to prove his supposed innocence.

#IANWAE

In case you hadn’t noticed, Trump is making up his foreign policy as he goes along

THE ISSUE

The current crisis between the US and Iran was created by Trump so no matter what he does about it, the whole situation was totally unnecessary and it’s clear that his is in way over his head when it comes to foreign policy.

THE MEDIA

Article by Makini Brice in Reuters.com on Monday, June 24, 2019

Trump says other countries should do more to protect oil tankers

Trump made the comments amid an escalation in tensions with Iran, as Washington has blamed Tehran for attacks on two oil tankers

THE COMMENT

I’m certainly not going to pretend to be anything of a foreign policy expert, but the situation regarding Iran and it’s capacity to make nuclear weapons appears to be very simple.

Few agreements are perfect, even fewer international treaties are.  This is because thrashing them out involves compromise.

Whether or not Trump appreciates this, his viewpoint has always been that the JPCOA, negotiated by Obama and the international community was a ‘disaster’, mostly because he doesn’t trust them to hold up their side of the bargain.

So he pulled the US out of the agreement and increased sanctions not only on Iran, but also on anyone doing business with them, yet all the while still holding them to their side of the agreement he ripped up???

Before any of the events of the past week, the situation was already absurd, all due to Trump’s own actions.

Now as he makes the sanctions even tighter, it comes at no surprise that the Iranian equivalent of John Bolton is going to have an itchy trigger finger and thus we have seen an attack on a Japanese vessel as well as the shooting down of an unmanned US drone.

Now we’re expected to think the POTUS is some kind of hero because he pulls out of planned retaliation at the last minute???  Then he tells Chuck Todd that the only thing he wants from Iran is ‘No Nuclear Weapons’ only to add ‘Stop terror campaigns’ in a tweet a couple of days later?

Now a whole week after the attack on the Japanese vessel all of a sudden he’s whining about having to protect the shipping lanes????

I know I’m no expert on foreign policy, but I didn’t seek election and I certainly didn’t do so by telling everyone I could make the situation better.  He has made it abundantly clear that he hasn’t a clue.

#IANWAE

The real reason the US political establishment is ganging up on Rep Ilhan Omar

THE ISSUE

Despite being a congresswoman for just a few months, both major US political parties are pushing a narrative that Representative Ilhan Omar from Minnesota is unworthy of her position.

THE MEDIA

“You have to wonder if she is an American first”

Brian Kilmeade, Fox News

THE COMMENT

I’m sharing this Young Turks video not to highlight the actions of Fox News, more to point out that it is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to elite opposition to Congresswoman Omar.

Nobody who has watched Fox News with a critical eye will be surprised by the blatant spin presented in the above video – Omar’s words are taken wildly out of context.

The Washington Post also did a good job in this video putting her words into the proper context…

But Rupert Murdoch’s right wing spin factory is not the only source of this misrepresentation, and her statement referenced here is far from the only example.

She was recently attacked for remarks she made that referenced AIPAC, a powerful lobby group that represents the Jewish-American community.

Again, whatever side of the issue you might be on, we have to wonder why her words were so blatantly taken out of context, not only by Fox News and Republican politicians, but also by the leadership of the Democrat Party and most significantly, the mainstream media.

It’s not as though the CNNs and MSNBCs are normally shy when it comes to playing clips of quotes when it suits them.  For example, how many times has Trump’s infamous ‘grab them by the pussy’ line been given airtime?  Seems to be at least once or twice a week even now.

Yet Congresswoman Omar’s quote, in which she clearly referred to herself when the entire passage is taken in context, was frequently branded as ‘Anti Semitic’ on political panels without her actual statement being played.

It took a comedienne to do what the broadcasters couldn’t…

Why the widespread revulsion against Omar?

Is it because she is Muslim?  Is it because the Washington establishment is genuinely concerned that she does not put ‘America first’?  Is it because they really do believe she is anti-Semitic?

None of the above, as far as I’m concerned.  I believe the push against is all about one of her first appearances on the House Foreign Relations Committee.

One of the principle consequences of the 2018 Midterms was that although the House was won back by the Democrats, the Progressive caucus was so strong that Nancy Pelosi had to make several concessions to guarantee that she returned to the Speaker role.

Among those concessions was the placement of prominent Progressives on key House committees like Intelligence, Judiciary, Ways and Means and in Omar’s case, Foreign Relations.

When she had one of her first opportunities to ask questions at a hearing, it was to none other than Elliott Abrams, who was involved in many questionable foreign incursions by the US in the past, and has now been appointed as President Trump’s ‘special envoy’ for Venezuela.

OMAR: On February 8, 1982, you testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee about U.S. policy in El Salvador. In that hearing, you dismissed as communist propaganda reports about the massacre at El Mozote in which more than 800 civilians, including children as young as 2 years old, were brutally murdered by U.S.-trained troops. During that massacre, some of those troops bragged about raping a 12-year-old girl, girls, before they killed them. You later said that the U.S. policy in El Salvador was a “fabulous achievement.” Yes or no, do you still think so?

I haven’t taken the time to check all of the congressional records since 1982 (or mainstream media interviews for that matter) but I’ll bet anything that Abrams hasn’t asked a question like this publicly in that time.

That is why Omar is being so blatantly smeared; the ‘Military Industrial Complex’, a major donor for prominent politicians from both parties, do not want questions like that asked in a public forum.  In fact, the President himself gave the game away in one of his attacks on her “She should resign from Congress, or at least from the committee.” (paraphrase).

Just to be clear, I’m not 100% aware of Omar’s politics, but when anyone is taken so wildly out of context it needs to be pointed out.

#IANWAE

Corporate media pats itself on the back for ‘solidarity’ in White House press briefing yet ignores progressive question

THE ISSUE

The majority of the corporate media may well be ‘anti-Trump’ but they also take care to make sure progressive issues are at best, ignored or at worst, belittled.

THE MEDIA

Clip by Lawrence O’Donnell in YouTube on Wednesday, July 18, 2018

“…the most perfect of White House press corps teamwork unfolded…”

THE COMMENT

It’s hard to disagree with Lawrence O’Donnell and for the most part I enjoy his MSNBC show The Last Word, particularly in the Trump era.  But much like news coverage by the Irish national broadcaster RTÉ, you often have to ask yourself if they are always covering a given topic to its fullest and consider what is being left out.

Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ press briefings are always contentious occasions, but yesterday’s was always going to be even more so given all that happened surrounding Trump’s Monday meeting with Russian despot/president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki and its aftermath.

Of course Lawrence is right when he points out in the above clip that it was nice to see NBC’s Halle Jackson and The Hill’s Jordan Fabian working together to prevent ‘SHuckS’ (why isn’t everybody calling her that????) from dodging important questions, having seen the entire briefing I think it would have been prudent for him to also mention what happened regarding April Ryan from the American Urban Radio Network.

Ryan and SHuckS have had several heated exchanges in the past and on this occasion, I thought her question was not only relevant but also one that was unlikely to have been asked by her fellow journalists in this session.

In her defence of the president’s approach to election security, SHuckS listed a range of measures she claims has been taken by the Trump administration.  Ryan wanted to know if voter suppression, in other words actions taken by mostly Republican state legislatures around the country, was also on the list.

At first, her question was completely ignored.  To be fair, Ryan was eventually allowed to ask it, yet while SHuckS offered some words in reply, none of them could really be considered a ‘straight answer’.

But this post is not about SHuckS, rather O’Donnell and the corporate media for which he works.  If there really was a general sense of teamwork among the White House press corps, then Ryan would have received the same help from her colleagues that Jackson did.

Ryan’s experience wasn’t completely ignored by the wider media.  Josh Feldman of Mediaite wrote of it in his piece : “April Ryan Confronts Sarah Sanders For Not Calling on Her in Briefing: ‘I’ll Keep Asking the Question’” while a more conservative slant was put on it in “April Ryan keeps interrupting Sarah Sanders – Sarah finally loses it” by the Daily Caller’s Benny johnson.

But with Trump finding new creative ways to shoe horn himself into the headlines every day, I can’t see the very real issue of voter suppression coming even close to the mainstream again any time soon.  JLP

#IANWAE

 

Peter Strzok hearing has Republicans struggling to stick to party narrative away from Fox News safe haven

THE ISSUE

Republican lawmakers are determined to use cherry-picked private text messages by FBI agent Peter Strzok to ‘prove’ the Mueller investigation is biased, and after months and months of analysing the texts on Fox News, he finally had the chance to speak for himself in front of the American people yesterday.

THE MEDIA

Clip by CNN in YouTube on Thursday, July 12, 2018

GOP Congressman Chris Collins : “Peter Strzok and Lisa Page…are a stain on the FBI…”

[Cuomo goes to his whiteboard and demonstrated there is no evidence of Strzok ever acting on this perceived bias]

Collins : “…the bias speaks for itself, again, he and Lisa Page are a stain on the FBI’s reputation…”

 

THE COMMENT

Forget Love Island or the Kardashians…THIS was what I call ‘Reality Television” in that it was entertaining, it was actually happening and most importantly, it actually mattered.  

“In the Majority (Republican)’s view, the text messages exchanged between Mr. Strzok and Lisa Page are a higher priority for us than President Trump’s request that James Comey end the investigation into Michael Flynn, or his decision to fire Director Comey “because of that Russia thing with Trump and Russia,” or his repeated attempts to fire Special Counsel Mueller directly.”

Congressman Jerrod Nadler, ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, lays out his party’s position very well in his opening statement at yesterday’s hearing.  And while I don’t always agree with the Democrat position, in this matter. namely the witch hunt on Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, they are doing a great job of laying bare the blatant misinformation and bullying tactics being used by their political opponents.

I only got to see the first hour of the hearing as it happened but even then it was most enlightening, and what is so significant about the proceedings is that it is the first time the agent has actually been able to publicly put forward his own defence of his text messages.

Looking at this with a rational eye, the conclusion is simple.  He is entitled to his viewpoint, he was stupid to express it on an FBI device but even given that, there is no evidence that he was anything but impartial in carrying out his duty, though just to be absolutely sure, Mueller took him off the investigation the second he learned about the messages.  So why are we still here engaging in this political theatre months later?

There are a ton of clips from the actual hearing I could comment on but they are too numerous to mention.  From an entertainment standpoint, one of the best moments was when Democrat congresswomen Bonnie Watson from New Jersey asked Republican Louie Gohmert from Texas if he had “taken his medication” after he repeatedly called Strzok a liar and brought up the subject of the agent’s extra-marital affair [because as we all know, the president the GOP are so desperate to defend would never do such a thing].

Or from a misinformation standpoint, I could highlight Strzok’s response to ranking Republican Trey Gowdy who attacked him as if all the evidence of his mindset is contained in a specific series of tweets, which he proceeded to literally examine word for word.  The FBI’s agent answer (when the congressman finally stopped interrupting him) got a round of applause in the chamber, albeit from the Democrats.

But for me, the most telling soundbite comes from Congressman Chris Collins (R-New York) who appeared on Chris Cuomo’s Prime Time show on CNN.  Cuomo seems to want to make the whiteboard his trademark, and to be fair he uses it well in this clip, and as you can see from the quote chosen above, when he uses it to press Collins, all he can do is go back to the talking point he was obviously given when he plugged himself into the GOP/Fox News ‘Matrix’ prior to the interview.

Of course Trump supporters (the select few who don’t simply go by his tweets and rallies that is) won’t have been watching Cuomo’s show – instead gorging themselves on the Fox News spin like they always do.  Still, for those of us who crave as much real information as possible, yesterday’s hearing offered us plenty.  I’d even go as far to say it was more entertaining than the World Cup, and for me, that’s saying something.  JLP

#IANWAE

Have the Republicans stolen another Supreme Court seat?

THE ISSUE

The resignation during the past week of SCOTUS justice Anthony Kennedy allows President Trump to appoint a young, healthy, cons replacement who could guarantee pro-corporate and anti-sivil rights rulings for decades to come.

THE MEDIA

Article by Adam Liptak and Maggie Haberman in New York Times on June 28, 2018

Inside the White House’s Quiet Campaign to Create a Supreme Court Opening

As he made his way out of the chamber, Mr. Trump paused to chat with the justice.

“Say hello to your boy,” Mr. Trump said. “Special guy.”

Mr. Trump was apparently referring to Justice Kennedy’s son, Justin.

THE COMMENT

A popular refrain whenever a new revelation emerges about ConManDon is : “What would he be saying if Obama did the same thing?”  This could be the most important one of all.

To my question in the title, ‘another’ refers to the fact that when Justice Scalia passed away in February 2016, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to hold a vote on confirming Obama’s pick as successor on the grounds that it was ‘too close to the election and the American people should decide’.  While this decision certainly did not break any laws, norms or protocols, it certainly established a new one.

Yet despite the fact that Kennedy has resigned much closer to a big election, namely the Midterms, it seems that Senator McConnell is suddenly much less concerned about whether or not the American people should weigh in.  Trump plans to have Kennedy’s successor nominated by the end of the week.

As you can see by the NYT article, there is much evidence that the Trump administration has gone to great lengths to prepare for Kennedy’s resignation, like rewarding all the justice’s clerks with appointments to district courts, and indeed two of his most favoured clerks are front runners to succeed him.

But of all the revelations in the article, the one that takes the biscuit is the fact that Kennedy’s son runs a division of the only bank that would loan money to Trump for property deals after he was turned down by other financial institutions due to his many failed business practices.

Oh and did I mention that Deutsche Bank is considered to be one of the ‘go-to’ banks for Russian oligarchs for money-laundering?

But of course it’s the ‘Failing New York Times’ after all, so I must be all ‘Fake News’.  To be fair though, the article itself doesn’t suggest that any seat has been ‘stolen’, those words are mine.  I still stand by them though.  JLP

#IANWAE

Opening statements at US House Judiciary Committee Hearing clearly lay out Trump v ‘Sane People’ nature of political discourse

THE ISSUE

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee are insisting that the FBI and Department of Justice hand over documents relating to the Mueller  probe into Russian meddling in US elections, knowing full well it can’t be done because it would mean essentially handing over evidence to Trump who is himself being investigated.  Yet despite knowing this, they still they choose to make it look as though they are hiding something so it can be used as a pretext for the President to end the investigation.

THE MEDIA

Clip by PBS News in YouTube on June 28, 2018

“…have we conducted any oversight at all on election security; on the family separation crisis; on the Administration’s failure to protect Dreamers; on the Justice Department’s radical decision not to defend the Affordable Care Act; on the Supreme Court’s recent decisions to undermine voting rights and workers’ rights; on the President’s ongoing conflicts of interest and violations of the Emoluments Clause; or on the myriad other pressing issues within our Committee’s jurisdiction?

No, as with so many issues, this Committee has stayed silent.”

“But on Hillary Clinton’s emails? Sound the alarms.

THE COMMENT

All the headlines from this committee hearing came from the aggressive grilling of Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Direct Christopher Wray by Republican congressmen Trey Gowdy and Jim Jordan, and it’s true, the exchanges were far more compelling viewing than anything going on in the World Cup at the same time (and I normally like soccer).

For me the most illuminating exchange came in the opening remarks.  Sure, it wouldn’t make the ‘news cycle’ because that is what all the shouting from Gowdy and Jordan was for, but it was in the opening statements by the ranking members of the two main US parties [House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and Congressman Jerrold Nadler] that the real differences between the two parties’ attitudes towards the Mueller investigation can be seen.

Just as a reminder, I’m not a 100% loyal Democrat supporter and I certainly wouldn’t automatically agree with everything said by their so-called leadership, but the contrast between the two statements lays bare the sheer mental gymnastics, assuming there are any mental faculties being used at all, required to accept the Republican party line.

Both statements are in the YouTube clip but I have also cpoy/pasted them below.  JLP

#IANWAE

GOODLATTE STATEMENT:

The Church Committee was established on a bipartisan basis and chaired by Democratic Senator Frank Church in 1975 to review CIA, FBI, and NSA surveillance abuses, including the improper surveillance of an American icon, Martin Luther King, Jr., and other prominent individuals. The Committee also conducted a review of the insidious monitoring of political activities of citizens exercising their First Amendment rights. The Church Committee’s findings resulted in passage three years later of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. FISA attempts to balance the need for secrecy in conducting surveillance against foreign agents with the protection of Americans’ time-honored civil liberties.

This history shows we have already found ourselves, once before, in a situation where the FBI and other intelligence agencies violated their oaths to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. In monitoring citizens’ political activity, the agencies exercised their responsibilities in a manner unworthy of U.S. officials. The abuses of that bygone era, and really of any era, often happen because of power – power to influence political currents, power to collect sensitive information, and power to wield surveillance tools in improper ways to achieve improper purposes. That power can and has been abused in the past, by individuals at the highest and lowest levels of our government.

Fortunately, the power of our intelligence agencies is overwhelmingly used to protect us from those wishing to do our country harm. That is the conundrum. We need our intelligence agencies to have the necessary tools and techniques to safeguard our nation, and we have to be constantly vigilant to ensure these tools are not manipulated by unscrupulous actors.

The recent Inspector General’s report revealed bias in the top echelons of the FBI during a hotly-contested presidential election. It revealed that FBI agents, lawyers, and analysts held profound biases against then-candidate Donald Trump and in favor of his opponent, Hillary Clinton. While those on the other side of the aisle continue to exclaim that these biases are only personal political predilections that had no effect on the operation of one of the biggest investigations in our nation’s history, I wonder whether these same Members would say the same if text messages had turned up to the tune of “Hillary is a disaster,” or “We’ll stop” her, or cursing her with all manner of expletives, or smugly stating that particular parts of the country “smell of Hillary supporters.”

These types of comments were originating from people who were the fact-finders in the investigation. These profoundly inappropriate comments were coming from the individuals who were making decisions on whether to provide immunity to people who had already lied to investigators, and whether subjects of an investigation could sit in on interviews with other subjects of the same investigation. These were individuals who were plainly in positions of great power with the opportunity to place greater, lesser, or even no emphasis on certain facts or interpretations of law. These actions led to complete legal exoneration of everyone involved in sending Top Secret emails over personal servers and unsecured emails- and setting up a server for the explicit purpose of doing this. These actions even led to exposing at least one classified email to a foreign party that risked serious damage to our national security. Amazingly, considering their overwhelming biases, these people were also the very same people who were assigned to investigate the man that they hated: then-candidate Donald Trump.

My reference to the Church Committee is apropos because it not only reviewed abuses by individuals, including the FBI Director himself, but focused in on surveillance abuses. Here, we now face the same allegations, yet in manner that goes to the heart of our democracy. It is right out of a novel with salacious, unverified dossiers, reports of informants that appear more like spies for the U.S. government, and application of the aforementioned surveillance powers to collect on a U.S. person once associated with President Trump’s political campaign. But it’s not a novel; it is real life and we are here today to understand a little bit more about why we now must review how our intelligence and law enforcement agencies engaged in activity that appears not only wrong, but potentially illegal.

All of which brings me to this body’s Constitutional oversight mandate and responsibilities. Our responsibility to the American people is to conduct robust oversight of agencies within this Committee’s jurisdiction, to ensure that taxpayer-funded agencies operate lawfully. Our oversight, though, is only as good as the information we are provided. This Committee’s oversight has been hampered by both the FBI and DOJ’s lack of consistent and vigorous production of the documents we need to hold the agencies accountable. While this production has significantly improved recently, it has felt like pulling teeth much of the time to obtain and review relevant documents. Moreover, we just recently learned that some documents the Inspector General received to conduct his investigation of the 2016 election have been interpreted by the Department of Justice to fall outside the first subpoena I ever issued as Chairman of this Committee. Shockingly, emails and communications of DOJ officials have not been produced at all. Therefore, we have not received any emails between prosecutors working the Clinton case.

Said differently, we are not receiving and have not received potentially enlightening communications between prosecutors themselves, between prosecutors and DOJ management including former Attorney General Lynch, or even communications between DOJ officials and those with the Obama White House. This is unacceptable, particularly when we had long before issuing the subpoena requested all documents provided to the Inspector General other than certain ones pertaining to grand jury material.

The Department of Justice and the FBI are not mentioned in the U.S. Constitution. The President and Congress are. Our Constitutional oversight necessitates that institutions like the FBI and DOJ yield to Congress’ constitutional mandate. This is non-negotiable because we must assure the American people that the agencies under our jurisdiction operate fairly, treating all equally under the law.

This hearing emphasizes the importance of transparency in helping to regain both the perception and reality of impartiality of our law enforcement system. Damage to the FBI and DOJ’s reputations is not something any of us desire. But now that both agencies have been on the front pages for so long, we must all work to ensure that those stories are able to focus once again on the great men and women performing admirable and often heroic jobs to protect our country.

We expect to hear today how the FBI and DOJ will hold people accountable and prevent this from happening again. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from both Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein and Director Wray.

NADLER STATEMENT : 

“Mr. Chairman, the events that have led up to this hearing are totally unacceptable.

“On Monday of this week, you notified us of this hearing without the seven-day notice required by the rules.

“On Tuesday, you started our Committee markup more than an hour late, without notice to the Minority. Then you allowed Mr. Jordan to offer an amendment to a resolution of inquiry that was patently non-germane—and then you stood out of view of the cameras, in the hallway just off the hearing room, while the Majority voted to overturn the ruling of their own Chair that the amendment was not germane.

“On Wednesday, you dropped all Committee business to interview Peter Strzok, who had already volunteered to come in for an interview before you threatened him with a subpoena.

“Today, we meet so that the Majority can criticize the Deputy Attorney General to his face, largely about documents that you know he cannot produce. We will take a break so that we can go to the floor and vote on a so-called “resolution of insistence” based on the Jordan amendment from earlier this week—a measure that is without precedent, without the force of law, and clearly a pretext for a move against Mr. Rosenstein that the Majority already has planned.

“And what is the great emergency that justifies this last-minute hearing? Why has the Majority abandoned the rules and traditions that govern civility in the House? The tired story of Hillary Clinton’s emails, of course, plus a few conspiracy theories about the Special Counsel.

“When President Trump and his Administration were actively separating families at the border—ripping children out of the arms of their parents, and causing untold suffering to thousands of families—that did not merit an emergency hearing.

“And now that thousands of children are still separated from their parents, with no clear plan from this Administration for reuniting these families, where is the emergency hearing on that issue?

“We know that Russia, after successfully interfering with the 2016 elections, is actively working to disrupt the upcoming elections as well. The former National Security Advisor testified that our intelligence agencies have received no instructions from the White House to protect the integrity of our election system. Have we scheduled an emergency hearing on that issue?

“For that matter, have we conducted any oversight at all on election security; on the family separation crisis; on the Administration’s failure to protect Dreamers; on the Justice Department’s radical decision not to defend the Affordable Care Act; on the Supreme Court’s recent decisions to undermine voting rights and workers’ rights; on the President’s ongoing conflicts of interest and violations of the Emoluments Clause; or on the myriad other pressing issues within our Committee’s jurisdiction? No, as with so many issues, this Committee has stayed silent.

“But on Hillary Clinton’s emails? Sound the alarms.

“Despite an Inspector General’s report that, in more than 500 exhaustive pages, demonstrates conclusively that the outcome of the Clinton investigation was not affected by any improper bias, political or otherwise, we are wasting precious Committee time to chase Hillary Clinton.

“The Republicans seems desperate to prove that there was some sort of pro-Clinton and anti-Trump conspiracy within the FBI when, in fact, the overwhelming evidence shows exactly the opposite. Virtually every action criticized in the Inspector General’s report—Director Comey’s July announcement, his disparate treatment of the Clinton and Trump investigations, and his October decision to announce the discovery of additional emails—ultimately harmed the candidacy of Secretary Clinton, and inured to the benefit of Donald Trump.

“But I guess we shouldn’t let facts stand in the way of a good manufactured emergency.

“According to the Republican memo for today’s hearing, today is also an opportunity for Members to consider “the Justice Department’s compliance with the committee’s March 22 subpoena,” a subpoena that was not issued in compliance with House Rules and, therefore, cannot be enforced.

“Even if it were a properly issued subpoena, the fight over document production seems to have boiled down to certain documents that the Republicans know the Department of Justice cannot turn over—much of it evidence related to an ongoing criminal investigation, the scoping documents outlining specific lines of inquiry in an ongoing criminal investigation, and the identities of confidential human sources still working undercover in the field.

“And that, of course, is the whole point. As part of their coordinated and determined effort to undermine the Special Counsel’s investigation, Republicans are requesting documents they know they cannot have.

“If they somehow find themselves in possession of sensitive documents that go to the core of the Special Counsel’s investigation, and if past practice holds, those documents will end up in the possession of the subject of the investigation—namely, President Trump.

“And if the Majority is rightly denied, they will do their best to undermine the credibility of the Department of Justice, the credibility of the Deputy Attorney General—and, by extension, the credibility of the Special Counsel.

“They will likely try to hold Mr. Rosenstein in contempt. Some have even threatened him with impeachment. They may argue that he must be removed his oversight role over the Special Counsel’s investigation.

“This is an investigation, I might remind my Republican colleagues, that has already yielded five guilty pleas, and that has led to the indictment of 20 people so far. The President and some of his closest advisors are under investigation for having participated in a criminal conspiracy with a foreign power against the United States.

“That is an emergency.

“The President practically confessed to Lester Holt on television that he obstructed the investigation into that conspiracy when he said that he fired former FBI Director Comey because of “this Russia stuff, with Trump and Russia.”

“That is an emergency.

“But is that the subject of today’s emergency hearing? No. Or of any emergency hearing? No it is not.

“I know that this has been a hard week for the Majority. I know that it must be tempting to change the subject and rally the base with cries of “lock her up!”

“But we do not have the luxury of hiding or voting present at this critical juncture in our democracy.

“We cannot hide from our responsibilities. We cannot hide from our obligation to conduct oversight of a corrupt Administration. We cannot hide from our constitutional duty to protect our elections from foreign interference, or to stand up for the rules, and for our democratic institutions, and for the rule of law.

“I ask my colleagues to consider this question as we proceed: when the Special Counsel’s work is complete, when the enormity of what he finds has been laid bare, how will the American people judge your actions today?

“I yield back the balance of my time.”