Seth Abramson @SethAbramson @Newsweek columnist. NYT bestselling author of Proof of Collusion (Simon & Schuster) and Proof of Conspiracy (Macmillan, bit.ly/2kP6FkZ). Professor. Lawyer. Oct. 23, 2019 2 min read

Many are confused as to what's happening, so I'll clarify: BIPARTISAN hearings are being held with members of multiple House committees. Scalise is alleging Schiff is "hiding" something not because the GOP isn't in the room, but because the "right" Republicans aren't in the room.

1/ Historians and legal analysts confirm the impeachment inquiry is being conducted consistent—in all respects—with historical practice, and moreover, that it's bipartisan. Today's events are planned—staged—public relations events intended to falsely discredit standard processes.

2/ Recent news articles confirm the president has been privately pushing Republicans to stage public protests against the impeachment inquiry. This appears to be the result of that private pushing—behind which has always been the implicit threat that Trump will punish dissenters.

3/ Those wondering whether the actions taken today can be considered crimes are asking a reasonable question, though the answer is likely no. But there's no doubt the GOP wishes to not have these witnesses testify, which is why its leader has attempted to *forbid* such testimony.

4/ The effect of the "Brooks Brothers riot" in 2000—a fake protest comprising exclusively GOP operatives—was to intimidate Florida government officials from counting ballots. The intent of this storming of a secure facility seems likewise to be to intimidate government officials.

5/ The "Brooks Brother riot" is now infamous, as it helped overturn—through arguably criminal intimidation and trespassing—a Florida Supreme Court ruling. Media failed to decry it sufficiently at the time—I expect the same mistake won't be made today with this storming of a SCIF.

6/ In retrospect, the GOP operatives posing as Florida voters in Miami-Dade county in 2000 should've been arrested—and possibly indicted on federal charges. That won't and can't happen here, but security must be increased—and those who lay a hand on House guards must be arrested.

7/ It is to Schiff's credit that he never imagined Republicans would forcibly storm an American SCIF in violation of House rules and national security protocols. I hope and assume he won't make the mistake of having too little security outside such classified hearings ever again.

8/ Historians/analysts should made clear to Americans that impeachment is a constitutional process that's not about "undoing" an election—as *by definition* the conduct considered in an impeachment inquiry *post-dates* Election Day and/or voters' knowledge of the relevant events.

9/ There can be few public acts taken by elected representatives of either party that are more dangerous than describing a 100% constitutional process as a coup or an attempt to undo an election. That language is—in the mouth of a politician—deliberate incitement to civil unrest.

10/ In other words, today's events—while likely not chargeable as crimes—are walking up to that line, and should be *deeply* alarming to all Americans. Elected representatives of *both* parties must uphold the rule of law, even and *especially* when it's politically inconvenient.


You can follow @SethAbramson.



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