Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. Analyses @BBC. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Conspiracy ( Next: Citizen Journalist (Macmillan). Professor. Attorney. Jun. 21, 2019 3 min read

I'm reading Hope Hicks's "testimony" and it's an embarrassment to the practice of law. It's bedlam—65% to 75% of which is lawyers objecting. And why? Because the White House MADE UP FROM WHOLE CLOTH something that DOES NOT EXIST: "absolute immunity."

The courts will skewer them.

1/ Every day, this administration is making a mockery of a legal system it took us—and before us the British—hundreds of years to develop. The damage Trump is doing not just to the rule of law but to the practice of law and the reputation of the U.S. legal system is incalculable.

2/ The first examination (link below), by Nadler, is just scores and scores of attorney's objections to every question based on a made-up legal concept the White House spitballed. The second examination, by Lee, shows Hicks is *complicit* in this debacle. 

3/ To read this transcript is to see a legal system in chaos—indeed, in danger of collapse. A witness is refusing to answer questions from Congress on the grounds of a privilege no one has asserted and that doesn't actually exist. Hicks's upshot is, "Fuck you, take me to court."

4/ If a person of color, a witness, acted this way in a courtroom, they'd be dragged into custody in handcuffs—direct contempt. But because Hicks is a pretty white kid, she'll face no consequences. Zero. Meanwhile, fat-cat, cigar-chomping GOP lawyers sit guffawing in a back room.

5/ When you testify before Congress—voluntarily or otherwise—you either (yourself) assert a valid privilege to refuse to answer a narrow band or questions or assert some broader privilege like the Fifth Amendment. If those things don't apply, you testify fully/truthfully. Period.

6/ Instead, we see these cocky-ass rich white people who knew they were letting foreign nationals run our elections waltz before Congress with no fear whatsoever that they will ever face any consequences for lying, evading, making up privileges or anything else. It's disgraceful.

7/ When Hicks lied to America and said no one on Trump's campaign ever had any contact with foreign nationals during the whole of the campaign, she knew she was lying—as not only had the campaign had *hundreds* of such contacts, but even a child would've presumed *some* occurred.

8/ She knew there'd been VIP campaign events with foreign nationals. She knew foreign nationals had courted the campaign at the RNC. She knew Trump had met with foreign leaders in meetings set up by his campaign staff. She knew staffers had done interviews with foreign reporters.

9/ There was, simply, *no valuation of the truth* in Hope Hicks's heart for the entirety of the presidential campaign—a revelation of the lack of an ethical code that rarely has consequences in the political sphere but *damn sure* is supposed to have consequences before Congress.

10/ I've said this 1,000 times: while our criminal justice system is (with the poor and nonwhite) often excessively draconian, the fact remains that in those rare instances—with the rich and white—it fails to deliver accountability, it *encourages* ongoing criminality. Like here.

11/ It's not merely our political and media institutions that are failing. Our legal institutions are too. What's astonishing is that those on the right think these eroded traditions and conventions and institutions—things they used to cherish—will never come back to bite *them*.

12/ When the Democrats are again in power and a Democrat does something heinous, how in the world do Republicans think Democrats or anyone will be in a position to say to such Democrats, "No, no, even though you now *know* you can get away with being bad, you have to be *good*."

13/ Once certain of these practices, standards, and principles disappear, they *do not return*. And if Republicans think every Democrat will be an angel once they're back in power and not give two fingers to the GOP and say "Karma's a you-know-what," they need to grow up... fast.

14/ I consider myself a person of principle, yet already it's hard to imagine—for the rest of my life—giving credence to arguments made on "principle" by GOP politicians. Perhaps even by any Trump voter. Democrats will be saying "Remember Trump" to Republicans for a half-century.

15/ I guess my sincere question to Democrats is, "Even if you consider yourself a forgiving person, can you imagine forgiving the Republican Party for what it's doing to America right now, not even primarily on policy—though to a degree that too—but as to lawfulness and decency?"

You can follow @SethAbramson.


Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.

Enjoy Threader? Sign up.

Threader is an independent project created by only two developers. The site gets 500,000+ visits a month and our iOS Twitter client was featured as an App of the Day by Apple. Running this space is expensive and time consuming. If you find Threader useful, please consider supporting us to make it a sustainable project.