Senate's Dumbest Republican Knows Why Trump Fired State Department IG, But SHHH IT'S A SECRET
This week's Sunday shows had so much stupidity, it couldn't be contained to ONE Sunday Rundown. After Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was done blaming Americans being fat for them being more susceptible to COVID-19, CNN's "State Of The Union" interviewed Wisconsin GOP senator and Oversight Committee chairman Ron Johnson on the Friday night Saturday Night Massacring of Steve Linick, the inspector general of the State Department (SDIG). Host Jake Tapper quoted Utah senator Mitt Romney's comments about this "threat to accountable democracy" and then asked Johnson to weigh in.
Johnson retreated to the super worn-out reasoning the GOP has trotted out for everything from Trump firing Jim Comey to the firing of Andrew McCabe to Trump's retaliation against Alexander Vindman and Gordon Sondland for testifying about Trump's impeachable (and impeached) Ukraine extortion:
Sen. Ron Johnson: "I'm not crying big crocodile tears over this [inspector general] termination."… https://t.co/kxZEE7PflL— The Hill (@The Hill) 1589766300.0
JOHNSON: [T]hey serve at the president's will. And that is true of every inspector general.
Tapper pointed the hypocrisy of this statement by playing the world's easiest "what if" game:
TAPPER: Well, no one questions whether or not he has the authority to do so. But I really have to say, I find it hard to believe that, if President Obama had gotten rid of four inspector generals -- inspectors general in six weeks, that you would have the same attitude that you seem to have right now.
Johnson looked for legitimate sounding reasons for Trump to have fired this IG, and then it got weird:
TAPPER: Well, what was their reasoning? Because all the public knows is that this acting inspector general was investigating whether or not Secretary of State Pompeo was misusing a political appointee to do personal errands for him. That's according to Democratic aides on Capitol Hill. And then a senior administration official has said Pompeo asked Trump to remove this inspector general investigating him, and President Trump did so. What are they telling you that makes you feel like you understand their reasoning?
JOHNSON: Again, I'm -- I'm -- I'm not going discuss my private conversations with senior administration officials. But my guess, this will all come out. Congress will be able to do what oversight it choose to do. I'm sure the Democrats in the House will call in Mr. Linick, and he will be able to testify, and he will be able to tell his story. And my guess, the administration will hopefully have an opportunity to tell their side of the story as well. I'm not crying big crocodile tears over this termination. Let's put it that way.
Oh, so it's a super secret squirrel reason! Well, calm down everyone. It's just a gentle secret between Trump and Senator Johnson. I mean, they've both been so upfront and honest before. Why shouldn't we take their word?
But, besides it being ludicrous to trust Trump or Johnson, it seems that once again Trump broke the actual rules for how you are to dismiss an inspector general:
The Inspector General Act requires @realdonaldtrump to give Congress written reasons for firing an IG 30 days befor… https://t.co/R0lHLvq63H— Eliot Engel (@Eliot Engel) 1589725062.0
So here we are again as the Trump administration pulls some shit like this, and Democrats try to hold them accountable with the very limited power they have. Both Rep. Eliot Engel and Senator Bob Menendez have announced they will be looking into Trump's latest Saturday Night Massacre:
The president notified Congress he will remove State Dept Inspector General and now Congressional Democrats say the… https://t.co/CKzXOvTDxB— Kelly O'Donnell (@Kelly O'Donnell) 1589654228.0
But now it seems Johnson has added one more wrinkle and somehow made himself a character in Trump's latest abuse of power. It is so common, for him!
Although this time it seems a different person has something to gain from this firing, and for once it is not Trump.
An inspector general has zero coercive power. The IG can’t fire anyone, promote anyone, or make agency decisions.… https://t.co/GI3RpC7UmJ— Ted Lieu (@Ted Lieu) 1589669909.0
Accusations that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo improperly used government resources, including asking diplomatic s… https://t.co/NYfiznysTm— The New York Times (@The New York Times) 1589763006.0
So this is awesome. Good luck with all of this, Mike Pompeo!
And thus concludes your second Sunday Show rundown, because there was so much stupid there had to be two of them this time.
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Your friendly neighborhood Puerto Rican Political Freelance Writer for @wonkette. Pop Culture observer, Amateur Movie reviewer & Comics fan. Former Active Duty Marine. All opinions are mine only.