Donald Trump has hardly been shy about attacking the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry into his alleged scheme to extort a political favour from Ukraine, branding it a "scam", a "witch hunt" and even just plain old "bullshit".

He has also been aided and abetted throughout by his friends in the Republican Party, who have fought the president's corner long past the point of reason and done untold damage to their own credibility in the process.

Trump's allies in the GOP have made daily appearances on Fox News to criticise the investigation, push wild conspiracy theories and demand the unmasking of the CIA whistleblower whose initial complaint about the president's call with Volodymyr Zelensky got the ball rolling.

But Republican attempts to make a mockery of the inquiry and turn it into a media circus haven't stopped there.

Matt Gaetz gets himself kicked out of deposition he wasn't entitled to attend

When the House Intelligence Committee began interviewing witnesses behind closed doors on Capitol Hill, Florida congressman Matt Gaetz swiftly got himself kicked out of a private hearing at which the National Security Council's Russia expert Dr Fiona Hill was giving a deposition.

He was not entitled to be in the session as he is not a member of the committee, but that didn't stop Gaetz winning headlines by claiming he was being silenced by the panel's chairman Adam Schiff, who was running a "kangaroo court", he argued, apparently not understanding that marsupials do not actually stage trials or answer to a court of law.

He wasn't done there...

Mob 'storms' secure briefing room, delays hearing for five hours and orders pizza

Gaetz was soon back, this time leading a Western-style posse of some two dozen Republican goons to "storm" the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility where another expert - deputy assistant secretary of defence for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian affairs Laura Cooper - was giving evidence on 23 October.

The GOP mob broke House rules by barging into the chamber with mobile phones and occupied it for five hours, preventing the interview going ahead and even ordering in pizza as they revelled in the chaos.

Congressman Steve Scalise justified the disruption by claiming Schiff was running a "Soviet-style" probe. He later brandished a sign carrying the same preposterous statement when the House of Representatives formally voted on the rules of engagement for the public phase of the inquiry on Halloween.

Congressmen grandstand in desperate bid to discredit witnesses

When Schiff's committee did begin interviewing their impeachment witnesses live on TV, members of congress like Elise Stefanik worked hard to make a name for themselves by aggressively challenging the process and barracking the experts.

Their combative line of questioning for the likes of Bill Taylor, Lt Col Alexander Vindman, Marie Yovanovitch and Gordon Sondland hoped to undermine the credibility of the diplomats and was clearly designed to please the president and make for pithy show reels, ideal for running on Fox.

Ranking Republican Devin Nunes and committee member Jim Jordan were among the most hostile, with Jordan memorably setting himself up for a fall when he demanded the whistleblower - "the person who started it all" - be called to appear.

"I'd be glad to have the person who 'started it all' come in and testify... President Trump is welcome to take a seat right there!" Vermont Democrat Peter Welch responded, only half-joking.

Trump's inner circle complain hearings too 'boring' to watch

Looking on, the likes of Eric Trump, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham and Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale all complained the hearings were "boring" on Twitter - and got rightly roasted for it.

Senior party members like South Carolina senator Lindsey Graham meanwhile continued to take the fight to Fox, with Graham making the extraordinary argument to reporters that Trump's inner circle was "incapable" of executing a plot as ingenious as the quid pro quo caper.

Ranking Republican groans hearing room too cold and chairs too hard

By the time the House Judiciary Committee took over proceedings, ranking Republican Doug Collins was complaining the room was too cold and that his chair was uncomfortable, while committee member Louie Gohmert took exception to the loud bang made when chairman Jerrold Nadler slammed down his gavel.

Gaetz - yet again - also attempted to whip up a nothing controversy when Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan made a harmless pun on the name of Trump's 13-year-old son Barron, complaining that the joke made her "look mean".

InfoWars protester screams at House Judiciary chairman, gets thrown out

The inquiry's final hearing to review the evidence saw an outsider join in the fun.

Pro-Trump protester Owen Shroyer - a host on Alex Jones' rabid conspiracy site InfoWars who recently called for Barack Obama to be lynched - burst into the Longworth Office Building to rant at Chairman Nadler as the committee's evidence was under review.

"Americans are sick of your impeachment scam! Trump is innocent!" he shouted, filming himself on Periscope as he was removed by police.

Assuming the House does vote to impeach Trump before Christmas, the president will be put on trial in the Republican-held Senate in January when things promise to get even more hysterical.

Keep reading...Show less
Please log in or register to upvote this article
The Conversation (0)