Today’s News Bits: House GOP Fun and Games

On Wednesday, June 12, the House GOP voted to hold Attorney General Merrick Garland in contempt for refusing to turn over the audio recording of President Joe Biden’s interview with special counsel Robert Hur. Hur, you’ll recall, was the right-wing toadie tasked with investigating Joe Biden’s retention of classified documents from his time as Vice President.

Hur declined to recommend charging the President with a crime, citing insufficient evidence. Hur also threw a bunch of gratuitous shade about the President’s aging brain. Hur then got hauled in front of Congress by irate Republicans who were angry Hur didn’t recommend charges. They also wanted to hear more of Hur’s opinions of Biden’s mental acuity. That hearing pretty much went nowhere. Then Gym Jordan and James Comer sent a subpoena to the Justice Department for the audio recording of Hur’s interview. Justice sent them a transcript of the interview but not the audio. President Biden had invoked executive privilege and said the audio will not be released. Justice’s hands were tied. That brings us to Wednesday and the contempt of Congress vote.

Yesterday a Justice Department official responded to the House Republicans, explaining that it was Justice’s “longstanding position and uniform practice” to not prosecute officials who don’t comply with subpoenas because of a president’s claim of executive privilege. This seems straightforward enough that even Gym Jordan ought to be able to understand it, but perhaps I’m overestimating Gym Jordan.

Here’s the latest:

 Speaker Mike Johnson said Friday that the House will go to court to enforce the subpoena against Attorney General Merrick Garland for access to President Joe Biden’s special counsel audio interview, hours after the Justice Department refused to prosecute Republicans’ contempt of Congress charge.

“It is sadly predictable that the Biden Administration’s Justice Department will not prosecute Garland for defying congressional subpoenas even though the department aggressively prosecuted Steve Bannon and Peter Navarro for the same thing,” Johnson said in a statement. “This is yet another example of the two-tiered system of justice brought to us by the Biden Administration.”

Johnson is, of course, leaving out the executive privilege thing. Joe Biden is the sitting president. He can do that. Neither Bannon nor Navarro had valid excuses for not complying with a subpoena. Johnson should have heard of executive privilege, considering that his God-Emperor Trump made some attempts to use executive privilege after he left office, which is not how it works. And Gym Jordan famously blew off a subpoena from the January 6 committee; he had no excuses either.

This is all just political theater, of course. The only reason Republicans want the audio is so they can creatively edit out some clips and use them in campaign ads. And they will continue to complain that “Joe Biden’s Justice Department” is corrupt and doesn’t play by the rules, even though it clearly does.

Also last week, Politico reported that Trump called Mike Johnson at some point and demanded the House overturn the 34 convictions against him. Trump is too addled to understand that the U.S. House has no authority over what goes on in a city court. Johnson surely knows better, but is said to have promised to do something anyway.

I am so tired of these people.

In other news:  Some top CEOs met with Trump last week.

Former President Donald Trump failed to impress everyone in a room full of top CEOs Thursday at the Business Roundtable’s quarterly meeting, multiple attendees told CNBC.

“Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about,” said one CEO who was in the room, according to a person who heard the executive speaking. The CEO also said Trump did not explain how he planned to accomplish any of his policy proposals, that person said.

Several CEOs “said that [Trump] was remarkably meandering, could not keep a straight thought [and] was all over the map,” CNBC’s Andrew Ross Sorkin reported Friday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

10 thoughts on “Today’s News Bits: House GOP Fun and Games

  1. Re: congressional critters blowing off subpoenas, they have freedom to ignore subpoenas, so long as they can tie it to "speech and debate," since the Constitution builds a seemingly insurmountable wall around that. Frankly, I think that, in return for being able to claim immunity, preventing them from being held responsible, they owe us the entire contents of that speech, and should have no right to refuse to provide testimony, so long as all legal authorities have acknowledged the congresscritter's immunity. "You don't get the 5th Amendment, because you're *already* immune. So talk, or go to jail for contempt."

    If it's not clear why I have those feelings, "speech and debate" is also why Ron Johnson doesn't have to answer questions about the false electors he tried to hand to Pence, before he realized Pence was there to ruin Trump's plan, not carry it out.

    I wouldn't call Johnson a traitor, even though that's the correct term for someone who makes war against the government, subverting the Constitutional order, in order to put an unelected government in charge, thus making war on the elected government, , giving aid and comfort to all enemies of the United States.



    • What the January 6 committee wanted to know from Gym Jordan had to do with his communications to the White House on January 6 and his role in planning for the electoral college votes from the "contested" states to be rejected, throwing the election either back to the states or to the House of Representatives. That's pretty far removed from "speech and debate." And snubbing the subpoena violated House ethics rules. 

  2. Go ahead and sue Mr. Johnson. By the time the courts rule on this Kamala Harris will be enjoying her Presidential inauguration. 

    • Don't count on it.  The USSC moves at a crippled snail's pace when delay helps Trump, as is the case with his immunity claims.  They'll move at lightning speed on this.

  3. It's scary what the GOP leadership is doing. Mike Johnson is beating a dead horse – the precedents on executive privilege for a sitting president are overwhelming. The ONLY occasion I can think of the privilege for the president himself being forced to give it up is Nixon and only because it proved the commission of crimes. In this case, Biden was sitting with a prosecutor, a Republican, who concluded there were no crimes. 

    So this is poor theater at best. For what purpose? They've said that want it to smear Biden – my description, not theirs. But there's no chance they will get it and never was. So what gives? Mostly, they want to bring a suit against the Biden WH, I suspect. It doesn't matter much what the substance or the outcome is. It allows Fox to claim the GOP is on the brink of bringing down the Biden crime family.

    Mitch has been throwing Trump shade, which does not mean they are buddies. The other thing mentioned in this post was that Trump called Johnson to have his conviction annulled,  Even more significant is that Johnson did not reject the insane proposal. 

    IMO, and I have said it before, the GOP will disintegrate when Trump loses. Johnson is gonna lose the House in November – he's tied all his hopes to keeping his majority to Trump kicking ass in November. (The Senate worries me, though the picture improves in the mid-terms.) Again, my opinion, but Johnson and McConnell know that if Trump loses badly, the legal preparations will fall short – again. Because Trump is a cult leader, a huge portion of MAGA will cling to that sinking ship. Ambitious wannabes are going to step up but MAGA is a coalition – the fetus people will fight the white supremacists who will fight the corporatists who will fight the christian nationalists. Every faction has at least one leader who knows he's smarter than Trump and thinks he ought to be the real leader. 

    McConnell would toss in big bucks for a huge wake to celebrate Trump's demise if he had a heart attack – except it's also the end of the line for the GOP. The "best" outcome for GOP survival is if Trump kicks off after winning and McConnell and the puppet masters can designate a new leader to try to salvage the mess. Maybe. But McConnell and Johnson are aware they can pack it up and go home if Biden wins,

    Oh, if Biden wins, I'd bet that the DOJ and the Pentagon are prepared to deal with  the stuff the flying monkeys will fling. Much is said about how Trump will be better prepared to challenge the election if/when he loses. Yeah, but this time, Trump does not control the DOJ.

    Trump made a comment this week that he might deliberately lose the debate to Biden to ensure that Biden is the Democratic nominee. 

    “Maybe I’m better off losing the debate. I’ll make sure he stays. I’ll lose the debate on purpose. Maybe I’ll do something like that.”

    If you believe that, I have some mountaintop land in South Florida, Great skiing only an hour from Miami. 

    MAGA will buy it, of course. I doubt if anyone else will. Trump is concerned that Biden can and will blow Trumps BS up – I commented at length about how yesterday. That was before I heard about Trump's comment – so he's thinking that he's in deep do-do in the debate also. I also read today that the details of the debate are holding up – no audience, a mike mute, and Jake Tapper and Dana Bash as moderators. 

  4. "Speaker Mike Johnson said Friday that the House will go to court to enforce the subpoena against Attorney General Merrick Garland"

    Johnson is a sad piece of shit. Hakeem Jefferies fucked up a few months back when MTG and the Q-caucus wanted to take Johnson out, Hakeem stepped in and saved Johnson's ass he should have let them bury him. Why does our side help these people?

    • I don't think Hakeem Jefferies was wrong to "save" Johnson, necessarily. As long as the House GOP holds the majority, the speaiker is going to be a turd. They judged that Johnson was somewhat easier to work with than some of the other turds.

      • "They judged that Johnson was somewhat easier to work with than some of the other turds"

        I don't think the democrats should be in the business of "normalizing" the GQP. I say let them elect the worst turd for speaker, let the American people experience what the GQP is full tilt boogie. Let them let their freak flag fly. Let it all hang out!

  5. Speaking of CEOs; former Sec of State Rex Tillerson needs to step up and do the right thing – admit he called tRump a fucking moron and fully explain why.  If he never does that I would think its because he is compromised by his Russian coziness, in addition to being a chickenshit.

  6. I have great respect for Andrew Sorkin as does the business community.  He does not write or talk in word salad, which is what he reported as hearing from Trump.  Word salad is actually a technical term used in psychopathology to describe exactly what you would think.  An assortment of words all mixed in a random manner, which fails to communicate any discernable meaning or at best a contradictory or ambiguous meaning.

    Let's use the opposite to add clarity.  When a SCOTUS in the minority writes if it quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, swims like a duck and looks like a duck I call it a duck, this is the opposite of word salad.  It communicates a message loud and clear in a readily understandable way to almost any audience member.  

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