Rep. Louie Gohmert has a knack for cutting to the heart of the matter. In the droning chorus of stern and sanctimonious voices preceding the vote on impeachment in the House today, after hours of one- and two-minute verbal volleys, Gohmert struck one of few pure shots of the day. It was a modern history lesson.
The president turning his back on Ukraine? That happened in 2009! Because in 2008 Ukraine invaded Georgia. What happened? Bush put sanctions on Russia to teach ’em a lesson. What happened after that? Well, in March of 2009 Hillary Clinton was sent over to Russia with a “reset button” to say, “Bush overreacted, we’re okay that you invaded Georgia.” It was a green light to Russia to invade Ukraine. And what do you do? Oh yeah, you send blankets and MREs so they can be warm and eat while the Russians are killing ’em! That is what the Obama administration did. This is a travesty. And we’re in big trouble…this country’s end is now in sight. I hope I don’t live to see it.
Rep. Jerry Nadler then interjected his thoughts about Gohmert’s speech before yielding time to another congressman, “I’m deeply concerned that any member of the House would spout Russian propaganda on the floor of the House.” Gohmert, now off the dais and off camera, thundered back, yelling at Nadler over the gavel and commands to suspend. The audio was mostly indiscernible, but it wasn’t pretty.
It should come as no surprise that Gohmert would bring a broader context and a moment of wisdom to the hearings. He was a judge before his election to Congress in 2005. His training in soberly weighing evidence to reach a verdict is at odds with battling the screaming hydra that is the House. But it does give him a unique understanding of the consequences of legal decisions.
It’s not the first time Gohmert has owned the day. In the early goings of this mess, back in the failed attempt to use ginned-up collusion charges to take down Trump–charges that boomeranged on Democrats–it was Gohmert who struck at now-fired FBI agent and philanderer Peter Strzok. It was a human moment in the midst of so much legal wrangling. Objections flew thick and fast, defenders yelling down the essential truth.
It was not unlike what happened today. In the otherwise unseemly hearings, this bleating, hateful political creature that is at once boring and tragic, there is still room for a greater truth. Regardless of outcome, this impeachment signifies a deeper problem than that of any one president. It reflects a pettiness, a willingness to direct the greatest power of Congress at the Executive branch over smaller and smaller issues.
To wit: Democrats have brought articles of impeachment against five of the last six Republican presidents.
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