Trump’s pub­lic im­peach­ment hear­ings vs. GOP’s re­flex­ive dis­hon­esty

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - CHICAGOLAN­D - REX W. HUPPKE rhup­pke@chicagotri­bune.com

As an­other week of im­peach­ment and strik­ing teach­ers and wild­fires comes to a close, I call to the near­est ex­or­cist, “Say there, can you cast out these news demons in­side me?” And as he be­gins the process, I stare blankly at the past seven days and mum­ble: “What the (BLEEP) just hap­pened?”

Dems for­mal­ize im­peach­ment, Repub­li­cans em­brace dis­hon­esty: Af­ter weeks of wildly in­ac­cu­rate rag­ing against the con­gres­sional im­peach­ment in­quiry “process,” Repub­li­cans got what they asked for: a House vote that for­mally au­tho­rized the in­quiry and set up guide­lines for up­com­ing pub­lic tes­ti­mony.

House Repub­li­cans re­sponded by vot­ing against the very thing they had stomped their feet and held their breath over, in­sist­ing the whole im­peach­ment busi­ness was an un­con­sti­tu­tional hoaxsham con­cocted by Ge­orge Soros-funded witches in­tend­ing to over­throw the gov­ern­ment, coup-style, and turn all Amer­i­cans ve­gan, or some­thing to that ef­fect.

Not a sin­gle Repub­li­can voted in fa­vor of the res­o­lu­tion.

So they hollered like some­one stole their Su­per PAC money be­cause the ini­tial im­peach­ment tes­ti­mony was, ap­pro­pri­ately and as it would be in a grand jury in­ves­ti­ga­tion, done be­hind closed doors. And then they hollered like some­one stole the (maybe Rus­sian) cam­paign money they got from the Na­tional Ri­fle As­so­ci­a­tion be­cause the next rounds of tes­ti­mony will be pub­lic.

It was ex­cel­lent fore­shad­ow­ing of what’s to come as the im­peach­ment in­quiry moves into its pub­lic-fac­ing phase, al­low­ing Amer­i­cans to hear tes­ti­mony from long­time pub­lic ser­vants and dec­o­rated mil­i­tary per­son­nel who will be un­der oath, and com­pare their words with the ram­bling, con­spir­a­to­rial blather of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and his Fox-Newsad­dled le­gion of goons.

Re­gard­less of what kind of Trump-ego-sooth­ing non­sense House Repub­li­cans re­gur­gi­tate, the facts at the cen­ter of the im­peach­ment in­quiry re­main: It ap­pears Trump took close to $400 mil­lion in con­gres­sion­ally ap­proved mil­i­tary aid (i.e., tax­payer money) in­tended to help Ukraine fight off Rus­sian at­tacks and used it to lever­age the Ukrainian pres­i­dent to gin up dirt that might help Trump in the up­com­ing elec­tion.

That’s it in a nut­shell. Ei­ther Repub­li­cans think it’s OK for a pres­i­dent to do some­thing like that or they rec­og­nize it’s a vi­o­la­tion of the pres­i­dent’s oath of of­fice.

The Democrats, who have al­ready amassed jaw­drop­ping ev­i­dence of Trump’s wrong­do­ing, drew a clear line and said the right side of his­tory is on one side and the wrong side of his­tory is on the other. Repub­li­cans darn near tripped over them­selves get­ting to the wrong side.

Free tip for Repub­li­cans! I’m just a lib­eral wacko hell­bent on de­stroy­ing Amer­ica, or what­ever, but here’s a quick thought to the few con­ser­va­tives who have yet to sell their souls for a box of Trump steaks and a place in in­famy:

If you bounce the con man presently in the Oval Of­fice, your party could still put to­gether some­thing like a Nikki Ha­ley/Mitt Rom­ney pres­i­dent/vice-pres­i­dent ticket. And with Fox News main­tain­ing its jet-en­gine-deci­bel-level fear­mon­ger­ing about Democrats and so­cial­ism and such, that pair would have a se­ri­ous chance of win­ning.

Don’t say I never did any­thing for you.

Teach­ers strike ends thanks to out­lawed con­cept of “com­pro­mise”: In this age of in­tense po­lar­iza­tion, the word “com­pro­mise” is heard only among wan­der­ing min­strels and mis­an­thropes.

But some­how, some way, the Chicago Teach­ers Union and the city of Chicago man­aged to end a teach­ers strike that lasted 11 school days by — it’s dif­fi­cult for me to even type the word — com­pro­mis­ing.

The teach­ers got a pay in­crease, though they would’ve liked a larger one. They saw caps put on class sizes and got fund­ing to have a so­cial worker and a nurse in ev­ery school.

The teach­ers wanted all 11 days that were missed to be added on to the school year. Mayor Lori Light­foot said no, so the two sides agreed Thurs­day to make up five missed days.

And with that, the city’s long­est teach­ers strike since 1987 ended.

Ugly stuff, this com­pro­mise. I hope there weren’t any other politi­cians pay­ing at­ten­tion. It could re­ally im­pede their abil­ity to only set­tle for get­ting every­thing they want. The feds LOVE charg­ing Illi­nois Democrats with crimes! State Rep. Luis Ar­royo joined the Illi­nois Democrats’ “Charged-With-A-Fed­eral-Crime Brigade” last week as a sprawl­ing pub­lic cor­rup­tion in­ves­ti­ga­tion con­tin­ued to sprawl. Ar­royo, an as­sis­tant ma­jor­ity leader, was charged Mon­day with one count of fed­eral pro­gram bribery. Prose­cu­tors say he of­fered a state sen­a­tor a $2,500-a-month kick­back in ex­change for the sen­a­tor sup­port­ing gam­bling-re­lated leg­is­la­tion that would help one of Ar­royo’s lob­by­ing clients.

Turns out the state sen­a­tor was wear­ing a wire. Oop­sie!

Ar­royo joined state Sen. Thomas Culler­ton and Chicago Ald. Ed­ward Burke as the third elected of­fi­cial to be charged in an in­ves­ti­ga­tion that pre­sum­ably has other Demo­cratic law­mak­ers sweat­ing like a door-to-door meat sales­man in a house full of bears.

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