Joseph Wyatt: GOP flails as Trump gets desperate (Opinion)

Congressional Republicans, aghast that the process they devised to investigate Benghazi is being applied to one of their own, appear on the verge of collapsing onto their fainting couches as they indignantly claim that the process is unconstitutional. If their hypocrisy bothers them, it doesn’t show.

They ooze manufactured outrage at the closed door hearings while avoiding mention of the fact that the probe soon will move to its public phase. Playing the populace for suckers, House Republicans conveniently fail to say that, following its public airing in the House, the process would move to the U.S. Senate which would conduct a public trial complete with documents and witnesses whom they may cross-examine.

Thus, when members of the GOP call the process unconstitutional, they are lying, given that they can’t be that dumb. One wonders whether the president’s congressional apologists might soon say that Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Adams and the rest of the founding fathers had a lot of gall to even put the impeachment process into the Constitution.

Lately, President Donald Trump seems to have experienced a creeping epiphany to the effect that his days of repeatedly starting fires without getting burned have come to their end. Evidently, Mr. Trump has always believed that bluster, fake confidence and accusing his opponents of his own sins were reliable tactics that would save him. He appears to have always assumed that nowhere on the earth were there people who could hold him accountable. Now, however, he may be possessed by concern that such aberrant thinking was a colossal mistake. Perhaps a few thousand baseball fans chanting “Lock him up” at the mere sight of him has strengthened any such suspicions the president may feel.

Trump, who promised to release his tax returns only to later tell his supporters to get lost, recently sent his lawyers to court to forestall the Southern District of New York’s attempt to obtain those same tax records. One imagines the president’s sweaty attorneys as they groped for a rationale to keep the information hidden. In their desperation, they argued that, not only could a president not be prosecuted while in office, but that his crimes could not even be investigated until he was out of office.

The absurdity of their position was made clear when the judge inquired about then-candidate Trump’s infamous boast that he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue without losing supporters. Indeed, the crime could not be investigated until he was out of office, his lawyers argued. Meaning that the cops could not take witness statements? Could not examine bystanders’ cell phone video? Correct, the president’s lawyers argued, at least until he is no longer the president. Such foolishness is what we have come to expect from Donald Trump and, as the impeachment process plays out, from a number of his congressional supporters.

House Republicans, including our own Rep. Carol Miller, recently crashed a closed-door impeachment session in which testimony was being taken from a witness (Miller, as a member of the House Oversight Committee, could have attended the hearing if she wanted). The folks at home may inquire of Rep. Miller whether, hypothetically, she would have joined members of the West Virginia Legislature had they forced their way into an FBI interview room where agents were grilling a witness about a $33,000 sofa.

Surely, West Virginia’s members of Congress know that there is reason to believe that the president may have committed impeachable acts. Yet, our own representatives evidently have concluded that the Mountain State’s voters are too dumb to see it. If that’s what our representatives think, they are dead wrong.

Joseph Wyatt is a Gazette-Mail contributing columnist

and emeritus faculty member

at Marshall University.

Funerals for Sunday, November 17, 2019

Ellis, Walter - 1 p.m., West Logan Missionary Baptist Church.

Evans, Robert - 2 p.m., Koontz Funeral Home, Hamlin.

Hess, Steven - 6 p.m., Grace Church of the Nazarene, South Charleston.

Holmes, Buddy - 2 p.m., Elizabeth Baptist Church, Charleston.

Jeffrey Jr., Algie - 2 p.m., Stevens Chapel Methodist Church, Lake.

Mace, Elma - 2 p.m., Stump Funeral Home & Cremation Inc., Arnoldsburg.

Meadows II, Richard - 2 p.m., Central Christian Church, Huntington.

Messinger, John - 2 p.m., Davis Funeral Home, Clarksburg.

Reynolds, Gladys - 1 p.m., Taylor-Vandale Funeral Home, Spencer.

Smith, Rosie - 2 p.m., Morris Funeral Home, Cowen.

Sykes, Teresa - 2 p.m., Winfield Church of the Nazarene.