What began as an inquiry into the genesis of “Russiagate” is now a full-fledged criminal investigation. This shift in posture effectuates the power to subpoena witnesses, empanel a grand jury, compel witnesses to give testimony, and bring federal criminal charges. Key intelligence officials are reportedly in the process of retaining legal counsel.
Conservatives Have Begun to Fight Back
This news comes amidst a flurry of activity in the defense of President Trump as impeachment proceedings continue. Notably, Stephen Bannon started a new venture on Tuesday titled “War Room: Impeachment”. The rapid-fire daily radio show (also available as a podcast) addresses developments surrounding the impeachment process and features former Breitbart editor Raheem Kassam and former Trump campaign director Jason Miller.
In a dramatic attempt to bring attention to the situation on Wednesday, Rep. Matt Gaetz, along with dozens of Freedom Caucus colleagues, stormed the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF), the Capitol basement where the Adam Schiff-led impeachment hearings take place.
As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, many on the right have looked to Lindsey Graham for leadership as the hearings wear on. Graham has responded by writing a resolution condemning the impeachment, the legal equivalent of shaking a fist. Twitter took note, and #WheresLindsey was a top trend on Tuesday. Pressed on the matter, Graham said he doesn’t want to “turn the Senate into a circus.”
Race Against Schiff
The sides have been drawn. The speed and clandestine nature of Schiff’s impeachment hearings now make more sense: he knew who Durham had interviewed. He knew that the intel community–and those that have directed it in the past–was about to come under scrutiny. When the evidence around the Mueller probe comes out, Schiff is well aware of the implications for Democrats, including himself.
Filing the whistleblower complaint, amending the CIA rules to include hearsay, fast-tracking the closed-door hearings–these are actions born of desperation. Perhaps, just perhaps, the reason Graham has dragged his feet is that he knew the Durham shoe was about to drop and didn’t want to muddy the waters with a parallel investigation and hearings full of smug CIA witnesses (a la Peter Strzok).
To quote Graham today, “Let the chips fall where they may.”
To quote Jesse Kelly on Twitter, “What did Barack Obama know and when did he know it?”