Tuesday, March 21, 2017

House Committee begins search for truth

I listened to part of the House Intelligence Committee hearings yesterday as I drove back from a meeting in Raleigh. For a few minutes, dazed by the monotony of that familiar ribbon of U.S. 264, I imagined I was listening again to the Watergate hearings or the subsequent impeachment hearings.

The partisan divide was in place. Republicans seemed unconcerned about the apparent attempt of Russia to interfere with U.S. elections, just as their predecessors had been unconcerned about apparent illegal activities by the Nixon administration — break-ins, using federal agencies for political purposes, lying under oath, disregard for individual rights and so on. Democrats were more attuned to what they saw as the larger — much larger — issue. While Rep. Trey Gowdy listed the names of Democrats in the Obama administration who might have had access to information that had been linked — a suggested sort of guilt by awareness — some Democrats sought to pull the issues out of the partisan divide.

Rep. Adam Schiff offered a Barbara Jordan-like speech that urged the committee to get to the bottom of the Russian influence in the U.S. election. He saw this attack as a threat to democracy. Jordan, if you don't remember, was the Texas congresswoman who gave a galvanizing speech that laid out the absolute necessity for the House Judiciary Committee to bring a bill of impeachment against a president guilty of utter disdain for moral limits on his power.

Where all this will lead is unclear after one day of hearings, but it is encouraging to see the House tackle the matter and seek the truth, not the "alternative facts" that have twisted the nation's moral compass.

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