Republicans Attack Closed Door Congressional Hearing

On May 12, 1858, Representative Preston Brooks (D-SC), an ardent segregationist, attacked abolitionist Senator Charles Sumner (R-MA) on the floor of the United States Senate, almost killing him.

Overall, there have been more than 70 acts of violence in the Congress of the United States, but this is first time since the turn of the 20th century that mob violence has returned to the halls of Congress.

Democracy Is Falling Apart Before Our Eyes

As reported in the New York Times today, More than 24 House Republicans attempted to invade a closed door meeting of the House Intelligence Committee meeting where members of the Intelligence, Judiary and Foreign Affairs Committees were about to depose Deputy Assistant Secretary for Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Laura K. Cooper on matters relating to the “Quid Pro Quo” investigation into the withholding of American aid to Ukraine in exchange for dirt on Vice President and current Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden and his family.

Attendence at closed door meetings on sensitive matters is restricted to the members of the relevant committees. While there were Republicans present and attending the closed door meeting, other Republicans Congressmen demanded that they be allowed in, some of them brandishing cell phones, which are not permitted in closed-door meetings.

The insurgent Republicans were ejected from the meeting room by the Sargeant at Arms under orders from committee chairperson Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), who has become the focal point for Trump’s animosity towad the Ukraine investigation.

Commentary:

Once upon a time, we lived in a country where civil debate was possible. This no longer seems to be the case.

Civility went by the boards during the 2016 Republican debates, during which presidential candidate Donald Trump raked one Republican presidential aspirant over the coals, using scorn and ridicule to drive established Republican leaders out of the race.

The incivility continued during the 2016 Democratic National Convention, where a divided convention was torn apart by the Clinton and Sanders factions, and things have been going downhill ever since.

Incivility is one thing, but attempting to disrupt the proceedings of authentic congressional committees going about their appointed tasks in an investigation of the extraordinary behavior of the President Donald Trump goes WAY beyond the pale.

Rudeness is one thing. We have come to expect that from Republicans. This is something else entirely. When elected members of a government attempt to prevent other elected members of that same government from conducting a legitimate investigation, we have crossed the faint and increasingly difficult to define line between democracy and mob rule.

If this should happen again – and I think it will – subsequent events of this type will be seen as harbingers of the breakdown of the civil society that was once the pride of this nation. We are becoming our own worst enemies.

The Role of the Instigator-in-Chief

There is not much room for doubt that the attempted disruption of the bipartisan, legally authorized, properly noticed and correctly organized House Intelligence Committee is a direct result of Donald Trump’s repeated attempts to convince his base that there is something illegitimate about a completely legitimate investigation of his behavior in the presidency.

Through his public statements, Trump has encouraged his followers to disrespect the rule of law, and the ordinances of this Republic.  Whether or not he himself asked anyone to organize this action, it is absolutely clear that someone spoke to someone else. Twenty-four congressmen don’t show up anywhere without someone organizing them to do so.

So, once and for all, let’s be clear about this:  Attempting to invade a closed door meeting in a secure facility is a criminal act. Organizing a group of people to commit such a criminal act is conspiracy and under the RICO statute can be construed as an operation of an organized crime organization.

The cards are now on the table.  Members of the Republican party were engaged in a criminal conspiracy and the only reason that charges aren’t already being filed against those Congressmen is that Donald Trump controls the Justice Department through his henchman, William Barr.

Face facts. This is no longer a civil society.  No more justice will be forthcoming from the Justice Department, and the Supreme Court will do nothing to protect the American people from the depredations of this basket of  depraved deplorables.

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