Gazette-Mail editorial: Detective Alex Mooney is on the case

Going by reports of testimony coming from impeachment inquiry hearings, things are looking bad for President Donald Trump.

The polls are getting worse, too, with a steadily rising majority of Americans favoring impeachment, while impeachment and removal from office is approaching dead even.

This desperate state of affairs is perhaps why a phalanx of Republican members of Congress overran security at a closed-door deposition yesterday, bringing a crashing halt to proceedings as they attempted to film or tweet from the room (where electronic devices are not allowed). “We will not be bullied” was the cry of one GOP representative, after the small army of what looked like petulant frat boys barged into the meeting to, themselves, bully legislators and a witness.

Of course, there were plenty of Republicans actually in the room while the deposition was taking place. It’s a bipartisan committee. But facts are little more than a nuisance these days.

Participating in this buffoonery was Rep. Alex Mooney, R-W.Va., who released a voice recording of himself monitoring the proceedings as if he were Marlin Perkins peering in on a pride of lions from behind a bush. (Rep. Carol Miller, R-W.Va., also participated, even though she’s a member of the House Oversight Committee and knows the process involves Republicans and Democrats. Again, facts are pesky things.)

A breathless Mooney said, well, not much on the recording. He basically relayed that he was in the room and his phone had been taken away. He did mention he wanted “transparency” for his constituents. That’s not really how closed-door depositions work. Typically a transcript is released afterward. Mooney is likely doing some major-league projection here in thinking he wouldn’t release transcripts, so the investigative committee probably won’t.

Still, his statement is worth examining.

First, it’s laughable for Mooney to suggest he wants anything for the constituents in his district (which includes Charleston). Not many people see Mooney anywhere outside of the Eastern Panhandle, unless there’s an election coming up. That leads, naturally, into a second observation: It’s unlikely Mooney actually knows many of his constituents, unless they’re significant donors.

Finally, to apply a little Golden Rule logic here, you have to wonder what Mooney’s response would be if he were sitting on a bipartisan committee meeting behind closed doors and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib burst in with cellphones out and video rolling. You think he’d defend them for wanting answers from a committee that is already operating under procedure as it’s outlined in the Constitution?

Whether you like the president or not, very real, very serious allegations are being examined here. There is a clear, constitutional process for handling it. That should not be compromised.

This Scooby-Doo, amateur sleuthing (with more than a dash of grandstanding) on behalf of Mooney and others is just embarrassing. Mooney is insulting the intelligence of his constituents, about whom he could really care less. It’s all bluster, designed to distract from what is unfolding.

The facts and public opinion are starting to line up against the president. Those in Congress who punched their ticket on the Trump train knew and ignored the risks when boarding. Looking around, they’ve decided that, instead of fulfilling their oaths to the country, all they can really do now is thrash and wail as that train comes off the tracks.

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.