The New Partisanship

When emerging information about President Richard Nixon’s misconduct became too plentiful to deny, a group of Republican Senators famously visited him in the White House and told him his time was up. They put the welfare of the country above the consequences for their political party.

To say that times have changed would be the understatement of the year….

I thought about that visit to Nixon when I came across a report that Jamie Raskin had called for a congressional investigation of Jared Kushner. 

Raskin, of course, is a Democrat, and Kushner a Republican, so it is easy to see this as political gamesmanship–but that dismissal would ignore some highly relevant facts: Raskin is a first-class human being and brilliant constitutional lawyer, for one, and his request for an investigation was not only based on considerable evidence of wrongdoing, it served to underline the politics motivating the GOP’s pursuit of charges against Hunter Biden.

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin, ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability, urged the committee’s chairman, James Comer, to “compel Jared Kushner to comply with document requests he has ignored and defied for over a year.” Those requests came in 2022 from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform when Democratic representatives were using the committee to investigate the very real “appearance of a quid pro quo for your foreign policy work during the Trump Administration.” The billions (with a “B”) that Kushner’s investment firm, Affinity Partners, has received from various Gulf monarchies, as well as the $2 billion (with a “B”!) he got from Saudi Arabia is orders of magnitude more than what Comer’s unsubstantiated claims against Hunter Biden are.

Comer immediately dismissed Raskin’s request as an effort to distract from the Committee’s effort to prove that President Biden was involved in his son’s shady business deals–an effort that has so far turned up evidence only that Biden loved his son. For that matter, the Committee hasn’t been able to provide any evidence that Hunter –Biden’s surviving son who seems like a sad and none-too-ethical character–has done anything worse than playing on his family name and failing to pay a couple of years’ taxes.

There is, however, a lot of suggestive evidence of corruption on the part of Jared Kushner. And Kushner–unlike Hunter Biden– was part of what passed for government during the Trump Administration. Indeed, he was a top adviser to the president of the United States (a fact that terrified me at the time, and continues to be difficult to get one’s head around.)

After subpoenas and the full power of his committee, Comer has not been able to produce any evidence that Hunter Biden did anything wrong. In fact, the only evidence Comer has provided seems to prove that then-Vice President Joe Biden, with all of his responsibilities, was trying very hard to be a supportive father to his son.

The linked post points out thatJared Kushner’s top-secret clearance was obtained over the strenuous objections of two White House security specialists who worried about his “dubious connections” with foreign money. Kushner’s current Affinity Partner fund appears to be an entirely Saudi investment fund  with clients who are “99% non-United States persons.’”

If there was any credible evidence to suggest that Hunter Biden–a private citizen– committed crimes and that Joe Biden participated or enabled that activity, Americans absolutely should know about it. Given the time and effort Republicans have put into their search for such evidence, however, it’s pretty clear that there is nothing there.  Raskin’s call for an investigation of Kushner serves to make a point: this Congress is not basing its investigative efforts on legitimate concerns about government corruption. Instead, the Republicans who currently (barely) control the House are engaged in politcal vendettas unrelated to actual misbehavior.

We’ve come a long way from the time a Republican delegation consisting of Barry Goldwater, House Minority Leader John Rhodes and Senate Minority Leader Hugh Scott  told Richard Nixon that he faced impeachment, conviction and removal from office over the Watergate scandal. 

It’s no wonder so many Americans don’t know what–or who– to believe. A significant number of public officials cheerfully substitute propaganda for information and self-serving pronouncements for truthful ones. Today’s GOP is split between the shameless and amoral wanna-be’s who are pandering to the MAGA cult and those who know better, but are too spineless to publicly dissent.

I really don’t care whether Congress investigates the Trump clan, a/k/a the real crime family. I do care–a lot–about the fact that far too many people continue to vote for politicians whose sole fidelity is to their partisan advantage–facts, evidence and truth be damned….


  1. I assume that the law is crystal clear about the different responsibilities and capabilities of the DoJ versus the House and Senate to investigate. Any overlap is political. The Grand Jury system is the check and balance on DoJ investigations. I assume some legal limitations of congressional investigations are known to experts but presently are held at bay by politicians in Congress who have hijacked Congress for solely political reasons.

  2. The legacy of Joe McCarthy lives on in Congress. Both sides participate in this kind of finger pointing to obscure the lack of lawmaking they were elected to do. The word “disgraceful” comes to mind.

  3. I can remember when we elected senators and representatives to govern, i.e., debate issues such as taxation, budgets etc. Now it seems Republicans have decided that there is no Madisonian Separation of Powers extant; that Republican Committee Chairs have abandoned such constitutional duties and are playing those of the other two via “hearings,” subpoena powers, TV threats etc.

    Thus, for example, we have a Republican chair (Jordan) who is demanding to have “all papers” in connection with a state prosecution of a state law (Georgia) in plain contravention of the Tenth Amendment, the police power of the states etc.

    What to do? Elect Democrats to the House and Senate so that our Committee Chairs can get back to, uh, governing – but governing within their constitutional limitations.

  4. Gerald, what’s interesting is that both parties are supporting different aspects of our liberal democratic Constitution. Democrats are following the legal interpretation of the intent behind the words. Republicans are following the populous interpretation of the general meaning of liberty and democracy.

  5. Regarding Mr. Jordan, it seems that he can’t read or comprehend the English language. It was abundantly clear from Mr. Bragg’s response to his request for all documents in the original indictment that the request was beyond the bounds of his Congressional responsibility. At least Ms. Willis invited him to come down, so she could explain the Constitution to him when she sent her response to his request for all of the documents related to her RICO case. Given his inability to comprehend written materials, she has shown that she is willing to tutor him.

    Now that I think about it, the same must be true for Mr. Comer.

  6. “Both sides participate in this kind of finger pointing to obscure the lack of lawmaking they were elected to do. The word “disgraceful” comes to mind.” More importantly, this behavior is “optic truth” to many voters, who, having little civic education, decide that all politicians are trash and why bother to vote…watch out in ’24….

  7. The GOP, especially since the 1965 Voting Rights Act brought the Dixiecrats swarming into it, has been nothing but a clown car, a virtual criminal enterprise, seeking to enrich itself, and its big money supporters, at the expense of the rest of the culture. That a Jared-thing could have been positioned as he was, with virtually no backlash from the GOP, is indication that the GOP was happy to let TFG run all over even any pretense about their wanting to govern as per the Constitution.

  8. Sheila writes, “A significant number of public officials cheerfully substitute propaganda for information and self-serving pronouncements for truthful ones.”

    The media loves to cover propaganda because regular governing is bland — it doesn’t attract eyeballs or retain attention spans. It’s a self-perpetuating cycle. Here’s an obvious stance: Can Hunter and Jared be guilty of cashing in on Daddy Warbucks?

    Also, how can the facts differ depending on what news organization we watch? Shouldn’t the facts remain the same no matter what news org we watch? Instead, we get different versions ranging from fact to full-on propaganda.

    No wonder Americans are fed up cynical and have stopped voting. It doesn’t matter with these endless streams of nonsense wedged between reality TV and infotainment.

    Sadly, we’ve trained Americans not to give a damn.

  9. Never mind that Jared’s dad served time in prison for crimes he committed as a real estate developer in New Jersey. Jared was involved in his Dad’s business at that time and there has been no explanation for why Jared wasn’t also prosecuted.

  10. Since the only choices seemingly available are those between the cult of MAGA and the cult of the inept DNC. My choice for Cornel West seems to be the most appropriate.

  11. Seriously, I keep wondering when some of this garbage from the Trump years was going to get some “official” trash collection.

  12. The more credible malfeasance found upon Trump, the more aspersions (rightfully so) cast upon Hillary and Bill Clinton. They were very close friends.

  13. Two of the Senators that approached Nixon, if my memory serves, were Goldwater and Scott. The message they conveyed? If you do not resign the Senate will find you guilty and and you will the first President removed from office. And Nixon’s offenses were far less egregious than the targets of the two impeachments of Trump. Trump’s crimes were also more overt..

  14. argument with trumpers, that Hunter got a free pass outta jail, corrupt Joe, helping his son.
    I pointed out,any DOJ prosecutor can,and did, appeal Hunters deal. but as any trumper wants to believe,especially these blue collars who dont read,its still daddys son. this will make a reelection note from every republican,and the fallout with any and all demo,indy,prog, running. hopefully some money will get spent in those swing states that hilary and company ignored. seems the Ohio labor unions are massing for a get out and dont get stupid vote. if Joe can convince the automakers to give union wages to the EV group and push the unions demands over wall street profits, Ohio could be a win for Joe. trump maybe the front runner, hes betting on all the BS to help him. desatin is only making trump look better while hailey is
    probably making points in the back room.

  15. There seem to be some readers who think that Raskin is no more justified in looking into Kushner’s misdeeds than Comer is in going after Hunter Biden–that “both sides” are engaged in poisonous partisanship. The “both-sides-ism” accusation is wrong for many reasons (which Shiela points out in the post)– but not least of all because Raskin is a ranking member of the Committee on Oversight and Accountability. He’s working to oversee and bring accountability to someone who held a high governmental position and directly affected official decisions and policies (and likely would again if Trump gets re-elected). That’s appropriate. Comer has no business going after a private citizen who has never held an official position and has never influenced governance.

  16. Give Jared a break. He saved us all from COVID, didn’t he?

    Oh wait. He didn’t do anything to save us from COVID. All he did was profiteer on his government contracts.

  17. Since Hunter was never a government employee, he can not be in violation of the Hatch Act. However on the other hand, Jared was a top government employee and there might be a billion reasons to find that he did violate the Hatch Act.

Comments are closed.