Durst column: Impeachment short form
For all those who keep saying it can’t get any weirder, this is on you. Haven’t we learned not to taunt the gods? Like those good people whose only motivation for voting for Donald Trump was to shake things up. Are we shook up enough yet?
But who would have thunk the new man in charge of the Justice Department could establish a world record for shameless obsequiousness this fast? He’s put the “ole” in grovel and makes Rudy Giuliani look like a blundering, bumbling bungler. Well, he is, but in contrast, the distinction is even more acute.
In less than 10 weeks, Attorney General William Barr has defied subpoenas, Congress, the Constitution, common sense, good practices, good grammar and good grooming all to protect the president of the United States from being held responsible for his actions.
Appearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Donald Trump’s handpicked replacement for Jeff Sessions proved to be such a presidential lapdog, he should be recognized by the American Kennel Club as the 194th breed.
Listen close and you can hear the wailing from Hollywood publicists who realize Barr has lowered the bar and they’re going to have service their clients with even more excessive sycophantic subservience. The phrase “bow and scrape” will take on asphalt-scuffing connotations.
A problem with this new breed of cur is they’re not very housebroken, as he’s refused to appear in front of the junior chamber’s version of a Judiciary Committee, objecting to having committee staff lawyers interrogate him. Answering questions from Congress members is one thing, but actual lawyers? That’s another. Some of those people are smart.
He said when the president told former White House counsel Don McGahn to tell Sessions to fire the special counsel that didn’t mean Trump wanted to fire the special counsel. He also believes a president can terminate any proceeding he wants. Because he is The Law. Sylvester Stallone would be so proud.
Barr has effectively created a Catch-22: implying that the president cannot commit a crime, hence he can’t be subject to a criminal investigation. Funny, he doesn’t look like a Norman Mailer fan.
Under questioning by California Sen. Kamala Harris, Barr then claimed he couldn’t remember if the White House ever asked or suggested that the Justice Department investigate anybody, you know, like an enemies list. Dodging Richard Nixon’s playbook he stole a page from Bill Clinton’s, saying he was confused by the word “suggest.” He seems perplexed by quite a few words like “truth,” “justice” and “the American Way.”
The House plans to initiate contempt proceedings unless Barr hands over the full unredacted version of Mueller’s report, but enforcement of a contempt charge is the purview of the Justice Department. Headed by the aforementioned William Barr. So chances of him throwing himself in the hoosegaw are somewhere between less than none and dream on big river.
Now, calls for the attorney general to resign or threats to impeach him are competing directly with the president’s sticky situation. Maybe the Democrats can set up an abbreviated process. Impeachment: The Short Form.
What the hell, throw Mike Pence on the fast- track as well. Get some Silicon Valley venture capitalist to fund a start-up. Launch an Impeachment IPO. As Hunter S. Thompson once said, “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.”
Will Durst is an award-winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comic and former sod farmer in New Berlin, Wisconsin.
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