One of the things that’s great about Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz is that he always plays offense, not defense. His latest idea is a way that the Republican-controlled House can give Trump some immunity, blocking the indictments that the DOJ’s Jack Smith has brought against him in a clear case of election interference. I love how clever the idea is, but we all know that the House leadership will not act. Oliver Cromwell would have understood.
So, here’s the idea, which Gaetz outlined during an interview with Charlie Kirk:
I’m worried that too many of my Republican colleagues in Congress are infected with the same loser mentality that infected Congress in the early days of the Mueller investigation.
This isn’t complicated. If House Republicans take action, Jack Smith could be the first prosecutor… pic.twitter.com/DlRrkn78mK
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) August 8, 2023
Gaetz’s starting principle is that Congress does not have to be passive, but if it is passive, it will have frittered away any power it has. As I like to say, winners never quit, and quitters never win—and Republicans are quitters.
To begin with, Gaetz says that the House should demand that Smith appear before it and “give a transcribed interview to the House Judiciary Committee in the next 15 days” or face a subpoena and, if he ignores the subpoena, Congress should hold him in criminal contempt. Then, if Merrick Garland refuses to support the contempt referral, Garland will have made himself vulnerable to impeachment—and of course, Smith will be going after Trump when he himself is in criminal contempt of Congress. As Gaetz says, those optics wouldn’t be good.
The real point—and Gaetz is right about this—is that the optics currently are on the Democrats’ side. As Gaetz says, “if we grant the premise, Charlie, that this is an ongoing legitimate matter, then it just builds into it that it is law enforcement activity and not election interference.” Bingo!
If you refocus the case as election interference, says Gaetz, Congress suddenly starts to have power that it can put into play. What it should do is summon President Trump to testify before Congress because doing so grants him some immunity:
There’s different forms of immunity that take place at the committee level, subcommittee level. In some instances, for full immunity, you have to have more of a super-majority vote. But if you had a super-majority vote of a committee… Like Speaker McCarthy could set up a Select Committee tomorrow that could bring Trump in and immunize him, and then we could proceed with the very legitimate investigative work that we’re doing of the Bidens and the corrupt DOJ.
The problem, of course, is the flaccid House leadership. Gaetz knows this, too, noting that, with everything going on, there’s no reason for the House to have closed shop for the summer, yet that’s what it did.
But getting back to Gaetz’s plan, if Trump tells everything he knows, the House can grant him complete immunity as to those topics.
And so, for example, if President Trump came in and said, ‘I’m here to give you testimony about the witch hunt, the abuse of criminal process that Congress has a legitimate oversight equities to resolve,’ and if he were to say things to us, we could immunize him for that conduct that he were to discuss.
Moreover, any subcommittee could do so, such as the crime subcommittee that Andy Biggs is chairing, which oversees some DOJ activities. The point is that, if Trump becomes a whistleblower about DOJ corruption, spilling the beans about what he knows, the DOJ can no longer persecute him. This is not blanket immunity; it’s immunity for that subject matter about which Trump would testify.
There’s more, and I won’t transcribe it all here. I’ll just say that, if the above piques your interest, take ten minutes to listen to Gaetz’s idea. I like it because, not only will it protect Trump, but it might finally reveal to the American people the true scope of DOJ and FBI corruption, spoken from one who was once the DOJ’s boss and now is its victim.
Having said that, I know it won’t happen. Why do I know that? Because our current Congress, subject to a few exceptions, is every bit as corrupt as the Rump Parliament that Oliver Cromwell described in 1653 when he dismissed it. You will enjoy reading the speech he made then and, sadly, find it applicable to the United States Congress in 2023:
It is high time for me to put an end to your sitting in this place, which you have dishonored by your contempt of all virtue and defiled by your practice of every vice.
Ye are a factious crew and enemies to all good government.
Ye are a pack of mercenary wretches and would, like Esau, sell your country for a mess of pottage and, like Judas, betray your God for a few pieces of money.
Is there a single virtue now remaining amongst you? Is there one vice you do not possess?
Ye have no more religion than my horse. Gold is your God. Which of you have not bartered your conscience for bribes? Is there a man amongst you that has the least care for the good of the Commonwealth?
Ye sordid prostitutes, have you not defiled this sacred place and turned the Lord’s temple into a den of thieves by your immoral principles and wicked practices?
Ye are grown intolerably odious to the whole nation. You were deputed here by the people to get grievances redressed, are yourselves become the greatest grievance.
Your country, therefore, calls upon me to cleanse this Augean stable by putting a final period to your iniquitous proceedings in this House and which, by God’s help and the strength he has given me, I am now come to do.
I command ye, therefore, upon the peril of your lives, to depart immediately out of this place.
Go, get you out! Make haste! Ye venal slaves be gone! So! Take away that shining bauble there and lock up the doors.
In the name of God, go!
I recommend this video, as well, which gives you a sense of Parliament’s corruption at the time Cromwell made his speech:
Everything old is new again.
(As an aside, have you noticed that the claims that Gaetz was running underage women across state borders have vanished? It was all about the headlines, never the facts.)
Image: Rep. Matt Gaetz. Twitter screen grab.