As Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee attempt to disrupt Monday's impeachment hearings with random Parliamentary Inquiries and demands for a vote on whether the committee can take a 15-minute break, it's starting to feel like years ago that Ted Cruz so embarrassed himself on Meet The Press that you could hear people on set laughing at him. It was just yesterday, however, that the Texas senator so eagerly defended Donald Trump—the man who insulted his wife's appearance and suggested his father was involved in the JFK assassination—by spreading the evidence-free conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. Anything to defend the most glorious leader.
But it seems others were determined to match Cruz's wraith status in defense of the president's clear abuse of power. Well, they mostly don't defend Trump's behavior on the merits, or even talk about that specific behavior much at all. There's always some galaxy-brain sideshow rooted in conspiracy theories—like The Ukrainian Intervention—or some bizarro interpretation of the Constitution's impeachment clause, or a genuinely horrifying view on the limits to presidential power (mostly, that there are none). But the House minority leader, Kevin McCarthy, debuted a whole new one on The Fox News Channel this morning.
"In modern history, we've never gone after impeaching a president in the first term" -- Kevin McCarthy argues that there's a precedent against impeaching presidents before their second term 😂 pic.twitter.com/lPJMJGlIQy— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) December 9, 2019
The first term's a freebie! Do whatever you want! Congress can't do anything without overturning an election! The only way to hold a president accountable for abusing his power is to wait for the next election, even if he's abusing his power to ratfuck the next election. Of course, President Andrew Johnson was impeached in his first term, but don't get caught up in the details. Al Green! Democrats have always wanted to impeach!
None of this is a defense of the president's actual conduct, but why do that when you can just make stuff up? Introducing the First-Term Rule, which allows the president to, presumably, dissolve Congress and the courts as long as it's wrapped up before November 2020. Certainly, it seems to include extorting a foreign government into attacking American democracy. McCarthy made peace with all of this long ago, though. He's one of Trump's most ubiquitous apparatchiks, even after, according to the Washington Post, he said this leading up to the 2016 election:
“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.
House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy...
Some of the lawmakers laughed at McCarthy’s comment. Then McCarthy quickly added: “Swear to God.”
Ryan instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”
Last week, McCarthy claimed this was a joke. Funny stuff. Considering this is also the guy that blabbed on national television that Republicans held the Benghazi hearings to lower Hillary Clinton's poll numbers, you might be sensing a pattern here. Keep up the good work, Kev.
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