This Morning’s House Judiciary Committee Hearing

game's afood

I turned it off when the 41 committee members—or however many there are—began their “five minute rounds.” Because how much fun can one human being stand? Here are just a few observations on what I did see.

Stephen Castor’s Rotten First Speech

Stephen Castor, Esquire, the Republicans’ lawyer did not, in my view, help his case one whit by an opening statement ignoring the issues raised by the Democrats, focusing instead on bias and process. If I shot Cock Robin on Fifth Avenue, I might argue that the prosecutor is biased against me, and that might even be true, but I still shot Cock Robin on Fifth Avenue.

Stephen Castor’s Workmanlike Second Speech

But when it came time for the respective counsel’s “testimony,” later on in the morning, another Republican lawyer showed up. Oddly, he was also named Stephen Castor, Esquire. The second attorney Castor’s job was to muddy the waters, factually. I have neither the time nor the inclination to express a view on every single point. Overall, though, my impression is that the second Stephen Castor, Esquire, did about as good a job for his side as could be done.

Doesn’t mean that he succeeded. Not by any means. But he did give the appearance of trying to meet the case against his client, not just yelling like a basshee.

Hence the picture I chose for the top of this post: the issues are joined. The Game is Afoot.

The Biggest Questions

IMHO, the most important factual questions remain: Why did Trump restore the aid? and Why did Trump restore the aid, when he did—which was right after he learned of the whistleblower?

Stephen Castor the Second got to this point rather late in his presentation, and I didn’t catch all the details. But I believe he was trying to argue that there was some kind of legitimate interagency review going on in early September, and that review was just about to lead to the restoration of the aid—when, as a matter of chance, happenstance, and random bad luck (for the Orange Man), news of the whistleblower came out.

True or False?

Now, this claim by Stephen Castor the Second is either true or it is false. If it is true, then there should be lots of documents backing it up. As far as I know, no such documents have been disclosed.

So, where’s the evidence for the Republicans’ alternative narrative?

Where’s the Whistleblower?

Stephen Castor the Second, being an actual lawyer rather than a random spaghetti thrower, said almost nothing about the whistleblower—the one Shouty Shirt and the rest of the sorry crew had ranted about. And why, pray tell, might Stephen Castor the Second have elected not to emphasize the whistleblower? Oh, what a mystery. Oh, what a conundrum.

Or, maybe not. Stephen Castor the Second did not want to draw attention to the whistleblower, because drawing attention to the whistleblower would only detract from his alternative narrative about why and when the Ukrainian aid was restored.

The Obstruction Question

My last observation relates to Castor’s effort to refute the obstruction charge. Think of it this way. Let’s say I’m a four-year-old, playing marbles with several other four-year-olds. One of them, Doofus Donald by name, gets mad with the rest of us for no good reason. So Doofus Donald says, “I’m taking my marbles and going home,” when he then proceeds to do.

I take it that the game’s premature end is our fault, because the rest of us didn’t chase after Doofus Donald and beg him, pretty please with sugar on top, to come back and bring his marbles.

No, Stephen Castor the First, and no, Stephen Castor the Second, that dog won’t hunt.