House Speaker Paul Ryan, in his own words, confirmed exactly what Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) was just caught saying in a secret audio recording captured at a fundraiser dinner in Spokane with Washington Congresswoman Cathy McMorris-Rodgers, revealed last night both on the Rachel Maddow Show and provided to you here at DC Tribune as well.
The push to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was a calculated political move, both in crafting it and in abandoning it. The original purpose was, of course, to taint the public’s perception of Rosenstein; even any talk of impeaching him would begin that process.
But the shrewd decision to stop pursuing that course of action, met with some dismay by the constituent who questioned Nunes about it on the secret recording, was a calculus even more cynical and underhanded. It was hard to believe that we were hearing Devin Nunes admit that Republicans weren’t actually interested in justice at all — since they so quickly discarded the plan to impeach the Deputy AG — but rather the appearance of interest only.
Presented with the logistics of actually impeaching Rod Rosenstein, Republicans balked, and the recording of Nunes has him admitting it’s because it would prevent the Senate from accomplishing something more important — forcing through Trump’s Supreme Court nominee — before the Democrats have a chance to take back control of Congress.
But that order seems to have come directly from leadership.
Here’s video footage of House Speaker Paul Ryan admitting that very same thing in public at a weekly address just days ago:
The second reason why I think that is not the right way to go is because, knowing the Senate procedures and the rules over there, this is about as privileged as anything gets over there … And if this were to pass through the House, then what it would do is tie the Senate into knots.”
But as MSNBC news anchor Lawrence O’Donnell points out, the “procedures and rules” that the Speaker refers to are a myth. He tweeted:
And it’s a big LIE about Senate procedure. Senate impeachment trial of a federal judge was 14 months after House voted to impeach.”
O’Donnell is referring to the case of Alcee Hastings, who was impeached by the House of Representatives 30 years ago today, on August 9, 1988. It would be October of the following year, after an election of a new Congress, before Hastings was convicted by the Senate — the rule allowing them to suspend deliberations to do other work has not changed in the interim.
The bottom line is, House Republicans understand that conviction for impeachment requires a two-thirds majority in the Senate. It was never going to happen to being with. But they’re more than happy to placate their rabid right-wing base with nonsense excuses about not being able to confirm a SCOTUS nominee.
Featured image via screen capture