Too bad Sam Ervin isn’t around. Hopefully, there will be sightings of his ghost in the coming days, as the democrats need to be inspired by his performance in the Watergate hearings. Maybe they should stage a seance to get a back channel to him. Sorry to use the words backchannel, as they evoke the nefarious and clandestine actions of Jared with the Russians. Let’s call that an evil back channel that attempted to undermine our country; the connection to Ervin will be a good one that ensures our democracy.
Ervin was the Senator who led the Watergate hearings: he brought the thunder and the gravitas that we desperately need at this moment.
During Watergate, Nixon invoked executive privilege to deny the investigation essential documents it had subpoenaed.
Ervin harrumphed and said: “That’s not executive privilege, that’s executive poppycock.”
Back in 1973, when a senator used the word poppycock, he meant business!
For those of you who are offended by poppycock here are some synonyms: (in your spare time have fun with them and order them from most favorite to least)
Nonsense, rubbish, garbage, claptrap, balderdash, blather, moonshine, foolishness, silliness, tripe, hogwash, baloney, bull, bunk, guff, eyewash, piffle, phooey, hooey, codswallop, tommyrot, wack and toffee, drivel.
My top three are: tommyrot, hogwash, and piffle.
Here is Ervin’s full statement:
“Divine right went out with the American Revolution and doesn’t belong to White House aides… That is not executive privilege. That is executive poppycock.”
With the battle to get people like Don McGahn to testify the poppycock war on executive privilege is heating up. Carl Kline, former head of White House personnel security, Steve Munchin, Secretary of Treasury and William Barr, are stonewalling.
Kline knows the shenanigans that went on with regard to approving security clearances to individuals who were rejected by the F.B.I. The F.B.I. recommends denying security clearances to people who can be compromised because of past actions or affiliations. Rumor has it that The Don was so enthralled with Russian Ambassador Kislyak that he insisted he have clearance as well. After all, he did meet with The Don in the oval office and the only reason we knew about it was because a Russian photographer documented it.
Mnuchin is protecting The Don’s taxes. “They are so boring-just some numbers. The American people have no patience for numbers.”
And Mr. Barr has decided that he doesn’t like the format that the House has proposed for his testifying. Normally, each congressman on the committee gets five minutes to ask questions. In addition to this, Chairman Nadler is asking for specific lawyers to have 30 minute slots to question Barr. There is precedent for this*. Think Barr is worried that a skilled attorney will expose his deceit and allegiance to The Don?
In true form, The Don pronounced that he was not allowing anyone to testify before congress, nor was he turning over any documents.
It is rumored that The Don preened like a peacock while saying “I am the greatest document and subpoena denier in the history of America.”
The Don recently heard the word poppycock and immediately decried that he was the greatest poppycock player in the world. “You’ve never seen anything like me playing poppycock. Many generals agree that I am the greatest, just like they agree that “Robert E. Lee was one of the greatest generals.”
Funny it took asserting his greatness as a poppycock player to finally get The Don to tell the truth about something: he is the greatest promulgator of nonsense, rubbish, garbage, claptrap, balderdash, blather, moonshine, foolishness, silliness, tripe, hogwash, baloney, bull, bunk, guff, eyewash, piffle, phooey, hooey, codswallop, tommyrot, wack and toffee, drivel, in the history of the presidency!
Let’s face it, The Don lives for a good fight.
Let’s face it, The Don has spent his entire adult life doing nefarious things and then obstructing justice by bullying and suing his adversaries. His entire life story is filled with the kind of transgressions laid out in the Mueller report: Do whatever it takes to get what you want–no matter how nefarious–and just obstruct and lie when you are exposed.
The Don is at his best when he can counter-punch and then go on the attack. He always expects to win. The fact that he has never paid any significant price for his myriad transgressions instills in him the belief that he is above the law. His current battle just happens to be with the Congress of the United States. To him the congress is just another foe that he needs to lay to rest. His fantasy is that there should be no congress to impose checks and balances on him. He needs to neuter them so he can do whatever he wants. After all, the world’s greatest poppycock player knows everything and he alone can fix things.
So get ready for a new Reality TV show called, The Great American Showdown. In this show, The Don takes on democracy by attempting to usurp the balance of power declared in the constitution that the Congress is an equal branch of government and has oversight authority over the executive branch.
So what will congress do to hold its own in this fight for the soul of American democracy? We know what the immoral, spineless Republicans will do: they will cede all their power to check the president for the opportunity to have his blessing so they can retain their power. What’s that saying? Absolute power corrupts absolutely?
So what will the Democrats do? Perhaps we should return to Sam Ervin once more. In 1973, the chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee, threatened to issue fines or arrest Nixon aides after the president initially refused to let them testify. The White House ultimately caved to congressional demands.
But in 1927, Congress did jail the brother of one of the conspirators in the Teapot Dome scandal, in which the Interior secretary handed out oil leases in exchange for bribes, when he refused to produce documents. When Mally Daugherty challenged his arrest in court, the Supreme Court ruled that Congress had the power to compel witnesses to comply with its orders and he went to jail.
Let’s face it: The Don is not Nixon. Even the crook Nixon knew he had to relent. The Don may lose this battle, but he will go down fighting; he will not relent. His is a scorched earth policy. If he has to destroy our democracy he will try because all that matters is winning, no matter what the cost to other. He really doesn’t give a flying poppycock about anyone else.
So I say to the Democrats: Force those people to testify. If they refuse, throw them in jail for contempt of Congress. Do not let our sociopathic dictator-wanabee win this battle.
*Although allowing staff members to question witnesses is unusual, the committee has permitted it on several occasions in the past. This includes during public hearings and private transcribed interviews, like the impeachment inquiries into Presidents Richard M. Nixon and Bill Clinton, and the Republican-led investigation into the F.B.I.’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
There is also precedent for having staff lawyers interview cabinet secretaries, Mr. Schwarz said. During the joint House and Senate Hearings on the Iran-contra scandal in 1987, committee staff members questioned both Attorney General Edwin Meese III and Secretary of State George P. Shultz. And in 1973, committee staff members questioned James Schlesinger, the C.I.A. director, during a House Armed Services subcommittee inquiry into the alleged involvement of the C.I.A. in the Watergate scandal.