C-SPAN screenshot

What with the White House blocking and delaying any of the actual subjects of the Mueller investigation from appearing before Congress, the House Judiciary Committee held hearings yesterday on the legal significance of the Mueller Report, with two former federal prosecutors explaining that yes, obstruction happened. Also there was Richard Nixon's White House counsel, John Dean, whose testimony in 1974 helped build the case for impeaching Nixon. Dean was there to help put the Mueller investigation into historical context, saying, "It's quite striking and startling to me that history is repeating itself, and with a vengeance," and he compared the Mueller Report to the Watergate "road map" prepared by Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski as a guide to impeaching a president.

Not that Republican members of the committee were about to take any of it seriously, because John Dean was a criminal, and you can't learn anything from a criminal, especially not one whose testimony about Nixon's obstruction was borne out by the White House tapes and other evidence. But he's a criminal! And it was a long time ago!

Unfortunately, Rose Mary Woods was unavailable to create an 18 minute gap in the Republicans' "questioning" -- a series of baffling speeches and diversions, really -- so we're going to just have to look at the video anyway, and wonder what happened to those weird old days when even some Republicans were capable of recognizing Nixon's criminality.

Ranking member Doug Collins (R-Georgia) made a very funny joke about Dean, noting that in 2012, Barack Obama had dismissed Mitt Romney's calling Russia a threat by saying the '80s wanted their foreign policy back. "Well guess what, this committee is now hearing from the '70s and they want their star witness back." Collins paused for laughter that never arrived. In the silence that followed, Collins could have made a more timely political reference by adding "Please clap."

Collins on John Dean youtu.be

Collins then went on to call Dean the "Godfather" of obstruction of justice, proving he can make those '70s references like anything, and said the committee really needed to focus on the "corrupt cabal" of rightwing boogiepersons who did Watergate, but worse, to Donald Trump.

Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) was so proud of his questioning of Dean that he posted the video to his own YouTube channel, because Gohmert impresses himself if no one else. Gohmert got right into the real scandal: John Dean is a criminal, and maybe John Dean was the one who did Watergate himself, maybe! Gohmert really zinged Dean by reading the Watergate charges against Dean, and then getting to the real important question: Did John Dean order the break-in at the Watergate?

Gohmert Questions Former White House Counsel to President Nixon www.youtube.com

Gohmert was so proud of the GOTCHA! that he asked, several times, "Did you order, or ever convey to order, the break-in at the Democratic headquarters?" Pinned down, Dean replied, "No." What a devastating blow to Dean's credibility.

We also liked the bit following that, where Gohmert rehashed something or other from a civil suit Dean took part in, prompting Dean to reply, "I don't even know what you're referring to." Gohmert then unleashed another zinger: It was an unsuccessful defamation suit against G. Gordon Liddy, who had called Dean "the biggest liar in the world." But that lawsuit was dropped, proving that Liddy was right and Dean is history's greatest liar. If you can't believe G. Gordon Liddy (a far greater Watergate criminal than Dean), who can you believe? Gohmert then pivoted, as required, to the real crime, the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign's contacts with Russia.

Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) laid into Dean, accusing him of being a monster who just hates Trump, and who unfairly wrote that Donald Trump was "incapable of doing anything." WELL! What about the thriving economy, and avoiding the nuclear war with North Korea that Trump nearly got us into, huh? Then Jordan got to what he figured must surely have been Dean's real reason for hating Donald Trump: Obviously, John Dean hates the Jews.

Jim Jordan questioning John Dean youtu.be

Maybe you were thinking about this when you said the president of the United States was incapable of doing anything, were you thinking about the fact that the embassy is now in Jerusalem?

Jordan pointed out -- at length -- that no other candidate who promised that extremely huge achievement had ever followed through, but Trump had, and maybe THAT'S what Dean surely had in mind. We dunno, maybe he was trying to tar Dean with Nixon's notorious anti-Semitism? In any case, the exchange led to one of the better laughs of the hearing, as Dean replied, "Mr. Jordan, I think that under the parliamentary rules of the House, I'm refrained from addressing a full answer to your question."

Jordan had Dean right where he wanted him! "You weren't refrained in your tweets and your comments about --" but Dean pointed out that he wasn't tweeting in the House of Representatives, now was he? Jordan said those tweets had to be discussed, since they spoke to Dean's "state of mind" -- when he committed the crime of hating the Jews, we suppose.

In any case, Jordan moved on, trying to suggest Dean had conspired with Michael Cohen's attorney, Lanny Davis, because you know what Micheal Cohen did? He lied to Congress! Then it was Jordan's turn to cry about the evil Russian investigation and the scandal of allowing a convicted justice obstructer to testify, O The Horror. Then he got into a pissy fight with Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler about whether Jordan had "disparaged" Dean, which Jordan insisted never happened at all.

The real winner of the day's dipshit crown was, not surprisingly, Legislative Shitmuffin of the Year contender Matt Gaetz (R-Florida), who spouted all sorts of bafflegab and non sequitur that had nothing to do with anything, but grinned like he was making the greatest trolling video EVER. And maybe he was? Gaetz was outraged that Dean had made money with a book that accused George W. Bush of being "Worse than Watergate," and demanded that Dean tell the committee how much money he made as a commentator on CNN. Nadler told Gaetz to drop it, and Gaetz bravely soldiered on, pointing out,

Mr. Dean has made a cottage industry out of accusing presidents of acting like Richard Nixon. [...] I would like to know how much money he makes based on making these accusations and exploiting them for his own economic benefit and you're saying that's out of line?

As real Americans know, anyone who makes money is clearly not to be trusted. Gaetz stopped short of calling for Dean to release his taxes to the committee. Then he was on to the most important point: As an old man, Dean had nothing to contribute to the discussion.

Gaetz making a speech at John Dean youtu.be

Gaetz: You're here to provide historical context.

Dean: Exactly.

Gaetz: And throughout history, you accuse presidents of acting like Richard Nixon and you make money off of it, right?

Dean: Not all presidents, no. Those who do act like him, I point it out.

Aha! Gaetz then got to the real point of his questioning!!

Gaetz: Let me ask you this question, how do Democrats plan to pay for Medicare for All?

Dean: I'm sorry?

Gaetz: Well, I figured if we were gonna ask you about stuff you don't know about, we would start with the big stuff, so do you know how they plan to pay for Medicare for All?

Dean: Who? The Democrats? Or, which candidate? Or can you be more specific?

Gaetz: Let's get specific to Nixon, since that appears to be why you're here.

Dean: Well, actually, Nixon DID have a health care plan... [laughter from audience]

So much winning! Gaetz, as the Washington Post put it, quickly "lost control of his metaphors."

Here we sit today in this hearing, with the ghost of Christmas past, because the chairman of the committee has gone to the Speaker of the House and sought permission to open an impeachment inquiry, but she has said no! So instead of opening the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump, which is what I presume the chairman wants to do and the majority of the Democrats want to do, we're here reopening the impeachment inquiry potentially into Richard Nixon! Sort of playing out our own version of "That '70s Show," [...] with you here as a prop. You are functionally here as a prop because they can't impeach President Trump!

Then it was Gaetz's turn to rail about the evils of the FBI collusion plot to destroy Donald Trump, and when at the end of all that Nadler offered Dean the chance to reply, he said only, "That was a speech. I don't believe I can respond to it. It's not sufficient time."

See what a complete farce the Democrats have made of the very serious business of the Judiciary Committee? Benghazi! Her Emails! 13 angry Democrats!

[ThinkProgress / WaPo]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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