The Observer promises it will no longer act as if things can't get any stupider, no matter how stupid they get. We've been chastened, having watched East Texas Rep. Louie Gohmert storm a secure deposition room at the U.S. Capitol last week and initiating one of the dumbest political standoffs in American history, only to see him take to the House floor Thursday and invoke the specter of civil war to defend President Donald Trump.
"Never in the history of this country have we had such gross unfairness that one party would put armed guards with guns to prevent the duly authorized people from being able to hear the witnesses and see them for themselves," Gohmert said, after a House vote advancing the impeachment inquiry into the president.
"They want it to be a one-sided, non-due process sham court. It's about to push this country to a civil war if they were to get their wishes, and if there was one thing I don't want to see in my lifetime, I don't want to ever have participation in, it's a civil war. Some historian — I don't remember who — said, 'Guns are only involved in the last phase of a civil war.' What's gone on here is not protecting the Constitution. It's not protecting the institutions, it's not protecting this little experiment in self-government, no. What it has done is put it all at risk."
It should probably go without saying, but we'll say it: If Gohmert doesn't want to participate in civil war, he should stop tap-dancing around starting one.
Impeachment is a process enshrined in the Constitution as a backstop against a president or other federal official who fails to live up to his or her oath of office. Gohmert might disagree with House Democrats and a growing segment of the American public about whether President Trump has stepped up to or stepped over that line, but this is what we do, whether it's 1868, 1974, 1998 or 2019.
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More than 100 members of the House, dozens of Democrats and Republicans, sit on the three committees authorized to listen to the secure depositions being given by those involved with the president's allegedly threatening to withhold foreign aid to induce Ukraine into investigating one of his chief political rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden.
The depositions are being taken in secret — as many were during the Benghazi investigation, which Gohmert felt much differently about — in order to maintain the security of the witnesses giving the depositions and the integrity of the process.
For Gohmert, that's enough to implicitly accuse his fellow members of Congress of trying to start a civil war.
The impeachment process is just getting started, and there are miles to go before America can sleep. Gohmert is here to make sure they are as excruciating as possible.