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In a Swing District, Issa Feels the Heat, and Sees the Light


Darrell Issa is a really nasty Republican congressman from California’s 49th district, down in oh, so conservative Orange County, home to lots of retired military types. He’s a hatchet man who abuses his power to go after Democrats just for the hell of it. He bankrolled the recall of Gov. Gray Davis, and is also said to be the richest person in the Congress because he invented that noisy car alarm, the Viper–hey, has it ever awoken you at night? Later, as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, he was the inquisitor-in-chief of Hillary Clinton, a relentless Torquemada, who pursued, in the most vengeful way, her non-existent “crimes,” most notoriously Benghazi. In the most hyperbolic language imaginable, he called her “a criminal involved in a criminal enterprise.”

Never mind that Hillary was never found by a single investigative body to have done anything wrong—not Issa’s witch-hunting Oversight Committee, not the Federal Bureau of Investigation, not the State Department, and not the House Government Reform Committee, or the Judiciary Committee, or the Foreign Affairs Committee, or the Armed Services Committee, or the Intelligence Committee, or any of the Senate committees that investigated her—yes, they all had hearings. Not that it mattered to the “jail her” wackos.

Issa hated Hillary, he hated Obama, and he was ambitious as hell, making him the poster boy of the conspiratorialist, angry white male wing of the Republican Party.

(By the way, do you know whom Issa made that “Hillary is a criminal in a criminal enterprise” crack to? None other Stephen K. Bannon, when the latter was a right wing talk show ranter at Breitbart.)

Well, the other day, Issa’s Republican constituents invited him to a town hall which, predictably, he was afraid to attend. So they held one anyway. Earlier that same day, however, Issa could not avoid encountering a smaller crowd, described in a local newspaper, the OC Weekly, as “about 75 Trump enthusiasts.” Do you suppose these pro-Trumpers were shouting their approval of the new President? Hardly. A huge crowd reaction burst out in response to this question: ‘When are you going to investigate Trump and Russia? Trump and taxes?’” That was what was reported in the paper. In addition, I heard on T.V. a man ask Issa a very telling question. “You spent millions on Benghazi,” the angry man yelled. “How about spending something on investigating Trump’s ties to Russia?”

Rep. Issa did not deign to reply to the Republicans who voted for him. But, within 48 hours, a most interesting thing occurred: Issa called for the appointment of a special Federal prosecutor to investigate Trump’s ties to Putin and Russia.

Not only did Issa make that demand, he went a step further and directly implied that Trump’s Attorney-General is unfit to lead such a probe. “You cannot have somebody, a friend of mine, Jeff Sessions, who was on the campaign and is an appointee” lead it.

What are we to make of this sudden turnaround? After all, Issa goes after Democrats, not his fellow Republicans. Well, to answer that, you need look no further than the 2016 election results, in which Issa was re-elected by the narrowest of margins, squeaking out a 50.3% to 49.7% victory. In this volatile political atmosphere, Democrats earlier this month announced a concerted effort to retire Issa next year, using an “unprecedented DCCC investment” in his district that will be used to hire “full-time, local organizers…to work with constituents.”

Issa is feeling the heat. Although he’s no longer chair of the House Oversight Committee, he’s still a member of the Judiciary Committee, which perhaps not so coincidentally is in charge of the impeachment of Federal officials, including the President. We don’t know what, if anything, went on between Trump, his people and Putin and his people. But until and unless there’s a fair and unfettered investigation into the matter, we’ll have to assume the worst. It’s why more and more people are thinking that the reason Trump is waging war on the press is because he’s trying to inoculate himself when the New York Times and CNN report the  truth. Meanwhile, Trump, through Sean Spicer, is pushing back against the idea of a special prosecutor. “For what?” Spicer asked yesterday. “For what?” Because this President may have committed impeachable offenses.

  1. Well done article. Trump is in the process of becoming a dictator with his war on the press and people who are non-white. The Rust Belt just cannot see what he is doing. Shame.

  2. Dear Michael Beltran, thanks for weighing in. I’m not all that worried about trump becoming a dictator because he faces a very powerful backlash, in the form of The Resistance, which includes the better media (New York Times, NBC News, CNN, Washington Post, etc.). He’ll try to get away with as much as he can, but we won’t let him. Meanwhile, the Russia connection is a ticking time bomb for him.

  3. Rick Seguin says:

    The key is to keep the pressure on for an Independent Prosecutor or an Independent Commission to investigate the Russia thing and the Trump connection. The chairs of the House and Senate Intel Committees (Mssrs Nunez and Burr) already seem to be in the bag for Trump, spinning it as a “closed issue” even before the witnesses testify etc. This after the WH contacted them privately leaned on them to assist. How can we expect an independent inquiry with this going on.

    My Congressman’s web page and face book page are flooded with demands for an Independent Commission. It’s the #2 issues after the ACA. Keep sending your Congressman and Senators pointed letters and e-mails. It’s working !

    No proof yet mind you but the MI-6 dossier of last year and related leaks are pointing to the Russian Oligarchs looking for assistance in laundering $$ offshore and getting the blackmail goods on key targets (guess who) to assist. Let’s see if there’s any fire to go with that smoke.

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