House Republicans’ biggest plan just blew up in their faces

The House Republicans have been promising that the impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden was going to be filled with fireworks from the word go. We would see evidence of bribery and extortion and payoffs from foreign companies in the tens of millions of dollars, the “Biden Crime Family” would finally be exposed as the international gangsters they are Donald Trump would be exonerated. Or something. They held their first hearing yesterday and all those fireworks blew up in their faces.

Keep in mind that they decided to hold this preposterous hearing two days before the government is set to shut down because a tiny rump faction of extremists in their party is demanding that they get everything they ever wanted or they’ll hold their breath until they turn blue. Nobody knows exactly what that is other than to torture Speaker Kevin McCarthy and make America miserable again. It’s been reported that they have no plans to table their “inquiry” when the government is shut down even though their staff won’t be paid and all regular business is usually curtailed until an agreement is reached. Not this time. It’s full speed ahead.

It would be one thing if they had even bothered to prepare for this silly hearing. But clearly they did not. The day before the hearing we caught a glimpse of just how bad it was going to be when Jason Smith, R-Mo., the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, one of the committees tasked with pursuing the “inquiry,” was asked a question by NBC News reporter Ryan Nobles during a press conference.

That was a perfect preview of what was to come in the hearing the next day. They have been blatantly manufacturing what look like WhatsApp messages based upon IRS summaries of what was allegedly in them. In the hearing on Thursday, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, D-N.Y., caught them red-handed creating a fake Whats App message that totally distorted the actual text.

Even though, once again, Joe Biden wasn’t in office at the time which these Republicans don’t seem to realize means that he wasn’t in a position to commit treason or whatever they think he’s done, they sure made it sound suspicious.

The fabricated text message implied that back in 2018 Joe Biden’s brother James told Hunter Biden that he would “work with” his father alone for some nefarious purpose to give Hunter a “safe harbor.” Even though, once again, Joe Biden wasn’t in office at the time which these Republicans don’t seem to realize means that he wasn’t in a position to commit treason or whatever they think he’s done, they sure made it sound suspicious.

But more importantly, the rest of the summary, which they left out, showed that Hunter (then in the throes of substance abuse disorder) needed help from his father to pay for his alimony and his kid’s school tuition and his uncle Jim was offering to talk to his Dad to help out. This had nothing at all to do with business of any kind. It’s a personal text dealing with a family matter. They knew that and they purposefully doctored the text to make it sound fishy. I doubt it’s the only time their “evidence” has been similarly manufactured.

That was pretty much how it went all day long with Republicans stepping in it over and over again. The Democrats, led by the extremely competent Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin and aided by excellent committee members, Ocasio-Cortez, Rep. Dan Goldman of New York, Jasmine Crockett, D-Tx., Maxwell Frost, D-Fl., and more all of whom obviously did much more homework than any of the Republicans who babbled their way through the hearing, casting aspersions and throwing out innuendo with no evidence that the president had done anything wrong.

Even their “star witnesses” who had no evidence of their own to present, testified that a president could not be lawfully impeached with the evidence that has been presented although one of them, the perennial GOP impeachment witness Jonathan Turley, did say it was absolutely fine to go on a fishing expedition to see if they can find something that would fit the bill. (He didn’t say it quite that way, but that’s the gist of it.)

It’s clear that the plan is to use the hearings to curry favor with their Dear Leader, smear Biden and hope that a smoking gun emerges that they can use as an excuse to vote to impeach. But it seems that they themselves have lost the thread and no longer even know what they are accusing the president of doing. When confronted with facts, they can’t explain it.

Their Republican colleagues were dismayed.

Stephen Neukam of The Messenger reported that one GOP aide told him “Comer and staff botched this bad. So much confusing info from Republicans and Dems are on message. How can you not be better prepared for this?”

The right-wing media, or certain elements of it, also seem to be shocked that the hearing was such a train wreck. Fox News’ Neil Cavuto seemed somewhat befuddled by what he’d just watched:

I don’t know what was achieved over these last six-plus hours. The way this was built up — where there’s smoke there would be fire…but where there’s smoke today, we got more smoke…The promise of explosive testimony and proof …did not materialize today. The best they could say now after this six-plus hours of testimony back and forth is that they’re going to try to get more bank records from Joe Biden and his son. Said that they’re needed to determine if a crime was committed. Understood. But none of that was presented today, just that they would need those records to further the investigation after months of Republican probes that failed to provide anything resembling concrete evidence.

That is exactly correct. On the other hand, some of his colleagues were convinced that this was all part of a master plan:

I think we can all agree that blowing witnesses at a House inquiry would be a risky strategy. That’s something you definitely want to save for the trial.

Sadly, this will not be the end of it. It’s very likely that they will proceed to an impeachment vote and it’s also quite likely it will fail which is going to make Donald Trump very, very unhappy. They’d better hope that he is so busy with the two civil cases and 91 felony indictments he’s juggling that he doesn’t have time to pay close attention to this farce. 

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