Republicans are settling for an incompetence defense

From Washington Monthly — Written by Nancy LeTourneau — Image courtesy of Evan Guest/Flickr

Perhaps it is a matter of expectations, but my reaction to how the Republicans handled themselves during the Comey hearing yesterday is different than what I’m hearing from a lot of people. I never expected them to jump on the impeachment bandwagon—at least not yesterday.

If Republicans accept Comey’s testimony as true (something Trump’s lawyer was obviously not willing to concede), this is what he said:

Trump lies
Trump asked for loyalty from Comey in exchange for keeping his job
Trump asked Comey to drop the Flynn investigation
Trump fired Comey in order to affect the Russia investigation

Since most of us have known these things for about a month now, they have lost some of their punch. But Comey testified to those things publicly under oath yesterday and they are huge bombshells about a sitting president.

In response, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee didn’t attack Comey or his testimony. A few of them tried to divert the conversation and talk about Clinton’s emails and the others settled for what basically amounts to an incompetence defense.

It is also important to note that Speaker Paul Ryan didn’t challenge Comey’s account either. He too embraced the incompetence defense by saying that Trump is merely new to all of this mumbo jumbo about the proper relationship between the president and the FBI.

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