California Rep. Devin Nunes, ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, called the impeachment inquiry a “low rent sequel” to the Russia collusion hoax. After this week’s congressional hearings, it’s clear that’s exactly what it is. Democrats could have avoided this colossal misstep if they had just heeded the words of their hero, Karl Marx.
Marx famously wrote that history repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce. That maxim describes the Democrat-led impeachment effort perfectly. The Democrats’ first attempt to overturn the results of the 2016 election hinged on a disruptive investigation that paralyzed Washington for more than two years. Their second kick at the can has been characterized by comical rhetorical contortions bordering on self-parody.
Democrats bet everything on former Special Counsel Robert Mueller. The same people now leading the impeachment charge once championed the now-debunked Russia collusion allegations. They were fixtures in the mainstream media, touting evidence that never existed and offering breathless speculation about a litany of supposed “bombshells” that ultimately turned out to be duds. This wasn’t merely a waste of time — it was a real tragedy for the country. Numerous individuals suffered crippling legal fees and ruined careers after being charged with trumped-up process crimes, and public trust in both the media and the federal government took a major hit.
While the collusion claims were obviously outlandish, Democrats and their media allies couldn’t help themselves. They fully believed the Russia collusion narrative would lead to President Trump’s removal from office, and waited for the Mueller report with bated breath. Mueller let them down, but even that enormous disappointment wasn’t enough to quell their irrepressible urge to impeach.
Just as Marx foretold, their next attempt turned out to be even more ridiculous.
Democrats have yet to charge the President with a discernible crime related to his diplomacy with Ukraine. First, they accused the President of a “quid pro quo.” When that line failed to gain traction, they tested out various alternatives including “extortion,” and ultimately settled on “bribery.” They’ve also accused President Trump of witness tampering and obstruction of justice, just in case the “bribery” lie doesn’t stick.
The Democrats’ shifting rhetoric isn’t a reaction to witness testimony. As Republican Texas Rep. John Ratcliffe pointed out, “extortion” and “bribery” have hardly appeared in the hundreds of hours of deposition and testimony the House Intelligence Committee has already collected. Unable to substantiate their original case against President Trump, Democrats simply changed their allegations in response to focus group data.
That’s hardly the only farcical element of the impeachment inquisition, though.
Democrats also invented new whistleblower protections and pretend that they are statutory limitations. Revealing the identity of the so-called “whistleblower” is treated like a criminal offense, when in reality it’s perfectly legal. Everyone in Washington knows who the whistleblower is, yet Democrats falsely insist that speaking his name in public is forbidden by law.
The only plausible explanation for such intense secrecy is that Democrat lawmakers don’t want the American people to know about their role in manufacturing the Ukraine controversy.
Democratic House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff has repeatedly claimed that he doesn’t know the whistleblower’s identity, but he seems to have an uncanny ability to predict which specific questions might reveal the intelligence officer’s name. He openly lied to the public about his staff’s meetings with the whistleblower, and is using a “law” that exists only in his own imagination to restrict witness testimony. Schiff’s own words and actions make it clear that he believes any further revelations would be even more damaging to his cause.
Democrats should have cut their losses after Russiagate blew up in their faces. Their follow-up effort is a transparent farce, and it’s plain for everyone to see. It may be the only thing Marx got right.
Harlan Hill is president of the Logan Circle Group and an advisory board member for the Trump-Pence 2020 re-election campaign.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.