WHAT IS THAT SHIFTY SUMBITCH MITCH MCCONNELL UP TO?
Happy Friday! Hasn't it been a heckuva week? Let's all relax with a game of What the Hell Is Mitch McConnell Up To This Time, shall we? Because yesterday when Minority Leader Chuck Schumer proposed a resolution calling for the White House to release the entire whistleblower complaint to congressional intelligence committees, McConnell said ... NOTHING. He didn't object and accuse the Democrats of spineless perfidy. In fact he "hotlined" the bill, sending it up for a vote without debate. And it passed unanimously! As in, all the Republicans voted to tell the White House to quit stalling and let them do real oversight.
You could have knocked us over with a feather! It was like that day when it turned out Sean Hannity was Michael Cohen's secret third client. Old Yertle is going to cross the White House? After almost three years of refusing to conduct any oversight or investigation of the Trump administration's eleventy million scandals, the Republican Senate is all but ordering the White House to hand over information? And then the White House caved and agreed to give the House and Senate Intelligence Committees the "transcript" of Trump's call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and also the whistleblower complaint and supporting documents from the Director of National Intelligence?
Safe to assume Moscow Mitch isn't doing this out of the goodness of his non-existent heart. So what the hell is that mean old snake up to? We've been kicking this around for 12 hours now, and we think the answer depends on whether McConnell actually knows what's in that whistleblower report. Because it's all coming out anyway -- the whistleblower is already negotiating to spill the dirt to House Intel Chair Adam Schiff this week, and the impeachment train has left the station. But when it came to the Russia investigation, McConnell sure as hell didn't say, "We're going to find out what happened. In the Senate, through a process pre-established through the Intelligence Committee behind closed doors initially with the acting director of DNI."
Here are three possibilities ...
McConnell Knows What's in the Whistleblower Report, and It's Bad But Not Fatal
Donald Trump has already confessed to putting a hold on defense funds for Ukraine before leaning on the country's president to dummy up dirt on Joe Biden. But none of that can have been news to McConnell, since the Senate Appropriations Committee spent August in a panic that the funds weren't going out, and Rudy Giuliani's been all over the media with his insane Ukrainium One clown show. As we mentioned yesterday, Lindsey Graham only forced Trump to release the funds for Ukraine after the whistleblower report had been found credible by the Intelligence Community Inspector General and kicked up to the DNI, who dumped it in the Justice Department's lap. And the timing may have been a coincidence, but it might not.
So let's assume for a minute that Bill Barr called up his good buddies in the Republican caucus and said, "Well, we tried to keep The Old Fool away from Zelenskiy, but we couldn't keep him off the phone any longer. The bad news is that goddamn idiot asked eight times when Ukraine was going to investigate Biden. But the good news is that he didn't explicitly link it to the funds for Ukraine, so maybe we can get out of this alive if we throw enough chum in the water implying Biden is crooked?"
In that event, maybe it makes sense for McConnell to just rip off the bandage and get this shit over with. If the Senate doesn't make a big show of obstructing the investigation, maybe they can bless it as kosher because there was no explicit quid pro quo and hope Democrats get out in front of their skis on the impeachment hearings.
McConnell Knows What's in the Whistleblower Report, And It's DEVASTATING
Let's assume all of the above, but in this scenario, Barr says, "MAYDAY! MAYDAY! That fucking moron just sent Rudy out there to tell the Ukrainians that they'd only get their $500 million if they say Joe Biden is a crook. Save yourselves!" In that case, it makes sense for McConnell to let the Senate investigate the whistleblower report, since the House is doing it anyway. He'll just keep his fingers crossed that Fox News can save the day by convincing half the electorate that using tax dollars to bribe a foreign government is TOTALLY FINE.
McConnell Doesn't Know What's in the Whistleblower Report, And He's SHIT-SCARED
But what if McConnell has no idea what's in that report? What if Trump has surrounded himself with sycophants and lackeys who wouldn't tell Congress if there was a major shitpile of impeachable offenses about to land on Congress's desk? What if Barr told McConnell that everything was fine, but McConnell said, "Why the hell would I believe you, Bill?" Because if we were Mitch McConnell, we wouldn't trust Bill Barr further than we could throw him. And we sure as hell wouldn't trust our political fortunes to a slippery eel like Barr, much less with Demented Old Loon In Chief.
In that case, McConnell, who is no fool, would be wise to hedge his bets. He'd promise to conduct a "responsible, rather apolitical, at least bipartisan" probe (check!), he'd insist that he had been "very actively involved in advocating" for the White House to release the money to Ukraine (check!), and he'd tell the White House to pony up STAT so he wouldn't have to fly blind into whatever shitstorm is coming at him (and, check!).
Who the hell even knows with these devious bastards. Tell us in the comments which one you think is most likely!
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.