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The panic before the storm

Republicans seem to be in full blown panic mode over the upcoming impeachment hearings. It appears that the Democrats have been taking notes about how Republicans act in their natural habitat and have adapted accordingly.

For example, the schedule for the impeachment inquiry and subsequent vote has been compressed. This gives Republicans less time to cover their asses and drag things out. Extending time has been one of their most valuable weapons. They’ve used it before with Iran Contra and the Valerie Plame-Scooter Libby affair. Extending the time frame gives them an opportunity to confuse the public by misdirection. It’s much harder to obfuscate when the explanation is so simple and attention is focused in a couple of weeks instead of months and months. The phone calls happened in July, we discovered them in September, the inquiry gathered facts outside of public scrutiny, which gives Republicans fewer opportunities to twist the testimony, and the vote will come before Christmas, which gives everyone time to think it over during Christmas break.

The timeframe is relentless and short. It’s causing some Republicans to do and say silly things.

Lindsay Graham now says that the impeachment isn’t legit unless we hear from the whistleblower. But the whistleblower was only one of a cast of dozens apparently who all saw the crime from different angles. (Bribery is a crime by the way AND it also happens to be an impeachable offense.) All these witnesses corroborate what the whistleblower reported to the CIA IG. Some of their testimony is primary source so the hearsay defense doesn’t apply. There are notes, text messages and meetings with third parties. The whistleblower provided more of a summary of what happened. The public testimony will lay things out on almost a minute to minute basis told by the people who were actually there.

Notice who is testifying. The people who are giving depositions are the ones who have nothing to lose but their careers right now. Except for Gordon Sondlund, none of them have done anything wrong. They aren’t going to jail. They aren’t being impeached.

The ones who are defying subpoenas are the people who will either need to tell about their actions in an unsavory bribery scheme or declare their 5th amendment rights to prevent self-incrimination. Declaring the fifth is never a good look. Did you notice that no one has been offered immunity?

In any case, the lineup is striking. Not one of those who have been implicated in this scheme are testifying when the overwhelming evidence is against them. Not one will defend themselves or others. It’s like one gigantic taking the fifth.

There are a couple of court hearings pending that were filed to compel those who have been subpoenaed to testify. One was filed against Charles Kupperman, one of former NSC advisor John Bolton’s deputies. Bolton himself says that he will abide by this court decision. If Kupperman has to testify, so will he. That was the default “let’s drag this out, add extraneous details and confuse the public” strategy I mentioned before.

But now, Mick Mulvaney, who has already admitted publicly that bribery happened, has joined the Kupperman lawsuit. That puts pressure on Bolton to either voluntarily testify or tie his fortunes to the rest of Trump’s henchmen. Bolton is no fan of Mulvaney. Bolton knows where bodies are buried. But he thought he could separate himself from Trump et al and at the same time poke a Democratic House committee in the eye. Looks like he can’t do both. He’s going to have to choose.

Meanwhile, AG Barr is meeting with Lindsey Graham to construct talking points of the public testimony before it even starts. Yes, that’s right, if you’re getting your news from Fox or your favorite right wing radio show host, you are going to be subjected to a bunch of misleading “alternate facts”, whatever that means. Your brain will be lead down conspiracy theory mazes with hidden Chewbaccas at every dead end, while the characters of some truly stellar public servants will be smeared with irrelevant details from their personal lives. This is the way the right wing works. It swift boats, it mocks parents of a dead Iraqi war veteran, it shamelessly calls women sluts. We can expect more of the same. I mean, YOU can expect more of the same, the rest of us will be focusing on the testimony.

By the way, YES, we want Trump gone. But It’s too late to overturn the election so we will remove him using the Constitution with the gifts of his own misdeeds against him. And he can take the whole corrupt Republican Party with him. Bipartisanship is impossible at this point in time. They’ve proven it time and again. It’s not a coup. It’s the Constitution. Trump and his aides didn’t have to commit impeachable offenses. They chose to do it because they thought (still think) that AG Barr will cover their asses. They simply can’t help themselves.

This is where we were headed back in the summer of 2016. It’s just that we figured it out and you guys let your emotions be manipulated. They will appeal to your tendency to respect and not question authority figures to get away with it. And YES, it will eventually affect you. A country can’t go down this road without the public eventually suffering some pretty severe consequences.

Anyway, someone noticed yesterday that Trump tweets a lot when he’s nervous about something. Yesterday, he had tweeted 84 times in a 24 hour period. The only time he did more than that was when Robert Mueller publicly disagreed with AG Barr’s summary of his report. You know, the one where Barr loosely interpreted it to say that there’s nothing to see here? Yeah, Mueller said he didn’t say that. There was plenty to see there. Trump tweeted like crazy on 5/1/19 when that happened. Yesterday, the number of his tweets nearly surpassed that of Mueller’s disagreement.

I can’t wait to see what they’re up to by tomorrow. Commence meltdown mode.

This isn’t going to be pretty. But if we’re lucky, it will be brief.

**********************

One more thing: If our country wants to rehabilitate its reputation and regain its pre-eminence in the world as fighting against tyranny and injustice, then impeachment of Trump and his removal from office is the best thing that we Americans can do. It will reassure the rest of the world that we do live by the rule of law and we can enforce that law.

If we don’t, we’ll be no better than a country ruled by a dictator and our fortunes globally will be tied to him.