The House of Representatives has taken a powder until after Thanksgiving, which is a good thing, because the members of its majority caucus clearly are in need of warm milk and a nap in a dark room. On Tuesday, we had the cut-rate American Gladiators episode. On Wednesday, some of the stalwart members of the Angry Children’s Caucus threw tantrums at FBI Director Christopher Wray and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. For example, Wray was called upon to discuss some fever-brained nonsense from a backbencher whose bench is not nearly far enough back. Let’s meet Rep. Clay Higgins, Republican of Louisiana. Wray has.
Higgins: It’s far more threatening to our republic if our own government facilitates criminal invasion, and it is incredibly threatening to our citizenry if our government’s highest level of law enforcement organized campaigns of weaponized oppression, harassment, investigations, arrest, and prosecution. That, Mr. Chairman, is the primary threat our homeland faces today.
Whooooooo, doggies! We’re into it now, Bubba.
Higgins: Earlier this year, an FBI informant who was reported to have — his quote, under oath — “marched to the U.S. Capitol with fellow Proud Boys members on January 6th.” He said he was communicating with his FBI handler while people were entering the U.S. Capitol. Can you confirm that the FBI had that sort of engagement with your own agents embedded within to the crowd on January 6th?
Wray: If you are asking whether the violence at the Capitol on January 6 was part of some sort of operation orchestrated by FBI sources and/or agents, the answer is an emphatic no.
Higgins: You’re saying “no”?
Wray: No, there was not violence orchestrated by FBI sources or agents.
Higgins: Are you familiar, do you know what a ghost vehicle is? The director of the FBI certainly should. You know what a ghost bus is?
Wray: I’m not sure I’ve used that term before.
Higgins: It’s a pretty common in law enforcement. It’s a vehicle that is used for secret purposes. It’s painted over. These two buses in the middle, they were the first to arrive on January 6th. I have all of this evidence.
There followed some wrangling about who had gone over their time, and what was fair. Eventually, though, Higgins got his Bond villain on one more time.
Higgins: This is a very significant hearing, Mr. Chairman. These busses are nefarious in nature and were filled with FBI informants dressed as Trump supporters, deployed onto our Capitol on January 6. Your day is coming, Mr. Wray.
And then he drained his flagon of mead, ate a joint of mutton, defeated Coonass of Gruntland in axe-throwing, and invaded the Outer Hebrides.
Jesus H. Christ on a long-ship, it’s not enough that these people are all about performance art rather than about governing, but do they have to be so stunningly bad at it?
Which brings us, inevitably, and dragging the heavy chains of self-loathing behind us, to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who recently was stymied by eight of her Republican colleagues in her crusade to impeach Secretary Mayorkas, and who clearly hasn’t gotten over this threat to her autoritah.
MTG: [Holds up photo of crime victims, probably because she couldn’t get the crime scene pictures] They are dead. They are from Dalton, Georgia. They are dead because a 17-year- old, likely affiliated with the cartels, was smuggling illegal aliens into our country in Texas, breaking our laws. and this happens every single day in our country. Earlier this week, eight Republicans joined the Democrats and protected your job. But i want you to know you have a short time coming. You can honorably resign or we are going to impeach you. and it is happening very, very soon.
Mayorkas declined the opportunity to resign but, by then, Greene had moved on to bullyragging Director Wray. On this particular hobby-horse, Greene persisted in her attempts to both-sides the January 6 insurrection as well as stanning for the currently incarcerated perpetrators.
Greene: Maybe because your agents are not doing a good job in investigating the organizers that broke the law, illegally occupied this very building we are sitting in right now, and over 300 of them were arrested. Some of them attacked police officers. i have seen on the news where the FBI is hunting them down with helicopters, tanks in the streets, raiding their homes with flash bangs, targeting these people, watching these people, throwing them in jail for them to stay in pretrial in solitary confinement for years before they ever face trial.
Prior to blowing town, as a message to Speaker Mike Johnson that they are…ah…disappointed that he got a continuing resolution passed with Democratic votes, thereby avoiding everybody’s favorite holiday activity—a government shutdown, the Angry Children’s tanked a procedural vote on an appropriations bill aimed at funding various agencies of the government. From USA Today:
“It’s never easy to get work done here,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., chair of the Main Street Caucus, a group of pragmatic House Republicans. “It’s a lot harder when you have people who I think are prone to emotionally immature decisions,” Dusty Johnson continued, nodding to the House’s conservative hardliners. “This is retaliation. If something doesn’t go their way, they decide they want to blow something up. I guess this is today’s fatality.”
And then, Speaker Johnson put everyone in a timeout until December.
Charles P Pierce is the author of four books, most recently Idiot America, and has been a working journalist since 1976. He lives near Boston and has three children.