Republicans are shameless. They give the word, “shameless,” new depths of meaning. They investigated the terrorist attack at Benghazi, Libya, continuing long after it was obvious that there was nothing to find, just because they wanted to make political hay out of the issue.
In April 2018, then Speaker of the House of Representatives Paul Ryan aired an ad touting the alleged benefits to most people of the tax cut he and his fellow Republicans had passed the year before. Not quite a year later, we now know how that turned out.
But a cardinal rule of “conservatism” in its degraded, U.S. variety is never to take any responsibility.
Their usual strategy has worked well for them, until now. They finally returned, in 2017, to having majorities in both Houses of Congress and a Republican president, which is how they passed their irresponsible, unnecessary tax cut. But the midterm election in 2018 strongly suggest that the voting public is not very happy with having Republicans in control of the entire federal government. They overwhelmingly gave control of the House of Representatives to the Democrats. Democrats failed to regain control of the Senate mostly because they faced a very bad map that year.
Democrats are using their majority in the House of Representatives to hew more closely to the design of the Constitution by exercising their responsibility to oversee the activities of the executive branch under pseudo president, Donald Trump, not only Trump’s actions as president, but the crimes he likely committed during the election that allowed him to gain the presidency.
They recently held a hearing at which Michael Cohen, former lawyer for Trump, testified. In December, Cohen got sentenced to three years in prison for two separate cases — his role in arranging pay offs to porn stars Trump had slept with to keep them silent during the campaign, which he said he did at Trump’s direction, and for lying to Congress about details of Trump’s attempts to build a building in Moscow, discussions about which continued during the 2016 election. Cohen had said before that he would be endlessly loyal to Trump, but he has now changed his tune.
All committees in both Houses of Congress have members from both Parties. The majority Party has the majority of members and chooses the chair of the committees. Cohen appeared before the House Oversight Committee, which, as the name suggests, handles matters that Congress is supposed to oversee. Given that he had already confessed to all the gory details of his crimes in federal court, and confessed to them because federal agents had raided his domiciles and office months before and had documentation of his crimes, his testimony did not seem that promising before the fact.
He turned in a star performance, however, and surprisingly so. After the hearing had been going on for a while, he made the cutting observation that none of the Republicans had asked him any questions about Trump, the point of the hearing.
Indeed, Cohen really fell on his sword, admitting his huge mistakes and explaining why he finally saw the light and realized that he should not have spent ten years covering for Donald Trump. It was really an amazing moment in our public life.
We have no way of knowing what consequences will flow from Cohen’s testimony, but it should give some momentum to the impulse to impeach Trump, which the House should do post haste.