Republican senators sure are selective in what they find offensive in Trump’s impeachment trial

The third day of Donald Trump's impeachment trial once again featured Republican senators competing with each other to see who could show the most disdain for the idea of their constitutional duty and the oath they took to provide impartial justice. Sen. Marsha Blackburn, a Tennessee Republican, apparently felt one-upped by the odious Martha McSally of Arizona in the race to be Trump's favorite woman senator, so she stepped up her game by maligning decorated American combat veteran Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who still serves in uniform and who has been subject to threats of violence since he testified in the House impeachment investigation.

Then there's the ongoing middle-school brat behavior on display for the handful of reporters who are allowed to tell us about it. Which, by the way, Sen. Susan Collins thinks is too many. She wants one whole group of reporters, those sitting in the front row of the gallery where they can actually see what's happening, to be booted—presumably so they don't have a clear view of the Republican senators who are doodling, playing with toys, working on crosswords, chomping gum, and wandering around the chamber and leaving it for long stretches at a time. All in defiance of the rules they swore to follow. And once again, Chief Justice John Roberts might as well have been a potted plant in response.

They all complain that they're not hearing anything new. They're all saying it verbatim, repeatedly and uniformly, almost as if they have nothing new to say. But given that they're also not paying attention, perhaps they're missing the new news.

What they do selectively hear, however, is horribly offensive to their very delicate ears. Collins tattled to Chief Justice Roberts that Rep. Jerry Nadler had suggested that Republicans were abetting a cover-up—that one deeply offended Lisa Murkowski, too.

They were even offended by Rep. Adam Schiff's remarkable closing remarks Thursday night: "Because in America, right matters. Truth matters. If not, no Constitution can protect us. If not, we are lost." Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming was deeply offended on behalf of all his Republican colleagues who had to sit through Schiff's uncomfortable truths, none of which any Republican will really contest—they just think it doesn't matter.

Oh, the humanity. By the way, not a single one of them publicly chastised their colleague Blackburn for her gross attack on Lt. Col. Vindman's patriotism.

Tennessee senator tries to burn Adam Schiff, but Twitter roasts her almost instantly

Sen. Marsha Blackburn is well-known around these here parts for being a pretty detestable human being. Then again, detestability seems to be the only qualification for being a Republican senator these days. And Blackburn has indeed been doing her job as a Republican senator: groveling at the feet of Donald Trump while dismantling our democratic processes. 

As Donald Trump’s impeachment trial goes into another day, Republicans in the Senate are spending their time not paying attention with the deck already loaded, the fix already in. But having all of this obdurate criminality in place does not stop Republicans like Marsha Blackburn from being dumb as dirt. The senator from Tennessee decided to go and give her two cents, in a classic Republican attempt at gotcha-style politics:


Sorry! I should have warned you that your mind might be blown clear from your skull by Blackburn’s wit and wisdom. The Twitterverse very quickly realized that Marsha Blackburn had said something—something too stupid and unbelievably hubristic to let lie.


But people were also pissed.


Damn. “Guttersnipe” sounds awful.



And it didn’t stop. In fact, the ratio just took off on Sen. Blackburn



Some literature for Blackburn to read while she doesn’t fulfill her sworn oath on the Senate floor:


And some more reminders:


Before you knew it, #Marsha was trending. And not because The Brady Bunch is getting a reboot.


That Tweet is to remind people that Sen. Marsha Blackburn is trash.


And finally:


Republicans play the ‘Obama did it too’ card on military assistance—and of course they’re lying

The first statements from Donald Trump’s defense team in the impeachment trial in the Senate on Tuesday included multiple big, instantly refutable lies, such as White House counsel Pat Cipollone’s claim that no Republicans were allowed into the “secret hearings” held in the House, or that Republicans weren’t allowed to call witnesses. But among a laundry list of talking points disconnected from reality, there was one that stood out: the claim that Trump did nothing wrong because President Barack Obama also withheld funds, from Egypt. 

Obama did withhold funds. He did so when, between the time Congress allocated funds and the time the Pentagon approved their release, military forces in Egypt mounted a coup. Not only were those funds not approved to be sent, not only did Obama notify Congress that they were being withheld, but members of Congress insisted that the funds not be turned over. That included pleas from Sen. Lindsey Graham to hold the funds. But as the House team continues to lay out its case, and Republicans wait for their chance, it appears that “Obama did it too” is going to be the go-to argument from Team Trump.

Overnight, Sen. Marsha Blackburn tweeted out a list of supposed holds placed by Obama (not all of which appear to be real). Then Sen. John Cornyn joined in, both on Twitter and in an interview, to expand the claim not just to Obama, but to administrations going back to Nixon. Neither Cornyn nor Blackburn claimed that Obama withheld funds so that he could twist the arm of a foreign leader so he’d give him a personal political advantage. So far. But it seems likely that they will, as the Obama-did-it-too meme becomes the latest attempt from the Republican side to distract from Trump’s crimes.

Of course, there’s more that Blackburn and Cornyn are ignoring than just the lack of a quid pro quo in any of Obama’s foreign assistance delays. Every aid package has qualifications that have to be met in order for the aid to be approved. Legislation authorizing foreign assistance routinely includes review by agencies that have to sign off that goals have been achieved in advance of the release. In the case of 2019 assistance to Ukraine, that responsibility was assigned to the Department of Defense, which completed its review on May 23 with a conclusion that Ukraine had met required goals on both fighting corruption and promoting democracy.

What happened in past delays was often simply that the certifying agencies found issues, or that, as in the case of Egypt, conditions on the ground had changed significantly between the time the legislation was passed and the time the funds were slated to go out. In some cases, the result was further review before funds were eventually released. In some cases, the result was a more prolonged delay: Egypt didn’t get any funds from the U.S. for almost two years, until the State Department was satisfied that the new president wasn’t just a puppet of the military. In every case, both Congress and the public were aware not just that there was a delay, but of the reasons for the delay. 

In the case of Trump and Ukraine, the assistance was approved by the Department of Defense just two months after the election of a new Ukrainian president who ran on an anticorruption platform. Then Trump placed a hold on the funds in secret. He provided no reason for the delay. The DOD was instructed not to talk about the delay. Congress was not informed of the delay. No reason was ever given for the delay. And the delay remained in place until 1) the delay wasn’t just obvious, but also the subject of public articles, 2) multiple senators contacted the White House expressing concern, 3) three separate House investigations were opened, 4) the White House counsel informed Trump that the whistleblower report was circulating, and 5) the intelligence community inspector general determined that the whistleblower report was urgent. Then Trump released the funds, and Republicans began to make up explanations for the hold—explanations that shifted on a nearly daily basis during the House impeachment hearings.

Other foreign assistance packages have been delayed. For good reasons. With notification of and cooperation from Congress.

Try again, Republicans. Try again.