One of the best and worst aspects of retirement is that one has the time to spend a day or a week watching televised coverage of the Congressional Impeachment Inquiry. Kat and I have seen at least 95% of the hearings of the Intelligence and Judiciary to date (Dec 6, 2019). From everything that we have seen and heard, multiple highly credible witnesses have testified, under oath, that there was an organized effort to force Ukraine to publicly announce an inquiry into The Bidens for political dirt in return for release of $391 million of appropriated military aid and an Oval Office visit. We have read “the transcript” (redacted of course) which includes “Do us a favor though…”, and we all now know that the verbatim recording of this call has been hidden on a top secret server, because the Administration wanted it to remain secret. We know from Sondland’s testimony that Mulvaney, Giuliani, Pompeo were all “in the loop”. And we know from Sondland and David Holmes that Trump cared nothing about Ukraine, but was really interested in getting that Biden investigation. We know John Bolton sent Fiona Hill to tell the White House lawyers “I’m not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.” That’s a lot of evidence, none of which has been effectively rebutted. This is highly depressing but the Republican response has been absolutely infuriating: their tools have been personal attacks, and more outright lies than a freight train can haul.
We heard three prominent Constitutional law professors testify that multiple Trump actions are impeachable, and altogether they make Nixon’s misdeeds look petty. And yet not one single Republican Senator or Congressman has given any hint of considering Trump’s wrongdoing. The president looks likely to skate to an acquittal in Moscow Mitch’s Senate trial, and it may seem that all of this went for naught. But long ago there was a high-profile murder trial in which a famous retired football player was acquitted. Even so, the world knew O. J. did the crime. That’s where we are now.
You should be mad as hell at this point. Either for our dragged-through-the-mud democracy, or at me for doubting the man wearing orange makeup who is on record with over 15,000 recorded or tweeted lies since taking office.
Now you can assuage that anger at a cinema near you. It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is nothing short of wonderful, and is exactly what we all need in these uncivil times. Tom Hanks makes a highly convincing Fred Rogers while we learn interesting things about life on the set, his family, his private thoughts and anger, and yes, that Mr. Rogers really was that nice in real life. It’s almost sappy sweet, without disguise, and you watch everything progress to the fairy tale ending that makes perfect sense because you saw it coming.
Kat and I walked out of the theatre into late afternoon sunshine. We wore big smiles, and for several days thought no more of the Inquiry. Then a Washington Post story broke with news that Trump and Giuliani participate in so many unencrypted phone calls that “The Russians likely know more about those Ukraine phone calls than the House impeachment investigators.”