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One the one hand, Trey Gowdy is a miserable bastard who poisoned the public discourse and helped turn the House of Representatives into a dysfunctional shitshow. On the other hand, his Republican compatriots are a bunch of dribbling idiots who couldn't find their little Benghazis with two hands and a map. When Gowdy goes, it's morons all the way down on the GOP side of the House Oversight and Judiciary Committees. They won't have Trey there anymore to lunge across the table with a timely, "What I think my colleague is getting at ..." Jim Jordan and Mark Meadows will be left all alone to shout GOTCHA! at random intervals until sympathetic staffers intercede with that "special" coffee that keeps the boys calm.

So Monday's final hearing of the two committees was as much a swan song for the South Carolina SOB as it was an interrogation of James Comey. One last chance for Gowdy to prance around indignantly, shadowboxing with reality and pissing on the former FBI director's shoes.


Gowdy came out swinging, accusing Comey of betraying poor Donald Trump's confidences by spilling the beans about the time he asked the FBI to drop the investigation of Michael Flynn.

COMEY: He asked if it was a private conversation, which I took to mean is it the two of us having this conversation. I said, yes, that it was.

GOWDY: So you did not take from that any implicit confidentiality, that this is just between us?

COMEY: Yeah, I don't think so. I'm hesitating because it's possible, but I don't think so.

GOWDY: Well, it strikes me the options are that it was private and that you were the only two in the room, which both of you already knew, which begs the question why he had to say it and you had to agree to it, or "private" means just between us.

Gowdy went on to berate Comey for having the nerve to record the details of this private conversation, and then blabbing to FBI senior leadership that the president had just asked him to drop a pending criminal investigation into Mike Flynn. To which Comey responded, that's how we do with obstruction of justice, BRO.

COMEY: If I didn't tell the senior leadership team of the FBI about my conversation with President Trump, they wouldn't otherwise know and couldn't help me figure out what to do with what was potential obstruction of justice.

But Gowdy was ready for that one. It's his last week on the job, and he's pulling out all the stops. WHAT IF, the pardon power is so awesome and mighty that it allows the president to order the Justice Department to shut down criminal investigations at will?

GOWDY: What does the word "plenary" mean?

COMEY: What does the word "plenary" mean?

GOWDY: "Plenary." To say the pardon powers are plenary, what does it mean?

COMEY: Yeah, I'm not expert enough to give you an expert answer on that. And as to your -- go ahead.

GOWDY: Do you disagree with the following? "The Presidential pardon power extends to every offense known to the law and may be exercised at any time after its commission, either before legal proceedings are taken or during their pendency or after conviction and judgment." Do you take exception to what I just read?

COMEY: I don't think it's appropriate for me to comment on what you just read.

Okay, it might be inappropriate for James Comey to comment, but your Wonkette is here to tell you that is some high-grade horse shit. There is a vast difference between publicly issuing a pardon as contemplated in Article II of the Constitution and clandestinely killing an investigation into one of your cronies. Not even Rudy Giuliani is making this stupid argument. (Yet.) In fact, we wouldn't have believed it ourselves if he hadn't repeated the same nonsense a few minutes later.

GOWDY: From a factual standpoint, what is your understanding of the power to pardon?

COMEY: I'm not qualified to answer. I mean, I know the pardon power is written in the United States Constitution. It is broad. It is sweeping. Beyond that, you would have to talk to an expert.

GOWDY: What are the limitations -- you're right that it is broad and sweeping. What are the limitations?

COMEY: The same answer I gave you earlier, I'm not qualified to answer that question.

GOWDY:
If the President had told you he was going to talk to Jeff Sessions about letting Flynn go, would that constitute obstruction?

COMEY: I'm not going to answer a hypothetical.

That misshapen sumbitch done lost his damn mind!

Then it was on to the usual nonsense about poor, angelic Michael Flynn being perjury trapped by the villainous Peter Strzok who is BIASSSSS! Like, why do the nosy parkers at the FBI care if the National Security Advisor has secret talks with the Russian Ambassador and promises him sanctions concessions, then lies about it to anyone who'll listen? UNFAIR!

This line of questioning held up ... poorly. Before the hearing transcript was released yesterday, Judge Emmet Sullivan had torn Flynn a new asshole for smearing the FBI, forced him to publicly confess his sins again, and told him to go cooperate a whole lot more if he didn't want to be LOCK HER UPPED. Dumb move, Trey! But not as dumb as Jim Jordan, who literally took time out of a congressional hearing to ask the name of the CIA chief in December 2016 and whether the security bigwigs showed up at Trump Tower with a plan, or did they just wing it like a wrestling coach in a sauna with a molesting physician.

COMEY: [W]e met at Trump Tower with the Director of the CIA, the Director of the NSA, and the Director of National Intelligence, and a bunch of security folks, obviously.

JORDAN: So just tell me, though, the head of the CIA -- tell me -- refresh my memory who everyone is again. Who's CIA?

COMEY:
John Brennan was then the Director of CIA. Michael Rogers was then the Director of the NSA. And Jim Clapper was the Director of National Intelligence.

JORDAN:
So Mr. Clapper was with you?

COMEY: I'm sorry, sir?

JORDAN: Mr. Clapper was there in New York?

COMEY: Correct.

JORDAN: Okay. And you guys, had you talked before? Because, in this memo, you said, "Clapper wanted me to speak to the President-elect." So had you talked before this and kind of choreographed how the meeting was going to go and who was going to do what?

Not to be outdone, Texas Congresstwit John Ratcliffe spent several minutes trying to get Comey to admit that Hillary Clinton's server was hacked because someone she emailed unclassified information to got his own Gmail hacked and aren't those two things exactly the same, HUH HUH HUH?

Then he tried the old When Did You Stop Beating Your Wife trick.

RATCLIFFE: Did you ever violate your employment agreement with respect to the dissemination of government records relating to anyone other than Donald Trump?

COMEY: I disagree with the premise of your question. I don't agree that I've ever violated my employment agreement.

Curses, foiled again!

Soon after, Trey Gowdy leapt up and grabbed the microphone to stop Ratcliffe from jamming it into his own dick and shouting OWWW! over and over. More or less.

Then Gowdy yelled some more about Comey violating norms, while Comey (sort of) yelled back about this administration being a corrupt cesspool of incompetents, so how could bureaucrats be expected to follow regular procedure when OMG THE HOUSE IS ON FIRE!

COMEY: That was my word against his until he tweeted that I better hope there are not tapes. And it occurred to me -- Oh, my gosh, there may be tapes of this. Someone's got to go get them. The current leadership of DOJ will not do that. I've got to do something to make it clear it matters -- why it might matter to go pursue the tapes at the White House. Only a special counsel is going to do that.

And in case he didn't make it clear that the rot went all the way up to Jeff Sessions, Comey continued:

I had confidence in the person that replaced me [Andrew McCabe]. I did not have confidence in his ability to convince the leadership of the Department of Justice to do the right thing.

And so on for 173 pages of swill. Gowdy insinuated, Goodlatte frantically banged the gong on Ratcliffe, who wandered off on a tangent about the one time that Trump asked Comey to bust one of the "satellites" in his orbit if necessary, so obviously NO COLLUSION, and Mark Meadows arglebargled a bunch of sound and fury signifying nothing. Oh, and James Comey offered up a bunch of soaring rhetoric on the damage to the America's precious justice system from a president who lies and sows discord. To which we say, GFYS, YOU MADE THIS.

In sum, Bye Trey. Don't let the doorknob hit ya where the good Lord squeezed ya until there was nothing left but a misshapen orb of spite and nastiness. Onward Wonkette Soldiers to 2019!

[Transcript]

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Five Dollar Feminist

Your FDF lives in Baltimore under an assumed identity as an upstanding member of the PTA. Shhh, don't tell anyone she makes swears on the internet!

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Hello! Here a beautiful open thread for you to not comment all over, so that you don't not comment all over Dok's book club post.

I was gonna drop my Nonnie's recipe for Easter bread in here, but apparently it has to proof overnight and is also for approximately 87,000 people, so not much of a point to that! (Though here it is if you really want it. She doesn't do the egg thing, but if you want, you can put some dyed raw eggs in the braided dough before you bake. And you can add sprinkles, and anise if you're gross and like gross things) I was gonna try and make it myself last night, but have instead opted to just make waffles. Waffles are FINE.

So instead, I shall just leave you with this absolutely terrifying version of The Velveteen Rabbit starring Marie Osmond as said velveteen rabbit. Coincidentally, Marie Osmond is also Nonnie's 2nd arch-nemesis, after Rachel Ray (Rachel Ray because she doesn't pull her hair back when she cooks, and Marie for reasons I'm not entirely clear on but which I believe are related to a Weight Watchers commercial).

THE VELVETEEN RABBIT starring Marie Osmond - full length feature youtu.be


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'Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone' -- National Archives

Happy Day Before Half-Priced Easter Chocolate Day, Wonkers! Time to wrap up our Wonkette Book Club discussion of Winter War: Hoover, Roosevelt, and the First Clash Over the New Deal, by Erich Rauchway, a historian at UC-Davis. We're increasingly convinced the book might have just as well been titled Herbert Hoover: Christ, What An Asshole! As ever, even if you haven't finished the reading, jump in anyway -- there won't be a test!

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