#MattGaetzIsATool trends big-time after announcement of ‘ethics complaint’ filing against Pelosi

On Thursday morning, Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida announced that he had filed an ethics complaint against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for ripping up her copy of Donald Trump’s State of the Union speech. It’s predictable and arguably exactly what Pelosi was expecting, with Gaetz saving network pundits from hours of bad takes on the actual contents of the speech. Gaetz is acting out one of the many theatrical displays of fealty that Republican hacks will be performing for their fearful and corrupt leader. It’s very on-brand for the Republican Party: conducting a witch hunt against a woman, wasting American taxpayer money, and not doing their actual jobs as legislators. 

Gaetz is a special kind of craven, though, as he combines the condescension of Ted Cruz with the piss-poor intellect of Louie Gohmert. This is a man who has in the past tried to intimidate witnesses and has had his own run-ins with the law, all issues of ethics.

After the announcement of the ethics complaint, #MattGaetzIsATool went viral on Twitter.

Because there is video of every hypocritical moment in these many Republican tools’ lives, here’s a reminder of the kind of hypocritical, two-inch-deep politician Matt Gaetz is.

"Let me say right here, right now. Absolutely Donald Trump should release his tax returns." GOP Rep Matt Gaetz #MattGaetzIsATool pic.twitter.com/WcQKygIwIu

— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 6, 2020

And a moment with someone who served his country and actually believes in the oath he took to protect our country’s values and institutions:

Watch GOP Rep Matt Gaetz get told to his face by a Veteran that he�s betraying his oath of office for defending Trump�s high crimes. #MattGaetzIsAToolpic.twitter.com/0jZSKkqiKb

— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 6, 2020

Who doesn’t like a good Trump bill-signing meme?

She shredded those lies and filed them where they belonged, in the trash. It was HER copy of the lies. The President disrespected the House creating a reality show giving a medal to a racist. �� #MattGaetzIsATool pic.twitter.com/FEiLsFHmc1

— Kim Shelton (@KrazyNbama) February 6, 2020

Here’s a riddle.

Q: What do you get when you cross a failed sobriety test, a failed anti-bullying advocate, & a failed steak salesman? A: This photo.#MattGaetzIsATool pic.twitter.com/k33RojydAW

— Eric Wolfson (@EricWolfson) February 6, 2020

Gaetz knows all about House ethics complaints.

That time we filed a House Ethics Complaint against Matt Gaetz for intimidating a witness and obstructing justice #MattGaetzIsATool https://t.co/KggQexAt03

— Scott Dworkin (@funder) February 6, 2020

Here’s a visualization of the hashtag.

#MattGaetzIsATool Donald Trump's tool. pic.twitter.com/s6BXW76fZZ

— The Joy of Trolling (@twelthavenue) February 6, 2020

And another one, which makes me laugh. A lot.

#MattGaetzIsATool Imagine thinking Matt Gaetz is a good person to try and lecture you. pic.twitter.com/gyzelJOrMD

— The Joy of Trolling (@twelthavenue) February 6, 2020

And because the children are our future.

This girl is going places!#MattGaetzIsATool #Traitor #CorruptGOP pic.twitter.com/kHnpK0GrQP

— Mark Buckman for Bernie Sanders! (@bAdmArk) February 6, 2020

Trump Jr. gets ‘triggered’ twice: First by Sen. Romney’s vote, then by Twitter

It’s difficult to be considered the mediocre Trump progeny, but Donald Trump Jr. has earned that distinction. His latest venture in the public sphere was penning the tome Triggered: How the Left Thrives on Hate and Wants to Silence Us. Or as some people rebranded it a few months ago, Daddy, Please Love Me: How Everything I Do Is to Earn My Father’s Love. The contents of the book includes all of the whining, self-aggrandizing stories of persecution that one has come to expect from wealthy conservatives in our country. Triggered, like all things Trump, is a projection of how Junior feels deep inside. So far, the only person who has been “triggered” by Triggered is Junior.

With the news that Republican Sen. Mitt Romney was breaking with his fellow Republicans and voting the evidence and his conscience to find Donald Trump guilty of the articles of impeachment, Junior went to his Twitter account to attack, tweeting: “Mitt Romney is forever bitter that he will never be POTUS. He was too weak to beat the Democrats then so he’s joining them now. He’s now officially a member of the resistance & should be expelled from the @GOP.”

Very quickly, Twitter came back at Junior to remind him that his father is a guilty, corrupt, historical blight on humanity.

Jr right now pic.twitter.com/dqqfTGyavE

— kevin (@KevINthe406) February 5, 2020

If you�re last name is Trump, you are expelled from the party if: � you put country over party � you do not ignore facts � you do not ignore the truth � you are guided by what is right & not by what is right for trump Integrity & honor have no home in the party of trump. pic.twitter.com/uEQeKatiK8

— Jo (@JoJoFromJerz) February 5, 2020

It's not a political party anymore. It's a cult. And all cults end badly.

— Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) February 5, 2020

And because you have to.

You sound triggered

— Josh Jordan (@NumbersMuncher) February 5, 2020

CAN'T COUNT ON PEOPLE WHO HAVE A CONSCIENCE. AND A SPINE.https://t.co/o8uFKIAodK

— Jack Polakoff (@JackPolakoff) February 5, 2020

There’s also the harsh reminder that Trump doesn’t care about anyone not named Donald Trump.

And you should be expelled from your ivory tower, junior. What's good for your grifting family, is NOT good for America. pic.twitter.com/DtRUXWetcL

— Jennie GETOVRITâÂ�¤ðÂ�Â�Â�ðÂ�Â�Â� (@GetovritJennie) February 5, 2020

Someone sounds upset... pic.twitter.com/ARoUiq9z1H

— TrumpsTaxes (@TrumpsTaxes) February 5, 2020

Here’s a nice liberal, down-the-middle reference.

pic.twitter.com/i9e7RBpOmj

— ChidiÃ�®ï¸Â� (@ChidiNwatu) February 5, 2020

This isn’t the first or the last time that Junior will be ratioed on Twitter because of his bizarre insistence on projecting his own families’ foibles and moral bankruptcies on the public.

Did something about this also trigger you? pic.twitter.com/vGLG48lZxx

— jess fedigan (@jj_fedigan) February 5, 2020

And finally:

Not surprised you don't recognize integrity.

— On the farm (@EllaG1894) February 5, 2020

Highlights from the first two weeks of the Republican Party’s sham impeachment trial

Two weeks of history came to something of a head on Friday. The Senate Impeachment trial, while a coverup orchestrated by the Republican Party, is also a historic attempt by American patriots to begin the process of fixing a corrupted executive branch before irreparable damage is done. Lead House Manager Adam Schiff began by explaining the seriousness of the charges against Donald Trump.

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And then a quick reminder of how Sen. Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Republican party has hamstrung this essential Democratic process,

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House Manager Jerrold Nadler from New York spoke on the Senate floor on Thursday, and brought some receipts. First the fact that the evidence is overwhelming.

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And then a relentless barrage of video showing that the conservatives arguing on Trump’s behalf, with names like Alan Dershowitz and Lindsey Graham, arguing the absolute opposite just a few years ago. 

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One of the most glaring realities of the “perfect” phone call, and subsequent statements about Trump’s personal interest in getting an investigation started into the Bidens is the fact that he didn’t care if there were actual investigations into corruption … just the perception of investigations.

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Schiff came back and delivered what many called an “historic” 30-minute closing argument to end day two of the Senate Impeachment trial. The final eight minutes included a powerfully stark reminder of what is at stake.

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On Friday, House Manager Hakeem Jeffries once again reminded the world that this is not a partisan process—at least it is not supposed to be one.

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On Saturday, the Republican Party—who has made this a thoroughly partisan procedure—had their chance to begin the defense of Donald Trump. As all the president’s men began their disinformation campaign to muddy the waters with conspiracy theories, news began circulating of an almost 90-minute long audio tape purportedly secretly recorded by Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas. Highlights included Trump angrily saying he wanted people to “get rid of” then-Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Besides the myriad questions this should bring to anyone’s mind didn’t seem to faze Republican lawmakers: 1) Does Donald Trump not realize he has the right, as president, to replace her, and if he does 2) What was he suggesting be done with Yovanovitch, and 3) What kind of crap national security is being run if any dubious character can record the president secretly for almost 90 minutes? 

On Sunday, news came out that former Ambassador John Bolton’s new memoir would feature smoking gun statements of Trump’s guilt in the Ukraine affair. Calls for witness testimony were reinvigorated. It would seem that allowing for such testimony as Bolton’s would be a fait accompli but, with the republic under fire from inside, there is nothing we can take for granted.

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This, of course, was followed by the deafening silence of Republican officials, and vitriol on Twitter from the the chief executive of our country. On Monday, all the president’s men went back to their posts to defend the indefensible. This might have to do with their fear of their fearful leader. Who is more cowardly, the coward or the cowards afraid of him? And while they went to work, trying to figure out what to do about the John Bolton-sized elephant in the room, the Trump defense spewed lie after lie after lie.

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Oops. Sorry, that’s a different Republican Senator clearly from an alternate reality.

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It is hard to sum up how outrageous the Trump-defense presentation on Monday was.

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A considerable amount of Monday’s “defense” was dedicated to figuring out ways to use old-fashioned phraseology that could be succinctly grabbed for headlines. Words like “poppycock” provided the deepest defense Trump’s team had to offer. The day ended with a promise of one thing, though.

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To place you in time, Monday also included Iowa Sen. Jodi Ernst embarrassing herself in remarkable fashion.

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By Tuesday it became more and more clear that the leaked John Bolton manuscript was becoming too hard to control and witnesses would likely need to be called in to testify. However, the plan for Republican leadership at this point was how best to hide testimony from the public, so that the rightwing propaganda machine could more easily lie about the framing and characterization of said testimonies. The summary of Trump’s defense by the end of Tuesday was best summarized by Steve Vladeck.

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By the end of Tuesday, Republican Majority Leader McConnell had brought fellow GOP senators into his lair for a closed-door session, to discuss whether or not they had the votes to stop witnesses from actually being called during this “trial.” Reports from numerous media outlets contradicted one another, with the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post reporting that McConnell did not have the votes secured to stop something resembling a real impeachment trial from breaking out, while Politico and The New York Times’ Maggie Haberman saying he did. 

By Wednesday morning, it seemed that the Republican Party was exactly where they’ve always been—inside of Donald Trump’s pocket. The White House, after telling everybody that John Bolton’s memoir meant nothing, decided to threaten legal action against Bolton and his publisher. Republican leadership sent out the new day’s talking points which consisted of admitting that Donald Trump did indeed hold up money in order to force Ukraine to publicly “investigate” a political rival, but … so what? “#WeWantWitnesses” went viral as protestors descended upon our nation’s capital.

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And then the questions began:

Sens. Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz thought they were able to put together a real stumper, using the old Obama whataboutism.

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Trump attorney Dershowitz took the fragments of what was left of his career and integrity and flushed them down the drain of history, by arguing that a president couldn’t be impeached for crimes, because his belief in himself as being awesome made it not a crime. The law scholar he repeatedly cited during this extraordinary argument went on television and also wrote an op-ed in The New York Times to say that Alan Dershowitz was as full of shit as you suspected him to be.

Meanwhile, news broke that Chief Justice Roberts had denied Republicans from outing the “whistleblower,” in the most cowardly fashion available to them: by getting Chief Justice Roberts to read their name as one of the submitted questions. Chief coward amongst them, Sen. Rand Paul.

Lead Manager Schiff  presented the Joseph Heller-level Catch-22 breaking news story of Trump’s Department of Justice, arguing in federal court—resisting subpoenas—that a president can’t be impeached by the House if they cannot be in court to fight for subpoenas … because they are in the Senate making their case for impeachment. “You can’t make this stuff up.”

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And sadly, none of us have made any of this up. It’s just the lazy writing of corruption and cowardice and incompetence. Americans rolled out of their beds on Friday to news that Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Lamar Alexander, and Cory Gardner—all possible swing votes—were all in agreement that there was no such thing as crime. Just as Donald Trump’s new favorite lawyer Alan Dershowitz instructed. The rest of the day was filled with the bad, illogical theater one has come to expect from this Republican Party. Sen. Murkowski voted against new witnesses and new evidence, even with Bolton revelation after Bolton revelation getting leaked to the public. Her statement on the matter should truly disabuse anyone of the belief that Lisa Murkowski is anything but a corrupt tool of a politician, with zero ethical convictions whatsoever.

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#RIPAmerica began trending on Twitter.

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And the cowards we have come to know under Donald Trump continued to fly their bright yellow colors.

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The Republican Party made their decision clear. Our democracy means far less to them than the promise of short-term power. As Friday wore down, we were left with murmurs of amendments and promises of votes to come.

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In the end, this was the takeaway for next week, when the United States Senate, led by the Republican Party, decide to set the precedent that a president can be corrupt as long as he—and they are definitely talking about a man—thinks it is in his best interests to be corrupt.

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But before the very end of Friday, Republican Senators all stepped up to write the first line of their obituaries, voting to nix witnesses and to block five amendments Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer put up.

Commiserate below in the comments. If you feel up to it.

Sen. Rand Paul tries to out whistleblower during impeachment, #ArrestRandPaul goes viral on Twitter

Wednesday evening, reports came out that Sen. Rand Paul was trying his darndest to out the alleged “whistleblower” by getting Chief Justice Roberts to say the name inside of a question, to be read during the Senate impeachment trial. It’s the kind of rich kid douchebaggery one expects from a 1980s teen movie villain … and Rand Paul. Because of the bad press that justifiably rained down on him, Sen. Paul illegally went out to talk with reporters during the Senate impeachment trial to clear his name by continuing to be a gruesome person and even worse senator. It’s important to note here that Sen. Rand Paul does shitty things on occasion like this, mostly to remind the country that he’s still here. Also because, like his dad, he’s mostly interested in his own power, and also like his dad, his libertarian ideas are worthless and cyclically ebb and flow with the rise and fall of fascism.

And so Rand was able to make the day’s headlines, and stay in those headlines, but not because people think the gold-diapered baby senator is a patriot. No, people had Sen. Paul on their minds for a very different reason altogether—American history and common sense. #ArrestRandPaul began to trend on Twitter, and took off.

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No. No there’s not.

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And people aren’t saying it simply as a joke.

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And while it is preaching to the choir, the depth of this move, the true inhumanity and bleakness of soul that it takes to put people’s lives in jeopardy over some worthless political points that you might get from Donald Trump, is pathetic.

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If our justice system was even half working at this point, Sen. Rand Paul would be in a whole heap of very real trouble.

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Harvard professor repeatedly cited by Dershowitz in impeachment trial calls Trump defense a ‘joke’

Donald Trump’s impeachment defense team has about as much integrity as a fishing net made out of toilet paper. On Wednesday, lawyer Alan Dershowitz provided one of the most truly wicked and specious arguments in the history of law when he explained during Trump’s Senate impeachment trial that a public official, no matter how corrupt, could not commit a crime if they believe that their corrupt action is in the public interest. His exact quote was, “If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in impeachment.”

Dershowitz, like the toadstool of a person he is, later tweeted that he didn’t say what he said and that people saying he did were misunderstanding what he said. He went on to say he stood by what he didn’t say, but he didn’t say it … so don’t say he said it. A large part of Dershowitz’s theatrical display of intellectual dishonesty was dedicated to citing fellow Harvard Law professor Nikolas Bowie as someone who agreed with the argument that abuse of power does not warrant impeachment. Bowie then spoke with Anderson Cooper and Jeffrey Toobin on CNN to clear up what he actually wrote and believes.

Abuse of power is a crime. There are people around the country who have been convicted of it recently. It's a crime that’s existed since this country was founded. And it's a criminal offense. To equate it with "maladministration," as my colleague professor Dershowitz does, is the equivalent of saying that criminal corruption is the same thing as getting a bad performance evaluation. “Maladministration” is just an 18th-century term for doing a bad thing at your job, for, you know, not filing papers correctly. And I think he’s right: A president shouldn’t be impeached for getting a bad performance evaluation. But to equate that with criminal corruption? That’s a joke.

He’s right. But, like everything in this current authoritarian climate, it’s a terrible, terrible joke.

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Nixon backers’ obits suggest history won’t be kind to those who don’t support Trump impeachment

Ryan Goodman, editor in chief over at Just Security, published a very interesting piece on Wednesday. In it, Goodman goes back through history and looks at the 10 Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee who voted both for and against the impeachment of then-President Richard Nixon in 1974. More importantly, he looks at their obituaries to see whether his backers’ decisions to support a clearly unhinged and corrupt politician were remembered. According to Goodman, not only was it mentioned in these long-deceased officials’ obituaries, but it was the defining moment of their careers. Reading some of obituary headlines, you begin to get the scope.

“Former Rep. Joseph Maraziti, 78, Defender of Nixon on Watergate”

“Wiley Mayne; House GOP Member Who Voted Not to Impeach Nixon”

“Sandman, Nixon Supporter, Dies”

“Charles Wiggins, 72, Dies; Led Nixon’s Defense in Hearings”

Alternately, Goodman looked at the obituaries of Republican congressmen who voted in favor of impeaching Nixon. Those GOP officials’ careers were also definitively marked by their decision to break with party rank-and-file to make the right decision. 

Just Security is a U.S. national security law and policy think tank and media outlet. 

#WeWantWitnesses takes off on Twitter as Americans demand justice

As the Senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump continues, the Republican Party, behind Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, continues to work a cover-up. Americans everywhere are fed up with the transparent abuses of power of the conservative-led Senate, and #WeWantWitnesses has begun to trend on social media.

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And people are taking this opportunity to make those calls ...

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… and to organize people on the ground.

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“Do your job.”

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And the theatricality resulting from McConnell’s creation of a fiction to hide the facts increases.

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And while all of this is going on, the White House, after saying that John Bolton’s book didn’t matter, is making a legal play because … it seems to matter.

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And a reminder: Donald Trump is guilty.

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‘I am now proudly a registered Democrat standing with the Constitution,’: #ILeftTheGOP goes viral

Can people change their minds? Of course they can. Will certain cults of personality lose their followers this coming election cycle? Some people have traveled too far down a very dark road and are unwilling to face up to their own fears and faults. But some people have started out one way and went another. My father was a conservative kid from a working-class Queens, New York, family who went from being a conservative who liked late-1950s Nixon into a bleeding heart liberal a few years later. For him, a young woman telling him his ideas were like those in Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead made him rethink his values. People change, and for many people, watching the current Republican Party under Donald Trump debase the Constitution and walk back virtually everything they’ve said they stood for, is enough to get #ILeftTheGOP to begin trending on Twitter.

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There are a mixture of serious testimonials as well as some funny digs at the Grand Old Party.

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Many people who showed up at the Kos blog porch over 10 years ago to talk about their feelings and ideas might remember a similar story to this:

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And there are the more modern converts.

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For some it was coming for a long time.

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And these hearings, with such stark hypocrisy on the part of the Republican Party, will hopefully have more people making these moves.

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But, never forget, we do not choose when and where and to whom we are born. We all have to make our ways to the light in different ways.

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And there is a lot of pain involved in changing what might once have been a strongly held belief system.

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And just for some of us, showing our support.

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If you were once conservative, share your story below.

‘Get your facts straight!’ Chris Wallace gets testy with Fox News pundit’s spin on Bolton

Fox News’ Chris Wallace slammed conservative pundit Katie Pavlich on air, telling her to “Get your facts straight” after she tried to claim all kinds of made-up facts in her defense of Donald Trump. In question was Pavlich’s revisionist retelling of how the Democratic House’s impeachment inquiry was hampered by obstruction. In Pavlich’s imagineering, the Democratic Party is breaking with impeachment tradition by pushing an incomplete case, “and every impeachment beforehand, the witnesses that were called had been called in the House before being brought to the Senate. So there are questions here about the process.”

That’s not true. It’s not even a little bit true, and Wallace cut Pavlich off to tell her as much: “They hadn’t all been called in the House, and in the Clinton impeachment, they’d been called by the general independent counsel. They had not been called by the House.” 

Right-wing pundit Katie Pavlich is just the kind of dumb that Trump’s Republican Party loves: willing to toe any line of misinformation, no matter how many obvious facts and contradictions there are. Appearing on Fox News with conservative luminaries such as Brett Baier, Pavlich was promoting the old conservative trope that the difference between Clinton’s impeachment trial and Trump’s is that the Democratic Party keeps trying to add new things to it, because it’s going so terribly. The basis of this bit of bullshit is that Donald Trump’s White House has refused to allow anyone to testify, while his Department of Justice has done more work trying to cover up his criminal behavior than any of the actual work it’s supposed to do as a department. 

Wallace has been as critical of President Trump as anyone can be on the Fox News network, even admitting to the public that Trump has damaged our freedom of the press. But it’s hard to tell whether Wallace is angry at the lies being spread, or how stupid the spin is. The segment opened with Wallace saying proof that the John Bolton news that broke over the weekend was “big” was how intensely people like Pavlich were trying to spin it. 

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Watch Fox host contort himself as new damaging info emerges in Trump impeachment trial

The Republican Party continues forward with its oblique defense of Donald Trump’s impeachable crimes. This on the heels of bombshell news that former national security adviser John Bolton wrote in his soon-to-be-published memoir that Trump froze the congressionally earmarked financial aid to Ukraine subject to them opening up a public corruption investigation into the Biden family. By any measure this would be a smoking gun. In fact, back in September, even Fox & friends’ Steve Doocy could agree to that. In a clip you can watch below from Sept. 24, 2019, Doocy explains how the whistleblower complaint only means something if someone could truly point to Donald Trump withholding aid because he wanted an investigation into a campaign rival—Joe Biden.

STEVE DOOCY: If the president said, you know, “I’ll give you the money but you’ve got to investigate Joe Biden,” that is really off-the-rails wrong.

Ainsley Earhardt agreed.

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Steve Doocy spent Monday pushing back those goal posts, while Fox News brought on corrupt politician after corrupt politician to pooh-pooh these bombshell revelations. Speaking with alleged sexual molestation accessory after the fact Rep. Jim Jordan, Doocy asked this of the new Bolton allegations. Calling these allegations something that “we have heard before,” Doocy went on to both illustrate exactly why the news is damning, while also saying it didn’t matter now, for no reason.

DOOCY: This is something we have heard before but now, because it’s John Bolton, and he was in the room, what does this change?

Media Matters put together this clip showing Doocy in September and Doocy on Monday.

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Listen, everybody has the right to change their minds about things. In fact, as more and more evidence is revealed, one should be able to change their mind as they now have new information to work with. And yet, somehow, Steve Doocy is so filled with the poison of cynicism, he is able to seamlessly change the parameters of the argument in such a way that it makes me wonder if Steve Doocy’s mind is simply filled with a gaseous sulfur-smelling void.