About a year ago, my sister urged me to subscribe to Robert Hubbell’s Substack newsletter. I did, and have appreciated his lawyerly approach to the issues we wrestle with on this blog. I’ve also appreciated the clarity of his writing–but the other day, that writing hit a new high!
Hubbell was reacting to reports that Kevin McCarthy is “warming” to the idea of impeaching Joe Biden.
I took the headline of this post from his introductory paragraphs:
Speaker Kevin McCarthy is reportedly warming to the idea of an impeachment inquiry against President Joe Biden. Do not waste time fretting over that possibility. Don’t get me wrong; such an inquiry would be an outrage of grotesque proportions. But it would be a counterproductive clown show that will further damage GOP prospects in 2024. And if recent history is a guide, Democrats will run circles around hapless, outclassed Republicans attempting to manufacture a crime out of swamp gas and wishful thinking.
Like the Wizard of Oz—who created distractions from behind a curtain to conceal his impotence—House Republicans must distract the public’s attention from their inability to legislate. Republicans hold the majority in the chamber of Congress that must originate all spending bills, but the GOP caucus has been rendered impotent, riven by petty feuds, outsized egos, and monumental ignorance. What better way to distract attention from their shortcomings than to chase wild conspiracies that forever recede into the distance like mirages, conveniently disappearing when Democrats demand evidence to support baseless charges?
Hubbell proceeds to analyze the likely consequences of a (further) GOP descent into irrelevance and lunacy: as he notes, the grounds for impeaching President Biden are unclear (to put it mildly–perhaps just being Hunter Biden’s father?), but that really doesn’t matter to the far Right crazies pursing this approach.
Any excuse will do because the point of the exercise is to create soundbites for Fox News that contain the words “Biden” and “impeachment” in the same sentence. The vote on a resolution to initiate an impeachment hearing will further damage Republicans elected in districts Joe Biden won in 2020.
Hubbell references leaked reports coming out of a GOP caucus meeting, in which vulnerable Republicans argued strenuously that they should not be forced to vote on a resolution to initiate an impeachment inquiry.
Hubbell argues that–given the performance of the GOP pro-impeachment House members– hearings would be disastrous for them. Among other things, Democrats would certainly call on Rudy Giuliani’s co-conspirator, Lev Parnas, who has already offered to testify that the “allegations about Hunter Biden and Burisma were fabricated with Giuliani’s encouragement.” Parnas has promised to testify that “Never, during any of my communications with Ukrainian officials or connections to Burisma, did any of them confirm or provide concrete facts linking the Bidens to illegal activities.”
The truth is that everyone, from Giuliani [to] Devin Nunes and his colleagues, to the people at FOX News, knew that these allegations against the Bidens were false. There has never been any factual evidence, only conspiracy theories spread by people who knew exactly what they were doing.
And about that laptop….Commentators familiar with the GOP’s extensive efforts to “prove” Hunter Biden’s culpability (and by implication, his father’s) have pointed out that Rudy Giuliani and the repair shop owner would inevitably have to testify under oath about Giuliani’s efforts to get Hunter Biden’s laptop from the Russians years before it turned up in the repair shop. (I have no idea where the Russians fit into this recital, but it certainly sounds interesting…at least, if one cares about the problems of pathetic Hunter Biden, who–after all–is not and never has been a government official.)
More interesting, such testimony “would require forensic experts to say that additional folders were created on Hunter Biden’s laptop after Giuliani obtained it, and months after the FBI got a copy.”
Hubbell quotes Josh Marshall of Talking Points Memo who summarizes GOP insanity:
Impeach Joe Biden? Go for it. See you at the trial. And good luck with that.
I see nothing wrong with a trial based on transparently nonsensical claims. In fact, every time Freedom Caucus weirdos hold the floor and national spotlight it hurts Republican standing. Public opinion polls and election results leave little doubt about this. Air the whole thing. Remove whatever sting it has left.
Hubbell clearly relishes the prospect of allowing the Democrats’ “skilled lawyer-legislators” like Jamie Raskin, Adam Schiff, and others the ability to torch the “incoherent yammerings of vapid culture warriors whose only strategy is to stamp their feet and shout.”
As he says, in a world where Republicans are willing to mimic those old Soviet show trials, Democrats shouldn’t fear impeachment.