June 22, 2023 | Reading Time: 3 minutes
The job of being a Democrat is so much easier these days
The House Republicans censured Adam Schiff and lost.
The House Republicans censured California Congressman Adam Schiff on Wednesday, because he advanced “allegations that Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign colluded with Russia,” according to the Post.
The resolution, passed on party lines, accuses him of abusing his power when he was head of the House Intelligence Committee, spreading “false accusations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia,” and behaving “dishonestly and dishonorably on many other occasions.”
You can see what’s going on here. The Republicans are taking the first in a series of (what I suspect are) intended steps toward something, anything, that might satisfy their desire for revenge. They seem bent on impeaching Joe Biden, but have started with Schiff’s censure. The goal over time is bankrupting hope of holding Republicans accountable.
But with choices come consequences.
The House Republicans are not making arguments. They are lying. They are not interpreting ambiguities. They are lying. They are not spinning facts to put themselves in the most favorable light. They are lying.
Lots of Americans are smart enough to recognize the difference between meaningless and meaningful censures and impeachments. And while the House Republicans seem to be proud of themselves for forcing such a breathtakingly cynical vote against Trump’s nemesis, they are actually making the job of being a Democrat that much easier.
It would be better if the information on which the Republicans based their decisions was good. But it comes from the rightwing media apparatus, which is global in scale, and which bends toward totalizing groupthink. Their info is upside down, backwards and prolapsed.
Case in point is the resolution’s first provision: “Whereas the allegation that President Donald Trump colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 Presidential election has been revealed as false by numerous in-depth investigations, including the recent report by Special Counsel John Durham, which documents how the conspiracy theory was invented, funded, and spread by President’s Trump’s political rivals.”
Actually, Trump did collude. Investigators did not disprove that, not even John Durham. To be sure, Durham tried to discredit two investigations, one into Russia’s sabotage of the 2016 election and the other into the FBI’s investigation of Russia’s sabotage of the 2016 election. But at every point, Durham failed. Moreover, he confirmed his failure on the day that the House Republicans censured Schiff.
During yesterday’s hearing, wrote historian Heather Cox Richardson, the “Democrats on the committee pressed Durham on the facts of the Russia investigation itself, and he, seemingly somewhat reluctantly, agreed under oath in response to questions by Representative Adam Schiff that the facts of the Mueller report and the Senate Intelligence Committee report were correct: Russia interfered in the 2016 election for the benefit of Trump, Trump’s campaign welcomed the help and shared information and secret meetings with Russian operatives, and the FBI was justified in investigating that interference.”
The GOP’s world is upside down, backwards and prolapsed.
The conventional wisdom is that democracy is in trouble when one of the parties devolves into an up-is-down world. But the conventional wisdom forgets something – that as one party devolves into lies, delusion and petty paybacks, the other’s job gets that much easier.
Remember that the House Republicans are not making arguments. They are lying. They are not interpreting nuances and ambiguities. They are lying. They are not spinning facts to put themselves in the most favorable light. They are lying so much that when they think they’ve thrown a hard inside pitch to jam Schiff, they’ve actually thrown a dinner-plate-sized pitch down the middle, and Schiff destroyed it.
“Why are you not standing beside me, the subject of a similar rebuke for speaking the truth?” Schiff said in response to being censured.
He went on: “Why did you not stand up to Donald Trump, why did you not reject his immorality, why did you not condemn his dishonesty, why did you not speak out when his horde attacked this Capitol, when he treats the nation’s secrets with such carelessness, lawlessness and disdain, why did you hide from efforts to hold him accountable, why were you silent, afraid, unwilling to do your ethical, constitutional duty, why did you cower, why did you cower – and why do you still?”
Don’t take my word for it. Just ask Matt Gaetz.
During the hearing, the Florida congressman, who may be the closest Republican in the House to Donald Trump, said to Durham that “when you are part of the cover-up, Mr. Durham, you make our jobs harder.”
It’s so easy being a Democrat these days.
John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.