Bless his heart. McCarthy is already playing a losing hand badly in defending President Trump in the Ukraine scandal. (See his appearance on “60 Minutes.”) Now he’s arguing process, which is a really bad place to be.
Back when Barack Obama was president, Republicans sued him over an action he took on Obamacare in 2014. When a Wall Street Journal column tut-tutted Democrats for making process arguments against the suit, conservative scribe Michael Barone swooped in to provide backup with a rule that is super relevant now.
It goes like this: “All process arguments are insincere, including this one.” I’m sure you can think of many instances in which this rule seems to apply, but most or all of them will probably involve people you disagree with. ... So just for exercise, you might want to think of an instance when someone on your side of the political debate has made an obviously insincere process argument.
Enter McCarthy, whose two-page letter is a gold-star example of Barone’s rule. After listing 10 process-y yes-or-no questions for Pelosi, McCarthy declared, “By answering ‘no’ to any of the above, you would create a process completely devoid of any merit or legitimacy.” What’s so precious about this entire exercise is what the president uttered before McCarthy’s missive. “And by the way, likewise, China should start an investigation into the Bidens because what happened in China is just about as bad as what happened with Ukraine,” Trump said Thursday. That came more than a week after the White House released the notes from the July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president. That came hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo finally confirmed that he had been on that call. And after the release of the whistleblower’s complaint confirmed the details in the call notes.
As expected, Madam Speaker was having none of it. “The existing rules of the House provide House Committees with full authority to conduct investigations for all matters under their jurisdiction, including impeachment investigations,” Pelosi responded to McCarthy in a pithy letter of her own. “There is no requirement under the Constitution, under House Rules, or House precedent that the whole House vote before proceeding with an impeachment inquiry.”
There is one thing McCarthy wrote that I agreed with. “[A]nything less than a thorough, transparent, and fair process would represent a supreme insult to our Constitution and the millions of Americans who rely on their voices being heard through our democratic system of government,” he wrote. McCarthy is right, which is why he and other Republicans should stop insulting the Constitution by giving political cover to a president who shreds it with every utterance. While he’s at it, he should stop insulting our collective intelligence by trying to convince us that we haven’t seen and heard what we have seen and heard.
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