Viewers tuning in to the first House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment were very quickly treated to a wide partisan gulf on the motives behind the whole process.
Republicans sought to slow down the proceedings at several points with a series of motions, some of which required roll calls.
House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler D-NY declared at the outset that the “facts are undisputed” that President Donald Trump sought foreign help to investigate a potential 2020 rival, Joe Biden. He framed the Ukraine scandal as just the type of presidential conduct that the framers warned about. “Those patriots still feared one threat above all: foreign interference in our elections,” he said.
At one point he quoted Alexander Hamilton, capitalizing on his new place in pop culture. “When such a man is seen to mount the hobby horse of popularity - to join the cry of danger of liberty - to take every opportunity of embarrassing the general government and bringing it under suspicion. [It] may justly be suspected that his object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.”
The GOP, however, tried to capitalize on what they predicted would be a puzzling and even dense day of testimony from four constitutional law professors. Rep. Doug Collins R-GA, said in his opening statement, “We can be theoretical all we want but the American people are going to look at this and say, Huh? What are we doing?”
“The partisan coup d’etat will go down in infamy in the history of the nation,” he said.
The Republicans on the committee tried to fluster Nadler, seeking a repeat of earlier hearings featuring Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and Special Counsel Robert Mueller that failed to land a game-changing impact. Place behind GOP members were a series of quotes form Democrats, including one from Nadler during President Bill Clinton’s impeachment: “An impeachment of a president is an undoing of a national election.”
With a series of procedural motions, the GOP members also tried to slow things down.
Viewers likely were confused about what was happening, as Republicans sought to introduce motions to slow down the proceedings. At one point Nadler and Collins sparred over what was a “proper parliamentary inquiry.”
One motion, to postpone the hearing until December 11, was tabled, but it required a time-taking roll call vote. Collins charged that the “clock and the calendar is driving impeachment, not the facts.” He claimed that Democrats were concerned of the political implications of impeachment and wanted to keep from spilling too far into the election year.
Democrats want a House vote on impeachment before the Christmas holiday, after which the Senate would conduct a trial. If 2/3 vote to convict Trump, he would be removed from office, something that has never happened in U.S. history. But given the partisan divide on Capitol Hill, that scenario seems highly unlikely.
Fox Business Network has severed ties with primetime host Trish Regan, who sparked controversy after claiming that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was an “impeachment scam” around two weeks ago.
“Fox Business has parted ways with Trish Regan,” the network said in a statement. “We thank her for her contributions to the network over the years and wish her continued success in her future endeavors. We will continue our reduced live primetime schedule for the foreseeable future in an effort to allocate staff resources to continuous breaking news coverage on the coronavirus crisis.”
The network's decision stemmed from an early March segment on “Trish Regan Primetime,” the television host's now-defunct show, where Regan told a multitude of lies about the virus. Regan alleged that Democrats were singularly blaming President Donald Trump for the virus and that Democrats and left-wingers had a “need to create mass hysteria to encourage a market selloff” and “stop the economy,” all while a large graphic titled “CORONAVIRUS IMPEACHMENT SCAM” was displayed onscreen.
Regan announced that her show had been placed on hiatus on March 13, the day she hosted her final show. Regan is one of several Fox personalities and guests who have recently lied and downplayed the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic.
Fox News host Jeanine Pirro downplayed the virus' deadliness in early March, while network host Laura Ingraham, who previously taunted school shooting survivor David Hogg, then 17, for getting rejected from colleges, promoted unproven drugs in response to the pandemic. Sean Hannity previously referred to the coronavirus as a “hoax.” Conservative personality and university heir Jerry Falwell Jr. recently promoted a conspiracy theory on Fox and Friends that the coronavirus was co-created by North Korea and China to assault the United States and, like Regan, suggested that media coverage of the pandemic was politically motivated.
Though Regan's comments about the coronavirus generated particularly strong pushback, they weren't the first time that the television host had generated controversy. Regan's prior segments included accusations that Christine Blasey Ford’s sexual assault claims against Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh were politically motivated and a suggestion that Ilhan Omar D-Minnesota — a favorite target for racist attacks by Trump and other prominent conservatives — was antisemitic.
Regan, who joined Fox in 2015, also aired a variety of interviews with conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, who has actively promoted the birther conspiracies about President Barack Obama's citizenship, during her time at the network.
“I have enjoyed my time at FOX and now intend to focus on my...
John Oliver made his return to HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” on March 29 after a brief hiatus due to the coronavirus, and the late night host wasted no time ripping Donald Trump for his “failed” and “irresponsible” response to the global pandemic. As Oliver said, “Again and again, Trump has failed to give this crisis the seriousness it deserves…It didn't need to be this hard. That is why it is so profoundly disheartening that we are being led through this crisis by a man who may be less equipped to deal with this historical moment than anyone in recorded history.”
“It's critically important for America to be getting a clear, consistent message about the severity of the threat we're currently facing,” Oliver added. “That is the only way we will be able to manage this virus, contain casualties, and get back to something resembling normalcy.”
Oliver expressed criticism over Trump’s delay in responding to the coronavirus threat, noting that Trump could have helped solve the nationwide shortage in hospital masks and ventilators by enacting the Defense Production Act as early as late January or February. Had Trump made the move, he would have pushed companies like General Motors to produce supplies sooner. Oliver argued Trump waited too long, only to tell the country that his administration is ahead of the outbreak.
“It’s worth taking a moment to appreciate just how irresponsible that attitude is,” Oliver said. “Because we wasted so much time that we could have spent preparing, the virus is now widespread. And thanks to how we have massively botched the rollout of testing the virus, we still don’t know how exactly how bad things are.”
Oliver added, “For once, something has come along that is more toxic and more threatening that this president.” The television host concluded by saying he is “rooting for [Trump] to do this better,” pointing to how Ohio governor Mike DeWine and New York governor Andrew Cuomo have responded.
The March 29 episode of “Last Week Tonight” was Oliver’s first since signing off for a hiatus on March 16. During that episode, Oliver blasted Trump’s coronavirus response as “catastrophic” and urged Americans to listen to the Center of Disease Control over the President when it comes to facts about the pandemic. Oliver said the White House’s response was a “complete mess” because of all the lies Trump has told the American people.
New episodes of “Last Week Tonight” air Sunday nights at 11 p.m. ET on HBO.