In what the New York Times — with its characteristic understatement — called a “sharply worded letter,” White House Counsel Pat Cipollone responded to a 5 p.m. House Judiciary Committee deadline on Friday for letting Congress know whether the president or his attorneys wished to participate in upcoming impeachment proceedings with a big old F.U. The letter, addressed to Judiciary Committee chairman Jerrold Nadler, begins:
As you know, your impeachment inquiry is completely baseless and has violated basic principles of due process and fundamental fairness.
I’m guessing Nadler did not know that. Since Cipollone does know that Nadler has been instructed to draft articles of impeachment, and has simply asked if the president wants to have the opportunity to call or question final witnesses or speak on the record about the allegations against him, this passage in the letter is, shall we say, nonresponsive:
Adopting articles of impeachment would be a reckless abuse of power by House Democrats, and would constitute the most unjust, highly partisan, and unconstitutional attempt at impeachment in our Nation’s history.
Cipollone surely understands that while an impeachment effort can be partisan, or “reckless,” or unwise or unsuccessful, it cannot be “unconstitutional,” since the Constitution assigns the House of Representatives with the sole power to weigh and judge grounds for impeachment. Presumably his boss insists on this ridiculous language. At least Cipollone did not feel constrained to repeat Trump’s other frequent howler demanding that his House Democratic tormenters instead be impeached, since there is no such thing as impeachment of Members of Congress.
In an act of mercy for those Judiciary staffers who might otherwise have to spend Friday night waiting to see if the White House might after all say it wants to participate in the evil Democrat witch hunt aimed at removing the greatest president in our Nation’s history, a “senior administrative official” clarified the meaning of Cipollone’s letter for NBC News:
Cipollone did not explicitly answer whether the White House would take part in the Judiciary Committee hearing scheduled for Monday, but a senior administration official told NBC News “the letter means that the White House will not participate in the House proceeding.”
On the other hand, NBC notes that ranking Judiciary Committee Republican Doug Collins is letting Nadler know he wants to participate a lot in the proceedings by turning them into an investigation of Democrats and their deep state co-conspirators:
On Friday evening, just after the White House responded to Nadler, Collins released a letter listing witnesses that Republicans were seeking to call, including Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif.; the anonymous whistleblower; “all individuals relied upon by the anonymous whistleblower in drafting his or her complaint;” an intelligence community employee who spoke with Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman about the July 25 phone call; Devon Archer, former board member at Burisma; Hunter Biden; Nellie Ohr, a former contractor at Fusion GPS; and Alexandra Chalupa, a former staffer at the Democratic National Committee.
Collins displayed admirable restraint in not including on his proposed witness list Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Loretta Lynch, and John Podesta, to dig out the deep roots of the most immense plot since fellow travelers smeared Joe McCarthy.
You can wish all you want for some, any Republican to treat these proceedings solemnly, but so far they continue to honor the legacy of the late U.S. Representative Earl Langrebe (R-IN), who famously said on the brink of Richard Nixon’s resignation:
Don’t confuse me with facts; my mind is made up … [I’ll] stick with my president even if he and I have to be taken out of this building and shot.
Langrebe stood out among his generation of Republicans. He wouldn’t stand out at all today.