Beating Them at Their Own Game

 

It’s not a game. It’s war. And the Democrats think they are entitled to set the rules of engagement. I have a message for Jerry Nadler. No matter what you call this obsession of torturing the Republicans through your Impeachment Hearings or Impeachment Inquiries or Impeachment Interviews, it is an affront to this country and its citizens.

The latest warrior (what else would be an appropriate label?) to take on the House Judiciary Committee was Corey Lewandowski. Now I’m not a fan of Lewandowski; he’s struck me as a hothead and his pushing a reporter (or whatever he did that led to his firing) was unwise, at the very least. But I was impressed with how he handled himself at his hearing yesterday, and essentially controlled the dialogue with the Democrats. Although others have pushed back on the committee in the past (interim Attorney General Matthew Whittaker, for one), Corey is now a private citizen and was savvy enough to know how far he could push the committee. Others who are called up before the Judiciary Committee should take notes. Here’s what I observed:

  • When they insult you—don’t be defensive. When one representative accused him of being “chicken” (a very dignified characterization) when he didn’t communicate a request from President Trump to AG Sessions, he said he’d decided that taking his kids to the beach was a higher priority. He not only pushed back, but he was making a statement about the lack of seriousness in the workings of government.
  • When they try to lecture you—about your lack of disclosure, decorum, or cooperation, interrupt by asking them to express their questions. Let them know that you’d rather not be a victim of their grandstanding and insults.
  • When they attack the President—remind them that the Mueller Report didn’t find any evidence of obstruction or collusion. They already know this truth, but it’s a valuable tactic to remind the viewing public that the hearing is a sideshow.
  • When they ask you to remember a situation described in the Mueller report from months ago—ask them to refer to the page and paragraph. This tactic will not only annoy them, but it will remind everyone that the committee is going over the same information that has already been covered, in an effort to intimidate others they may interview in the future.
  • When they question your motives—remind them that you came willingly to the hearing, and that you’ve come before them several other times. (The fact that it bolstered his image when he may be running for Senate in New Hampshire, was, well, a bonus.)

There are probably many other lessons from Corey Lewandowski’s testimony that we can glean. I believe that it’s important not just to annoy the committee or make their job more difficult, but to demonstrate to citizens that the Democrats’ actions are wasting the money of citizens, are hyper-political, and are preventing a group of Representatives (Democrats and Republicans) from doing the jobs for which they were elected: governing the country.

Then again, they are helping us win this war.

What else have we learned from yesterday’s hearing?

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  1. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Max Ledoux (View Comment):
    In other words, after Lewandoski had successfully accomplished what he had been hired to do. Trump then brought in Manafort, who was an expert on conventions.

    It was the Trump kids who hired Manafort on the basis of stories about his skills at conventions. His convention experience was in the Reagan era. Trump fired him once the stories of his Ukraine adventures got to him,  Rookie mistake by the kids.

    • #61
  2. Max Ledoux Coolidge
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Max Ledoux (View Comment):
    In other words, after Lewandoski had successfully accomplished what he had been hired to do. Trump then brought in Manafort, who was an expert on conventions.

    It was the Trump kids who hired Manafort on the basis of stories about his skills at conventions. His convention experience was in the Reagan era. Trump fired him once the stories of his Ukraine adventures got to him, Rookie mistake by the kids.

     Manafort left the campaign on August 19, after the convention (July 18-21), I.E. when the job he had been hired to perform was completed. 

    I thought the 2016 convention went pretty well. That’s just based on my own experience of watching the 2008, 2012, and 2016 conventions. 

    • #62
  3. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Max Ledoux (View Comment):

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):

    Max Ledoux (View Comment):
    In other words, after Lewandoski had successfully accomplished what he had been hired to do. Trump then brought in Manafort, who was an expert on conventions.

    It was the Trump kids who hired Manafort on the basis of stories about his skills at conventions. His convention experience was in the Reagan era. Trump fired him once the stories of his Ukraine adventures got to him, Rookie mistake by the kids.

    Manafort left the campaign on August 19, after the convention (July 18-21), I.E. when the job he had been hired to perform was completed.

    I thought the 2016 convention went pretty well. That’s just based on my own experience of watching the 2008, 2012, and 2016 conventions.

    It was not a ‘rookie mistake’ to hire Manafort for that role.  He would have passed any vetting done because there was nothing in his lobbying background that would have seemed out of the ordinary for the top echelons of Washington insiders, certainly no more sleazoid than, say, John Podesta.  Previous probes of Manafort had come up empty.  Only the full weight of the special counsel with unlimited resources, an animus against all things Trump and Mueller’s bitterness over having failed to get Manafort earlier brought him down.  

    • #63
  4. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Only the full weight of the special counsel with unlimited resources, an animus against all things Trump and Mueller’s bitterness over having failed to get Manafort earlier brought him down.

    It’s odd that I heard after the fact that “people knew” what he was up to. Did they ignore his actions because so many others were doing the same thing?

    • #64
  5. Old Bathos Moderator
    Old Bathos
    @OldBathos

    Susan Quinn (View Comment):

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Only the full weight of the special counsel with unlimited resources, an animus against all things Trump and Mueller’s bitterness over having failed to get Manafort earlier brought him down.

    It’s odd that I heard after the fact that “people knew” what he was up to. Did they ignore his actions because so many others were doing the same thing?

    The Foreign Agent Registration Act is a joke.  Combine that with arrogant cleverness about characterizing fee income and expenses to avoid taxes done safely in the knowledge that the client (foreign government) is probably not going to be very forthcoming in the event formal inquiries are made.  Also, combine that with broad assertions of attorney-client privilege and you get a fortified gray area that law and tax enforcement figures will invariably not attempt to assault barring some very specific, very solid whistleblowing help from inside–or the unusual circumstance of a Captain Ahab type prosecutor (Mueller) with unlimited resources.

    Everybody knew Manafort had dealings in the Ukraine. Lots of people thought they were odiferous. It looked to some like he was even playing both sides there.  Mueller’s FBI went after him for that stuff and the DOJ refused to file for the kinds of logistical and evidentiary reasons outlined above.  

     

    • #65
  6. MichaelKennedy Inactive
    MichaelKennedy
    @MichaelKennedy

    Old Bathos (View Comment):
    Previous probes of Manafort had come up empty.

    Disagree.  Manafort is/was a sleaze but DC is full of them Gregg Craig, Podesta, etc.

    You are right that the focus was leveled at him because of Trump.

    As far as the convention going well, Cruz refused to support Trump, the nominee. I would not call that well managed.  I know of nothing that Manafort did to manage the convention. Perhaps someone was there and knows better.

    • #66
  7. Max Ledoux Coolidge
    Max Ledoux
    @Max

    MichaelKennedy (View Comment):
    I know of nothing that Manafort did to manage the convention.

    He was the campaign chairman. I doubt he was uninvolved.

    • #67
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