The week of July 9th or thereabouts was just another week in the Trump administration. The good news for the current president is that he finally drew a crowd of mammoth proportions, a crowd size far exceeding the crowd size of his inauguration. Regrettable for him, however, the crowd consisted of protesters as he descended on London and they converged to send him a message of their outrage.
The week consisted of the president portraying our NATO allies as “foes” just as he prepared for his summit with Vladimir Putin. At that meeting Trump, never learning from the past, repeated that disastrous phrase “both sides” when deciding to blame both Russia AND the United States for the current contentious relationship between the two countries. The President of the United States also used the shared podium with Vladimir Putin to portray Putin's denial of Russian meddling in our elections as “strong and powerful” even though in direct contradiction of the findings of Trump's own intelligence community. One can almost hear O.J. Simpson asking “What about me?”
It was during the joint Putin-Trump press conference that Putin did confess to preferring Trump over Clinton in the election while denying any meddling to influence the election. One can only wonder why the President of the United States could arrive at the conclusion that the presidential preference of FBI agent Peter Strzok could have more influence on the election results than the presidential preference of Vladimir Putin and all of the cyberattack capabilities at his disposal and the long history of his interference in elections of democratic nations.
How ironic, then, that the highlight of the week of July 9th may very well have been the testimony before the joint House Judiciary and Oversight Committee of that same Peter Strzok, the FBI agent who was removed from the Russian election-meddling investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller due to inappropriate emails. Emails, again. When will they learn?
While Strzok showed poor judgment in sharing his political views, which all Americans are entitled to hold, on his work email account and work phone, his testimony was convincing regarding how the FBI works and the layers of supervision that would make any improper investigative actions on his part near impossible. Moreover, it was also quite convincing that the honor of the FBI was clearly too important to Agent Strzok to risk jeopardizing it during any investigation.
Placing truth and facts above party loyalty not so important to the Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee who so often cut Agent Strzok off as he attempted to respond to derisive statements made, that it brought back memories of the Army-McCarthy Hearings of the early 1950's. A disgrace.
As usual, though, the hearing came down to Republican hypocrisy and, just as usual, no one cuts through hypocrisy better than our own Congressman, Jamie Raskin. Raskin made it clear that the sole purpose of the Republican questioning was “to derail and discredit the investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller” that to date had resulted in nineteen indictments and five criminal convictions.”
The Republican attempt to portray Strzok's personal disgust with the thought of a possible Trump presidency as a bias that influenced his handling of the investigation (even though he was removed from the investigation by Special Counsel Mueller early on once Mueller became aware of the controversial emails) was ingeniously and entertainingly exposed as the bluster and hypocrisy it was by Congressman Raskin. His method? Throwing Republican statements of a possible Trump presidency right back in their collective faces:
“In the spring of 2016, Senator Ted Cruz called Donald Trump a ‘snivelling coward, a pathological liar and a serial philanderer.”
“Senator Marco Rubio said Trump was unworthy of being our president. “
“In October of 2016, Speaker Paul Ryan said, ‘I am not going to defend Donald Trump—not now, not in the future.'”
If Republicans reacting with the exact same concern exhibited by Agent Strzok wasn't enough to expose Republican hypocrisy and bluster, Congressman Raskin added in a few more examples of how Trump is seen similarly to Strzok. Such as Trump's own appointees who, it is reported, described Trump as a “moron,” “an empty vessel when it comes to the Constitution,” “like an 11-year-old child,” and “a dope and an idiot with the intelligence of a kindergartener.”
If quoting political types wasn't enough, for good measure, Congressman Raskin added in Bruce Springsteen and his concern that “the republic is under siege by a moron.”
To top it off, Congressman Raskin then put the entire nine-and-a-half-hour hearing into perspective when he closed with this statement: “This hearing has been a circus and a kangaroo court run in banana-Republican fashion. I believe that some of my Republican colleagues have disgraced themselves today in their attack on the FBI and the justice system of America.”
Well done, Congressman Raskin! Well done!