There are weeks on Capitol Hill where one story dominates.
Last week it was the defense bill.
But when the former president of the United States appears headed for yet another indictment, you know what’s up.
In the Senate, time is of the essence.
It’s not just former President Trump who spoke with Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg. Nor does Mr. Trump face legal action over his handling of classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.
It is an indictment possibly connected to the riots at the Capitol and attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.
And even though former President Trump hasn’t been in office for two and a half years, he still commands nearly every cubic centimeter of news oxygen and political conversation on Capitol Hill.
Word of additional legal action followed a familiar script on Capitol Hill. Many of Mr. Trump’s staunch loyalists are rushing to his defense. Then there were a few Republicans who saw themselves as aligned or slightly distant from former President Trump. Democrats — as usual — went all in, cheering on the former president.
“This is absolute bulls—,” declared Rep. Marjorie Taylor Green, R-Ga., one of Mr. Trump’s closest allies. “The only way the Democrats have to kill President Trump is to arrest him. Kill him. Charge him with ridiculous and useless charges. They are the only ones who want to cover up Biden’s crimes. Hunter Biden’s crimes.”
Green said the US justice system is “worse than some corrupt, third-world countries.” He then declared that Mr. Trump “has been proven innocent time and time again and will be proven innocent again.”
And now for the diametrically opposed view from the Democrats.
“There will be criminal accountability for anyone who commits crimes against the government,” said Rep. Jamie Raskin, DMD, the top Democrat on the House Oversight Committee. “We’re talking about a violent coup, an internal, political coup around the corner. It’s a matter of extreme urgency for the American people to make sure we never relive something like that.”
“The president was a central figure in an attempt to overturn an election. For the first time in our history, an attempt to interfere with a peaceful transition of power,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Mr. Trump’s representative.
Schiff served on a House panel investigating the 2021 riots at the Capitol. However, the California Democrat wondered why it took so long to target the former president.
“They moved quickly when it got to the people who broke into the building behind us and attacked the police officers. But it seemed like almost a year, if not longer, before they started seeing the organizers, the instigators, who conspired to deceive the American people.”
Schiff then suggested that the 1/6 committee “found evidence that the Justice Department cannot ignore.”
House Republicans narrowly passed the controversial defense bill
That said, there was at one point concerns from prosecutors that the 1/6 committee was not helpful in providing information to the DoJ for possible criminal investigations.
In fact, most of the week in Congress was about 2024 – even though it didn’t happen. to become visible It will be around 2024.
The House Oversight Committee heard from two senior IRS whistleblowers who claim Hunter Biden should have faced felony charges on his tax returns instead of corruption as part of his plea deal.
“They were recommending sanctions, felony and corruption charges for the 2017, ’18 and ’19 tax years. That didn’t happen here. And I’m not sure why,” IRS Agent Joseph Ziegler testified.
Democrats said IRS whistleblowers are not responsible for deciding who should be prosecuted and what charges they should face. Delaware U.S. Attorney David Weiss said he has the final authority to file charges. But whistleblowers — and many Republicans — believe in pressure from top handcuffed prosecutors.
“We have two excellent agents on the case,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. “And then, ‘Shazam!’ Something changes.”
At one point in the hearing, Green warned everyone that “viewer discretion was advised.” He then displayed obscene poster boards of Hunter Biden in compromising positions.
“It’s egregious that Hunter Biden was paying this woman through his law firm and then writing it off as a business tax break,” Green said.
Republicans claim that Hunter Biden’s tax affairs and foreign business dealings are connected to President Biden and show corruption. But before the hearing, Raskin predicted that no matter what the GOP did, they would not demonstrate wrongdoing by the president.
This is why the hearings started with the 2024 presidential politics. Democrats say the GOP held the hearings only to target the president.
“I think (House Oversight Committee) Chairman (James) Comer, R-Ky., may have to fill out an FEC form as a kind of contribution to the Trump campaign based on what’s going on in this hearing,” declared Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla.
But amid impeachment charges against former President Trump, Republicans said the hearing identified only two standards of justice for the Bidens in America. Another one for Mr. Trump.
“The DoJ, FBI and IRS have not only worked to protect the criminal actions of the Biden family, but also to continue to persecute President Trump,” said Rep. William Timmons, RS.C.
The rhetoric will only intensify once the feds formally indict the president. The extent of the indictment and what it alleges about Mr. Trump’s actions related to the election and the riots will trigger attacks on GOP prosecutors and the Biden administration. And what Democrats say about the former president and Republicans.
This is why some Republicans now want to overturn two impeachments against former President Trump. However, it is unclear whether the House would ever consider such a resolution — let alone vote to approve such an exclusion.
That said, Republicans offered a big platform this week to Mr. Biden’s main 2024 challenger, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Kennedy testified at a hearing on censorship and the weaponization of the government.
“This committee has come to arm itself,” said Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass.
House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries, DN.Y. characterized RFK Jr. as “a living, breathing, false flag operation” for his views on the pandemic.
Kennedy criticized for declaring that COVID-19 was “engineered” to exempt people of Chinese and European Jewish descent.
The week ended without an indictment of former President Trump. That gives lawmakers fodder for next week.
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However, a House Oversight Committee hearing on UFO’s is scheduled for next Wednesday. This is perhaps the only topic that could lead to a possible indictment of the former president.