|Rep. Adam Schiff begins the impeachment hearings.|
I loathe meetings, conferences, seminars, conclaves — assemblies of all kinds. I avoid trials, whether civil or criminal, religious services, whether of my own faith or others, and political rallies of all stripes. Anything that traps me so I must sit, be silent and listen to people talk for an indeterminate time.
Thus I was surprised, mildly, to find myself Wednesday at 9 a.m. CST parked in front of CNN to watch the beginning of the House Intelligence Committee’s public hearings on whether Donald Trump should be impeached. The “This is history!” imperative must have overridden my natural disinclination to watch parliamentary proceedings. The president is being impeached. It’s like the moon catching fire; who doesn’t step outside and look up?
“It’s 9:02,” I tweeted. (Because really, if a thought goes unexpressed nowadays, does it even exist?) “You’re late. [C’mon] Dems, get with the program.”
Be careful what you wish for.
Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., gaveled the hearing to order and spoke for 36 seconds.
“It is the intention of the committee to proceed without disruptions,” he said, then was interrupted by Rep. John Ratcliffe, R-Texas, asking about the “rules of engagement,” as if this were some kind of battle, which of course it is.
But an odd sort of battle, a battle where the outcome is unimportant. Anyone who understands that the president put his own interests ahead of the nation’s already knew it Tuesday. And anyone who refuses to see that derailing American foreign policy to grease your chances in the next election is an impeachable offense will never grasp that fact, not after a thousand hours of damning testimony. Not after a century.
The question, Schiff said, is “what kind of conduct or misconduct the American people can come to expect from their commander in chief?”
Ooh, ooh, me, me! I know! Two minutes later it hadn’t started, and I was growing impatient.
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