It’s indisputable that much of what takes place in congressional hearings have a partisan edge to them. It is essentially baked in the cake. That is to be expected.
Seldom, however, will you see a hearing like the one conducted yesterday on Capitol Hill, in which a witness is subjected to scurrilous and indecent character attacks, the likes of which Donald Trump engages in on a daily basis and which the self same legislative thugs alternately excuse, deflect and remain silent on as frequently.
Spanning close to 10 hours – two hours longer than even allowed in the most exhausting legal depositions – the hearings scheduled and dominated by House Republicans purposed to sacrifice FBI official Peter Strzok on the alter of their political demi-god, Donald Trump, who is under a cloud of suspicion of aiding and abetting a Russian counter intelligence operation intended to subvert our national election two Novembers ago.
The hearings – really a poorly stage managed bit of political theater, intended for the exclusive benefit of stalwart Trump base voters – was an exercise that was patently and obviously (to anyone that is not an habitual Fox News viewer) unwarranted and unjustified, given the fact that Strzok had already provided, in a previous closed door session, extensive answers to all relevant questions relating to his conduct as a member of the team investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia during the election.
Most readers will have heard or seen Congressman Louie Gohmert’s vituperative line of questioning, which notoriously featured the following question that had no bearing on the subject at hand:
“I can’t help but wonder when I see you looking there with a little smirk, how many times did you look so innocently into your wife’s eye and lied to her about Lisa Page?”
The chamber erupted at this question. What few have heard, is Mr. Strzok’s apt response to Gohmert’s defamatory insinuation. Strzok replied, “your questioning of a look I would engage in with a family member who I have acknowledged hurting goes more towards a discussion of your character, and what you stand for, and is going (on) inside you, than mine.”
Here is the exchange:
Perhaps most riveting – in a car crash that you can’t avert your eyes from sense, was confirming what Arizona voters should know about House member Paul Gosar (R-AZ), but apparently do not – that he is almost as much of an idiot, perhaps more so than Donald Trump. Gosar began his tirade against Peter Strzok, with the bizarre non sequitor, “I’m a dentist, OK. So I read body language very, very well.”
As far as anyone knows, there is no training in dental school relating to body language. Despite that, Gosar proceeded. “I watched your comment and actions with Mr. Gowdy. You got very angry in regards to the Gold Star family. That shows me it’s innately a part of you and a bias.” It went downhill from that point. Strzok parried Gosar with this brilliant rejoinder:
“Sir, I disagree. I don’t know if you are saying that this experience is like being at the dentist, if that’s what you’re suggesting…I would tell you sir, what you see in my response is a general response for the United States of America. What you see is a passion as a patriot. What you see is a general anger in people turning that upside down.”
If Gosar seemed out of his league and off the rails up to that point in the exchange – it pales in comparison with his mental Fukushima that commences at approximately 2:28 in this video clip, where Gosar awkwardly struggles to articulate the nature of our Constitutional election process. Painful to watch and to listen to:
Agent Strzok, summed up the nature of the hearing with exquisite precision. “I have the utmost respect for Congress’s oversight role, but I truly believe that today’s hearing is just another victory notch in Putin’s belt and another milestone in our enemies’ campaign to tear America apart. Strzok added, “As someone who loves this country and cherishes its ideals, it is profoundly painful to watch and even worse to play a part in.”
It’s child’s play to interpret how this hearing plays into the strategy of the GOP Congress. The naked desperation was palpable – as palpable as the smell of sweat from a person who hasn’t bathed for a fortnight or longer.
Republicans have made their decision that their political fortunes are tied to Donald Trump and as such, they are using every device at their disposal to cast doubt on the Mueller investigation. Just in the last 24 hours there is more for them to be concerned with. Special Counsel Robert Mueller has issued indictments of 12 more persons connected with the Russian counter-intelligence bureau, the General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), for cyber surveillance operations against the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton campaign.
Included in those indictments is reference to a successful breach by agents of Russian President Vladimir Putin, into voter registration databases in at least 21 states and possibly as many as 39 states in America.
Republicans are also as nervous as the turkey the day before Thanksgiving, about Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen, who has telegraphed his intentions by hiring Clinton lawyer Lanny Davis as part of his defense team. That, and numerous other next shoes to drop are compelling House Republicans to deploy various and sundry obfuscation tactics in advance of the mid-term elections this fall.
One of the most telling details of the silliness of this hearing is the persistent hyperbole that led up to it. We were told by GOP media operatives, right wing media outlets and various members of Congress that the Inspector General’s report on Strzok was going to amount to a smoking gun – an absolute bombshell that would reveal wrongdoing in connection with the Russian investigation.
Trump himself, not surprisingly, established the tone and the content of the counter attack, with his misleading statements about the previous IG report which yielded him no lasting propaganda value:
Trump’s bumbling legal media liaison, Rudy Giuliani, predicted last month that the IG reports on former FBI Director James Comey (referenced in the above tweet) and on Peter Strzok, would be the instrumentality of the end of the Mueller investigation. “I believe that (Deputy Attorney General) Rod Rosenstein and Jeff Sessions have a chance to redeem themselves and that chance comes about tomorrow. It doesn’t go beyond tomorrow.” Giuliani added that, “Let’s take a halt to the Mueller investigation. Let’s stop that and get rid of all the agents doing the Mueller investigation.”
They are all taking their cues from the president, who, in reference to Strzok, tweeted:
Instead of a bang, the Inspector General’s report on Strzok turned out to be a whimper – a whoopie cushion, if you will, with a rupture .
The hot air from Republicans was deflated by the report which found no evidence that Peter Strzok’s views of Donald Trump had any play in terms of his role in the investigation.
The summary conclusion of the IG’s report states that even though the agency’s reputation for political independence was, to a degree compromised, “We did not find documentary or testimonial evidence that improper considerations, including political bias, directly affected the specific investigative actions we reviewed.”
Keep in mind, this was an exhaustive investigation spanning 500 pages, at the end of the day, there is no there, there. The report confirmed Mr. Strzok’s claim that “The fact is, after months of investigations, there is simply no evidence of bias in my professional actions.” The Wall Street Journal agreed, stating that, “texts critical of Mr. Trump represent a fraction of the roughly 7,000 messages, which stretch across 384 pages and show no evidence of a conspiracy against Mr. Trump”.
The implication that the Republicans in this hearing were attempting to promote – that law enforcement professionals in the ranks of the FBI, are devoid of opinions about politics and more to the point, about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, is incredibly preposterous.
On the issue of trust, when you assess the credibility of a man who has served the American people, with a stellar record for 22 years; a man highly regarded by fellow professionals, who had a single blemish on his professional record, (using a government issued phone for private texts) – as compared to his chief accuser – a man who is on his third wife, has bankrupted multiple businesses, stiffed workers and contractors, bait and switched enrollees at his bogus “University” and who, by recent estimates, either lies, misrepresents material facts or issues patently false statements on the average of 6 times per day – the contrast is clear. Peter Strzok knocks the authenticity factor out of the park.