Election 2024: The Nihilism is the Point

Some days are just more eventful than others…

In addition to the D.C. Circuit news mentioned in the last post, it was a busy day on Capitol Hill, if by “busy” you mean “the Republicans repeatedly demonstrated their inherent nihilism and legislative incompetence.” The New York Times’ Catie Edmondson summed matters up succinctly:

To recap what has happened on Capitol Hill today: Republicans torpedoed a bipartisan border bill they demanded, leaving the fate of aid to Ukraine and Israel in peril. House Republicans tried to pre-empt that deal by proposing a standalone aid bill to Israel but were unable to pass it, with opposition from Democrats and their right-wing flank. And, finally, they failed to impeach the homeland security secretary after promising to do so for months.

The effort to impeach DHS Secretary Mayorkas has been percolating for a while now, although it is completely unclear to me what “high crimes and misdemeanors” he is alleged to have committed; the Republicans’ criticism of him appears to be entirely policy driven. No sitting Cabinet Secretary has ever been impeached in the history of the United States, but the House came very close today: The vote was 215-215, before one Republican switched from yes to no in order to preserve the ability to file a motion to reconsider. Representative Scalise, the second-ranking Republican, missed today’s vote due to his health; it is possible the Republicans will try again tomorrow if Scalise can make it to the floor.

As for the torpedoing of a border security bill negotiated primarily by the very conservative Senator Lankford and seemingly tilted heavily towards traditional Republican priorities: When Trump comes out against a bill, that’s good enough for most of today’s Republicans. Of course, it would seem Trump’s opposition is entirely driven by his desire to campaign against Biden on border security issues. Why actually attempt to fix an issue that you’ve been claiming is a national emergency, when we’re only nine months away from an election? Sigh.

There were also developments of sorts on the Trump Org fraud trial today. Earlier this week I had referenced speculation that Judge Engoron’s delays in making his decision were potentially related to news that Trump’s former CFO is reportedly in plea talks over having perjured himself on the witness stand during that trial. Today an email from Engoron to both sides’ attorneys was made public, asking for clarification by tomorrow as to what’s going on, and raising the possibility that Engoron may use this to discredit all of Weisselberg’s testimony under the legal principle falsis in uno.

Reactions are coming in to this morning’s D.C. Circuit ruling. George Conway has an article in The Atlantic that is very complimentary of the per curiam opinion: “It’s not that often that you get a unanimous 57-page decision on novel questions of law in 28 days. And you almost never get an opinion of this quality in such a short period of time.” He then goes on to suggest that SCOTUS ought to pass on taking up Trump’s appeal:

The strength of today’s opinion makes it far more likely that the Court will do …. nothing. Any court–including the Supreme Court–would have a tough time writing a better opinion than the one the D.C. Circuit published today. The best course of action would be for the Supreme Court to deny a stay, and to deny review altogether, in a matter of days. And that could mean a trial in United States v. Trump no later than early summer.