If you missed the unrepentant clown show yesterday, Rep. Matt Gaetz gathered his 30-strong Republican posse and stormed the private impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill:
The hearing had to be delayed five hours while they made whatever point they were making about so-called “transparency,” when in fact, as the Times correctly noted, the stunt was about protecting Trump and trying to throw a wrench in the democratic works:
The entire spectacle was a circus — which was the point. This was a publicity stunt aimed at delegitimizing the impeachment investigation that Mr. Trump and his defenders have portrayed as a partisan inquisition. If a few rules and national security precautions got violated along the way, so be it. Mr. Gaetz & Co. were happy to oblige a president who has demanded to be protected at all costs.
Per Buzzfeed, things actually got very heated:
Democratic Rep. Gerry Connolly, who was inside the SCIF at the time, said he saw 20 Republicans facing down just two security guards. He said that rather than try to eject the members, House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff and the House sergeant-at-arms decided to wait them out so as to not escalate the situation.
“They were quite intimidating by shouting and screaming and saying, ‘Let us in,’” said Connolly. “It was actually very threatening to be there. I was frankly worried about where this was going to head.”
This is either stupid or infuriating, based on how made these things still have the power to make you so deep into this nightmare presidency, but the truly hilarious part of this story is that at least 12 of the clownish rebels were allowed to be there. It’s true! Per Buzzfeed:
Notably, according to a list provided by Gaetz’s office of the Republicans who RSVP’d to join the protest, 12 of them are members of the Oversight or Foreign Affairs committees — including Rep. Jim Jordan, the ranking member on the Oversight Committee — meaning they have been allowed to sit in on all depositions held in the SCIF in recent weeks.
And that’s the rub: These hearings are in no way “secret,” as the Republicans want to claim. They’re private, but committee members from both parties are sitting in on them in numbers that make any claims of secrecy seem bizarre. The truth, of course, is that Gaetz and others are trying to curry favor with Trump, who clearly has been pressuring everyone he can pressure. This is about protection, not justice. But Gaetz and the others should take note of recent history: Doubling down in defense of Trump, and giving him your total loyalty, means absolutely nothing to him, and everybody who has done so has been thrown under the bus eventually. Something always has to give, and with a president like this who truly only cares about himself, loyalty of this kind will only ever be punished.