In the final scene of Thelma and Louise, when Detective Hal Slocumb realizes that those wacky chicks are about to drive that ’66 Thunderbird over the edge of the Grand Canyon, he runs after them in a futile attempt to prevent their senseless descent toward self-destruction. Slocumb, played by Harvey Keitel, does a good job of conveying the impotent despair that moderate Democrats like Steny Hoyer must feel while watching Reps. Jerrold Nadler and Adam Schiff accelerate toward the electoral abyss that awaits their party if they insist on relitigating Russiagate and rummaging through the President’s tax and business records.
If they continue to mine the Mueller report for presidential malfeasance and conduct multiple investigations into Trump’s business and tax matters, the effect on Democratic electoral prospects will be comparable to the damage done to that dusty T-Bird after Louise stomps on the gas. The electorate has had enough of collusion conspiracy theorists and Trump truthers. This is reflected in the latest public opinion polls as well as the ratings of cable networks that continue to push the most implausible narratives of White House skullduggery. CNN, for example, managed to lose more than a quarter of its viewers in April. The Hill reports:
CNN’s prime-time ratings dropped a whopping 26 percent in April compared to last year, according to Nielsen Media Research.… The sharp decrease for CNN marked its lowest-rated month in total viewers since October 2015.… In the 25- to 54-year-old demographic that advertisers covet most, it was the network’s least-watched month since Aug. 2015.
Nonetheless, the antics of the Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee during Wednesday’s testimony by Attorney General Barr augured worse behavior had he decided to appear before its House counterpart on Thursday. Wednesday’s Senate hearing included the usual disingenuous Democratic stunts, but Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham kept the proceedings under control. Sadly, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee is Jerrold Nadler, who is already engaging in irresponsible antics himself, including a threat to have members of the Trump administration arrested if they don’t comply with committee requests.
Attorney General Barr has decided to skip Thursday’s House hearing pursuant to Nadler’s bait-and-switch on the format. Typically, the House Judiciary committee would deal with a Cabinet official like Barr by allowing members five-minutes each to ask questions. Nadler and the Democrats, however, have decided that Barr must submit to additional queries from staff lawyers. This is quite unusual, particularly in the case of Cabinet officials. The Judiciary Committee’s ranking member, Georgia Republican Doug Collins, characterized Nadler’s maneuver as an unprecedented stunt designed to create an impeachment-like atmosphere:
The Chairman has decided, along with the majority, that they want to appear as if they’re doing impeachment. They want to have an impeachment-like inquiry because the precedent for staff questioning is impeachment.… Why would you want to say something that a staff member can say better than you can? If a staff member wants to ask questions, run for Congress!
If Barr had acquiesced in the bait-and-switch engineered by Nadler and his accomplices for Thursday’s hearing, one of the first topics the Democrats would have raised is a letter written to Barr by the special counsel on March 27. In the letter, Mueller has the crust to criticize the 4-page memo provided to Congress outlining the report’s major findings. Evidently forgetting that, once the investigation was closed the report was the AG’s to handle as he saw fit, Mueller had the gall to insist that Barr release his introduction and executive summary prior to the release of the full report. The tail, in other words, wanted to wag the dog.
Barr ignored that, as he should have, and released the full report after redacting material that he couldn’t legally release. That wasn’t good enough for many Democrats, including House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff, who called Wednesday for Attorney General Barr to resign. Schiff insists this is necessary because special Counsel Robert Mueller complained to Barr about his initial summary of the probe’s findings. Barr did talk to Mueller, but decided to release the report according to his own plan. Any intelligent reader of the DOJ’s explanation of this decision will have little difficultly divining Barr’s reasons:
After the Attorney General received Special Counsel Mueller’s letter, he called him to discuss it. In a cordial and professional conversation, the Special Counsel emphasized that nothing in the Attorney General’s March 24 letter was inaccurate or misleading. But, he expressed frustration over the lack of context and the resulting media coverage regarding the Special Counsel’s obstruction analysis.
That Schiff is the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is terrifying. Even after the special counsel probe found “no collusion,” Schiff has maintained that there was indeed collusion “in plain sight.” His persistence in this evidence-free claim eventually resulted in a unanimous Republican call for his resignation from the chairmanship of the committee. This made no impression on his apparently absent sense of integrity. His committee has issued subpoenas to Deutsche Bank, Capital One, Citigroup, JPMorgan, Chase, and Bank of America seeking records on President Trump’s personal finances.
Yet, having been cleared by an FBI investigation and a 22-month special counsel probe, now the President will be harassed by Democratic hacks like Jerrold Nadler and Adam Schiff. Detective Hal Slocumb would easily see where this is going in 2020. The President will tell the voters, “We have accomplished a lot together, despite these investigations. Think what we can do if you reelect me, get these bums off my back, and we focus on making America greater than ever.” If moderate Democrats don’t take control of their party, that message will resonate with the voters, and Thelma and Louise will disappear into oblivion.