House Judiciary Committee Rep. Jerrold Nadler reminds me of my uncle. He would always brag to us how he would get off of jury duty: At some point when lawyers would question prospective jurors, he would slip in that he thought whoever the police dragged in was pretty much guilty. He swore to us there wasn’t a time he wasn’t home before lunch.
Nothing like that of kind patriotic, selfless service.
He was a saber-rattler for impeachment long before Ukraine.
If we want to view the House Judiciary Committee as a sort of jury, given that it recommends whether or not someone ought to be impeached, this should have had him home before lunch with my uncle.
Instead, he became chairman of the committee. If we’re going with the metaphor, that’s pretty much like not only putting him on the jury but electing him foreman.
You’ve got to hand it to the Democrats: They’re nothing if not fair.
Alas, things didn’t work out for impeachment, since the wider jury — the Senate — didn’t just decide against convicting Trump but didn’t even come close.
The only Republican swing vote that went the Democrats’ way was Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, which was about as predictable as saying that someone will never quite feel the same about the song “Stuck in the Middle with You” after watching “Reservoir Dogs.”
So impeachment was pretty much a complete failure.
But that’s the great thing about politics — you can go from failure to failure without any real consequences. So now that impeachment has gone down in flames, Nadler is going to focus on questioning the legitimacy of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation.
During a Wednesday oversight hearing with FBI Director Christopher Wray, Nadler confirmed that, yes, we are indeed going there again.
This time, the Democrats are going to question the FBI’s background check into Kavanaugh, with Nadler telling Wray that there’s “a great deal of mistrust and uncertainty around the FBI’s supplemental background check of Justice Kavanaugh during the last few days of that confirmation.”
“The country needs a better understanding of that process,” he added.
The underlying assumption behind this line of questioning is that the White House deliberately limited either what they would publicly acknowledge about Kavanaugh’s background or what they would allow to be investigated because they were willing to take the chance that no one would find out ugly details either before he was confirmed or while he was on the bench.
There’s no universe in which this isn’t insanity, but insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.
In the universe of Jerrold Nadler, he seems to be moving the House Judiciary Committee directly from impeachment to re-litigating the Kavanaugh confirmation. I’m just saying.
Nadler told Wray he was under the impression “that when conducting these background checks, the FBI is restricted to the scope and subject matter requested by the client agency.
“In the case of Justice Kavanaugh’s appointment, I understand that the client agency was the White House — specifically, the White House counsel’s office,” Nadler said. “So if — yes or no — if the White House had directed the FBI to interview some witnesses but not others, or if they had told you to complete the process by a certain date, would the FBI have followed that request?”
Wray explained that the FBI’s role is “what’s called the investigative service provider or the ISP,” which means they investigate what they’re told to.
There was a bit of back and forth over what this meant in terms of how limited the scope of the FBI’s investigation was, but Nadler wasn’t as concerned about that as he was about the White House limiting the investigation and how this was different from other investigations.
“So, if there is criticism — if there is criticism of the limited scope of the FBI investigation, the criticism would be properly directed, not at the FBI, but at whoever issued the instructions delineating the scope of the investigation,” Nadler said.
“Well, I — I can’t speak to whether there should be criticism, but as I say–” Wray continued.
“If there is to be criticism, the criticism would be directed validly or invalidly at whoever gave you the instructions as to the scope of the investigation, not at the FBI?” Nadler said.
“I think if the — if the Senate or the Congress wants the scope to be broader, then they should direct that request to the adjudicating agency,” Wray said.
Questioning was then turned over to GOP Rep. Doug Collins of Georgia; if you’re familiar with him, you can probably guess his feelings on the matter.
He noted that Nadler, a year after everything went down, wanted to “reinvestigate the Kavanaugh hearing.”
“It’s interesting to me that the chairman couldn’t let it go,” Collins said, according to CNSNews.com.
Collins apparently finds quotidian things interesting, because Nadler going back to Kavanaugh is as surprising as an Andrew Dice Clay routine that includes a filthy, misogynist nursery rhyme.
Sure, at this point, reaching back to the Kavanaugh hearing, given the attention span of the political chattering classes, feels like digging up something as ancient as, well, an Andrew Dice Clay reference.
However, this is who Nadler is: The Ukraine thing didn’t stick? Let’s go back to Kavanaugh.
This didn’t end for Nadler with Kavanaugh’s ascension to the nation’s highest court. A Federalist report from Mollie Hemingway back in 2018 alleged Nadler was on the phone with a friend discussing ways that Kavanaugh could be impeached now that he’d been sworn in.
“They didn’t even do a half-a– job,” he said of the FBI’s investigation. “They didn’t interview 30 witnesses who said ‘Interview me! I’ve got a lot to say!’”
So what’s the next step?
You know as well as I do — they’re going to try and find those 30 witnesses he said exists by trying to link the fact that they weren’t investigated to the White House not wanting to investigate Kavanaugh so this could all come out later.
This is your jury foreman, ladies and gentleman. If only we’d sent him home before lunchtime.