Judiciary Whistleblower Hearing Dragged Ass. Get It Together, Judiciary Committee!
Wednesday, two currently serving lawyers from the Department of Justice testified as whistleblowers before the House Judiciary Committee, and the claims they brought forth were stunning, but not exactly surprising. (Yes, somehow both of those at the same time.)
Aaron Zelinsky, who served as a prosecutor on Robert Mueller's team and on the Roger Stone case, and who withdrew from that case when his superiors suddenly intervened to get them to go easy on Roger Stone in terms of sentencing recommendations, confirmed all our worst suspicions about how that only happened because Attorney General Bill Barr was giving special treatment to Stone, because of his status as one of Donald Trump's BFFs.
Meanwhile, John Elias from the Antitrust Division came forward to tell stories about Bill Barr starting abusive, fruitless bullshit investigations into cannabis companies, because he just doesn't like the cannabis industry, and fruitless bullshit investigations into auto companies because Trump was mean-tweeting them that day. Elias's account should tell you a lot about where Barr's bullshit Durham investigation into OBAMAGATE! might be going, and what an abusive waste of the public trust it really is.
And yet? For the most part, it dragged ass.
The moment most of the TV news kept coming back to came early, when yelping greasefire GOP Rep. Louie Gohmert clearly felt very aspersed on his asparagus by Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler letting a witness Gohmert did not like talk li'l too much, and started banging on the table incessantly, to drown out the witness. His reasoning was that if the rules don't apply to the witness, then he must also be allowed to MAKE NOISES!
And it did make for good television!
Brian Williams ended his MSNBC show chuckling about that last night, like "Your House of Representatives at work!" As if somehow Gohmert's behavior was representative of all of Congress and both sides are just so SILLY. Chuckle chuckle!
In fact, Republicans played their absurd obstruction game the entire time, with Georgia Rep. Doug Collins doing his banshee redneck auctioneer thing complaining about the rules, and Jim Jordan filibustering hard and fast about unrelated made-up Fox News scandals, like he was trying to distract you from a college wrestler being sexually attacked by the Ohio State team doc in the next room.
But yet, it was Jim Jordan — JIM FUCKING JORDAN — who actually extracted some of the most useful information out of Aaron Zelinsky, information we had to sit through many questioners to get. You see, Zelinsky's opening statement was chock-full of references to "my supervisor told me this" and "so-and-so bigwig important DOJ guy said Bill Barr's handpicked acting US attorney only did this to the Stone sentencing because he's scared of Donald Trump." Those references read, to us, as Zelinsky saying "Please ask me for these people's names, because I am ready to put these motherfuckers on blast."
And Zelinsky did put them on blast, for Jim Fucking Jordan. Gonna copy/paste from Politico for a sec:
Zelinsky said multiple supervisors, including J.P. Cooney, the chief of his office's Fraud and Public Corruption Section, were in the room for those discussions and that at least some of those officials were in contact with Barr and then-acting U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea about the matter.
Zelinsky also named Alessio Evangelista, then the first assistant U.S. attorney for Washington D.C., as a participant in those discussions.
See, that is good information for Congress to have for investigating purposes, and higher-ups like those need to be put on blast and pressured to speak out. And there are more names where that came from.
And yet we had to wait for Jim Jordan to ask the question. JIM FUCKING JORDAN!
Jordan was obviously trying to extract the information for his own underhanded reasons, because of how in the Trump administration, they consider people good public servants until the second they allege Trump wrongdoing, at which point they are un-personed and become members of the Deep State, to be attacked later that night and forevermore on Fox News.
Jordan also used those names to paint the witnesses sitting there as unreliable hearsay sources, just like they did during the impeachment, branding the Ukraine whistleblower as some idiot who wasn't even in the room, despite how that guy's account was corroborated by every single impeachment witness and now also John Bolton. "Oh, you just HEARD about it from that guy," Jordan seemed to be saying. "Suuuuuuuure."
But whatever, Jim Jordan got his talking points and his new enemies list, and also set the framing for the exposure of those new names. Does Jim Jordan want to follow up the chain of command to get the truth? No. Jerry Nadler will, and those names will be useful, and he now has them, but thanks to Jim Jordan.
Why didn't Nadler or Zoe Lofgren or one of the other initial Democrats get that information? You make the headlines in these hearings in the first 30 minutes. Instead Louie Gohmert made the headline, by proudly picking his ass like an extra from Deliverance, like he always does. And then an ungodly number of minutes later, some actual new information was extracted. By Jim Jordan.
Look, we get it. The House Judiciary Committee is unwieldy and enormous. We are pretty sure it has 768,542 members, and all of them want to be noticed by the "American Idol" judges. Also, we get that there is seniority and an order of questioning. But there is something wrong when Val Demings, whose five minutes were among the best and most interesting in the entire hearing, doesn't get to go for four fuckin' hours. Can somebody just yield their time to her and let her kick ass, and then if y'all want to sit and grandstand for the next one million years afterward, do that?
You want the damn headlines? Make the damn headlines.
We remember the hearings with Robert Mueller, which were actually pretty fascinating, but the day's headlines were that they didn't tickle Chuck Todd's pickle, therefore they were a failure. And yes, it sucks that you have to consider whether things are going to tickle Chuck Todd's pickle, or Brian Williams's pickle, but the alternative is that Louie Gohmert ends up being the designated pickle-tickler, and that never ends well.
Also, when Wonkette, which is way smarter than Chuck Todd and Brian Williams, is falling asleep, you are doing it wrong. During impeachment, we looked forward to Intelligence Committee hearings, and dreaded Judiciary. (Who went first on Mueller Day? Judiciary. We are just saying.)
We don't claim to know all the answers, but this is an ongoing issue. Can y'all hire a fuckin' TV producer to consult and make sure things like this don't happen anymore? Thanks in advance.
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