This past week, the Democratic media went ballistic over Republican congressmen and women “invading” the secret basement room where Adam B. Schiff is stirring his pot o’ impeachment soup.
Washington Post fake conservative Jennifer Rubin’s Oct. 23rd column was titled “So much for ‘due process’: Republican mob crashes secure hearing room.”
Yes, they did, last Wednesday, showing that, at last, some of the Trump backbone has been transplanted.
Mr. Schiff, a California Democrat who chairs the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, had been conducting star chamber hearings on Ukraine in a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF).
He seems to think he’s starring in an episode of “24.” Remember, though, that along with hero Jack Bauer, the Fox series featured lots of weasels.
Although some Republicans have been able to cross-examine witnesses, Mr. Schiff has been leaking only nuggets damaging to the president. It’s part of a pattern.
On Sept. 26, he summarized a transcript of President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky this way: “It reads like a classic organized crime shakedown. … I’m going to say this only seven times so you better listen good. I want you to make up dirt on my political opponent, understand. Lots of it.”
The transcript shows none of this. Mr. Schiff made it up. Even the liberal FactCheck.org said his account was “not accurate.” Later in the same hearing, Mr. Schiff joked that it was just a parody.
The Republican legislators’ “invasion” of the SCIF is reminiscent of the forceful Republican response in the 2000 presidential election in Florida.
Had people sat on their hands, Al Gore would have become our 43rd president instead of George W. Bush. In short order, we probably would have been riding unicycles or skateboards over to the nearest vegan McDonald’s while Al kept an eye on us from Air Force One.
Mr. Gore had first conceded on Election Night, but then rescinded it, claiming a Florida recount was needed. Over the next month, as the nation watched spellbound, lawyers for both sides maneuvered.
By Nov. 10, election officials calculated that Mr. Bush had about a 400-vote lead out of almost 6 million cast. When it’s that close, Florida requires a full machine recount in all 67 counties.
The Florida Supreme Court ordered a manual recount in four Democrat-heavy counties: Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Volusia, and the drama escalated. Attorneys for Mr. Bush tried to stop the recount, arguing that it violated equal protection, since the other 63 Florida counties, including Republican-heavy ones, would not get the same scrutiny.
On Dec. 12 — more than a month after the election — the U.S. Supreme Court ruled, 5-4, that the manual recount in the four counties violated the principle that “all votes must be treated equally.” George W. Bush was declared the winner — by 537 votes.
Philip Hughes, who served in the Reagan administration in several posts, was called to Florida to help prevent ballot tampering.
“My first task was to organize shifts of local volunteers to watch the warehouse [in Fort Lauderdale] overnight — to note any unusual or suspicious activity,” he was quoted in a lengthy article for the Association for Diplomatic Studies & Training.
Unions had bused in volunteers by the dozens, leaving some sorting tables without a Republican counterpart, he said. After frantic calls, more Republican watchers were found.
Mr. Hughes said that he sat one day in the Broward County counting room next to a woman who represented the Democrats. On a later day, she came in posing as a Republican, and fled after he spotted her. “Later that afternoon, the [Republican] team fingered another such culprit — this time a guy — pulling the same stunt,” he said.
In the most populous county, Miami-Dade, Democrats refused to let Republican observers in at all.
That’s when the “Brooks Brothers Riot” took place. Over Thanksgiving weekend, a group of young, well-dressed Republican recount volunteers stormed the Miami-Dade center, pounding on the locked doors and yelling “Let us in! Let us in!”
Officials had squirreled away the disputed ballots into back rooms with no observers present. If they had “found” enough Gore votes, it might have turned the tide the way the “found” votes in multiple recounts in 2008 gave Al Franken a Minnesota U.S. Senate seat by 312 votes. But cameras were rolling in Miami, the doors opened, and the count resumed with both parties’ volunteers. Many Democrats still claim the election was “stolen,” but a study by the Miami Herald and USA Today reported that Mr. Bush would have widened his victory to a 1,665-vote margin if the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court had continued.
Likewise, a media consortium that included The New York Times, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, CNN and AP also concluded that Mr. Bush won.
So, good for the Republican observers who hung in there in 2000, and good for the congressmen this past week who exposed Mr. Schiff’s shifty “due process.”
Perhaps we might even see actual transcripts someday. Given the gravity of the situation, that doesn’t seem too much to ask.
In fact, it’s worth being called a “mob.”
• Robert Knight is a contributor to The Washington Times.