New York (CNN Business)A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.
“This,” Carl Bernstein said on “Anderson Cooper 360” Monday night, “is the most important moment for the Republican Party since the censure of Joe McCarthy and the impeachment and resignation of Richard Nixon, in which Republicans became great heroes and patriots.”
Bernstein then criticized Mitch McConnell’s organizing resolution for President Trump’s impeachment trial. “We’re looking at ‘Midnight Mitch’ and the so-called world’s greatest deliberative body really embracing a cover-up that is there for all to see,” Bernstein said. “That’s what this is about. It’s about preventing information from becoming known and seen by the American public.”
Bernstein argued that the Republicans have “impeded the facts from the beginning,” and are continuing to do so.
On MSNBC, Neal Katyal made a similar point on Rachel Maddow’s show: “The McConnell rules announced tonight have the same basic theme, which is, ‘How do we hide as much information as possible from the American people?'”
At the same time over on Fox News, Sean Hannity provided cover for McConnell and Trump and supplied talking points for any other Republicans accused of a cover-up. Accompanied by graphics that said things like “DEMS VS. THE CONSTITUTION,” Hannity said the articles of impeachment “are an affront to our entire constitutional system.”
When he wasn’t quoting Trump’s lawyers word-for-word, Hannity was mirroring their arguments.
Notably, parts of his monologue were directed at members of the GOP. He mocked Republicans who dare take the charges seriously.
“No Republican senator — listen, voters out there, you elect these people — should give this one iota of legitimacy,” he said.
Several GOP senators, like Mitt Romney of Utah, have done that. Hannity — who is known to be very close to Trump — seemed to be telling wayward senators to get in single-file line behind the president.
Hannity then addressed GOP voters: “It is not your Republican senators’ job to bolster what are pathetically weak articles of impeachment from the House. It is not your senators’ duty to call witnesses that the House didn’t even subpoena. It is not your representative’s responsibility to investigative evidence the House neglected to examine. There are no do-overs. The Senate doesn’t get to take on the constitutional role of the House. Senators review the articles of impeachment — that’s it — as delivered by the House.”
Hannity’s message was crystal clear: New witnesses shouldn’t be allowed. New evidence shouldn’t be introduced. He was saying, in essence, let’s all allow Trump to get back to work.
“288 days” until the election, he commented, “but who’s counting?”