The Democrats opened the next phase of their drive to impeachment today with a hearing in the House Judiciary Committee. Strangely, they began not with fact witnesses but with a panel of four law professors, three selected by the Democrats and one by the Republicans. What with having a job, and then being on the radio for three hours, I didn’t watch the proceedings. But I followed the event on Twitter, and talked on the radio with callers and with Victor Davis Hanson, who had been watching the show.
It seems to have gone badly for the Democrats. For one thing, it was clear that the Ukraine story is only a pretext, and the Democratic members of the committee, and their “expert” witnesses, have been advocating impeachment for a long time.
BEFORE Pelosi announced the impeachment inquiry on 9/24…
BEFORE the phone call between President Trump and President Zelensky on 7/25…
BEFORE the Mueller hearing in Judiciary on 7/24…
16 Dem members of the Judiciary Committee voted to move forward with impeachment. pic.twitter.com/znawiHPAq5
— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) December 4, 2019
All 3 of the Democrats’ law professors came w/ preconceived biases. Two have said for years that various acts by the President constitute impeachable acts.
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) December 4, 2019
Then there was the obvious fact that the law professors had no relevant information to contribute:
“To all of the witnesses: if you have personal knowledge of a single material fact in the Schiff report, please raise your hand.”
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) December 4, 2019
But the Democrats’ worst witness was Stanford professor Pamela Karlan. Karlan reportedly was considered for a Supreme Court appointment by Barack Obama, but rejected as too radical. She also was reported to be on Hillary Clinton’s list of potential Supreme Court nominees. Karlan came across as an obsessive Trump-hater. She testified that on one occasion, she was walking down a sidewalk and came to a Trump hotel. She said that she crossed the street so she wouldn’t have to pass in front of the Trump property. That’s some objective “expert” witness!
But Karlan’s worst moment came when she dragged the Trumps’ 13-year-old son Barron into a prepared joke:
It could have been worse, but it was bad enough to offend Melania Trump:
A minor child deserves privacy and should be kept out of politics. Pamela Karlan, you should be ashamed of your very angry and obviously biased public pandering, and using a child to do it.
— Melania Trump (@FLOTUS) December 4, 2019
Republicans pounced. (Heh.) Laura Ingraham:
Karlan’s cheap shot invoking Baron Trump’s name just lost them any shred of hope that they’re going to win this impeachment battle in the court of public opinion.
— Laura Ingraham (@IngrahamAngle) December 4, 2019
It was Hugh Hewitt who coined “the Karlan catastrophe”:
The D’s “Karlan catastrophe” is not that it was mean, undignified or a display of boiling rage. It was all that…and more. It was thoroughly authentic, revealing in a split second the venom infusing the hearings and underscoring how little they have to do w/ other than #TDS.
— Hugh Hewitt (@hughhewitt) December 4, 2019
I think he’s right. Karlan’s classless and fundamentally stupid (more on that in a moment) attack is probably the one thing that most people will remember about today’s hearing. Karlan has already apologized for dragging Barron Trump into her testimony, but the damage is done.
A final observation: it is remarkable how often, when Democrats criticize President Trump, they attack him for things he hasn’t done. Karlan’s diatribe is a case in point. Trump obviously has not taken the absurd position, as she claims, that Article II gives him the power to do anything he wants. On the contrary, he has been scrupulous (unlike Barack Obama) in confining his actions to his clear constitutional powers.
The silliness of Karlan’s argument is confirmed by her reference to the Constitution’s “no title of nobility” clause. What’s the point? Her “joke” would have made sense if Trump had tried to make someone a count, or a prince, or a baron. But obviously he has not done, or contemplated, any such thing. The question frequently occurs to me: if Donald Trump is such a terrible president, why do the Democrats so often have to make up things he hasn’t done, about which to attack him?
UPDATE: I just now saw the text of Karlan’s apology. Her derangement continues:
I want to apologize for what I said earlier about the president’s son. It was wrong of me to do that. I wish the president would apologize, obviously, for the things that he’s done that’s wrong, but I do regret having said that.
I wonder whether the Democrats understand what a bad look this is.