On Thursday, FBI Director James Comey will be grilled by House Republicans during a hearing set for the sole purpose of allowing the GOP to air grievances over Hillary Clinton not going to jail. Next week, Senate Republicans will do the same thing with Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Meanwhile, on back to back days, the country has witnessed gruesome and preventable killings at the hands of police, both instances having been captured on video.
With Congress preparing its little made-for-TV bitchfest, sure to feature all kinds of faux outrage and desk-banging, at least one journalist openly questioned the tone-deafness of it all. CNN host Chris Cuomo used his bully pulpit to criticize Congress for its lack of action on this ongoing problem while focusing on partisan political point scoring.
During a panel discussion on New Day, which originally focused on the upcoming hearing, Cuomo interjected, wondering why we don’t see any committees or hearings formed to discuss the issue of police wrongfully killing citizens. (Specifically, blacks, who make up more than a quarter of this year’s totals despite making up only 13% of the population.) Guest Laura Coates agreed with Cuomo, pointing out that it basically shows that members of Congress don’t care about the problem.
From Media Matters’ transcript of the segment:
CHRIS CUOMO (CO-HOST): People are going to get to know Comey now, and he has a 10-year appointment, so that kind of insulates him from politics, and he’s not the guy to go toe-to-toe with about why he makes decisions. We’ll see that today. Let me ask you something, Counsel. Does it seem a little odd or tone deaf that they’re going to be talking to the FBI director today about this e-mail investigation and there’s no action on Capitol Hill with the police shootings, again, at least to ask questions, at least to get some kind of board together. You know, that’s all these congressional hearings are about, to just hear what the issues are. Do you think it’s going to play badly for Washington that they’re focusing on that when we’re dealing with more shootings?
LAURA COATES: Absolutely. It shows a tone deafness that the Capitol Hill Congressmen, Senate — their focus is entirely on not what the people care about. On the day-to-day routine, the day-to-day life of Americans in this country, we have an issue of police using excessive force. We have people who are dying, as you saw in the videos that surfaced this morning, at the whim of police officers who are being judges on the street. And, frankly, that is the focus people care about right now, not whether or not there was classification at birth of an e-mail that may or may not have been released outside of who was entitled to receive it. It shows an absolute insensitivity and a focus that will probably unnerve to the benefit of people who are running on a campaign that says, “Look, we’re disenfranchised intellectually, politically, and there is a complete disconnect with our seated Congressman over issues like this.”
Much of the program was dedicated to discussing the shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, with co-host Alisyn Camerota speaking to the family of Castile. Following the conversation with Castile’s mother and uncle, Cuomo interviewed Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a member of the House Oversight Committee who will be getting his rocks off during Thursday’s Comey charade. (Jordan has been one of the most outspoken dead-enders regarding Benghazi.)
Considering the tenor of the program at that point, Chris wasn’t going to let Jordan slide with his prepared talking points about the hearing and Hillary. Instead, he pressed him on why Congress, and specifically Republicans, spend so much time on these witch-hunts and not enough time focusing on real issues impacting Americans. Worse yet, Congress is going to speak to Comey on an issue that’s already resolved, rather than ask the FBI DIRECTOR (!) what can be better done to resolve policing in the community.
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) July 7, 2016
As you can see, Jordan didn’t answer Cuomo’s questions. Instead, he just said he was “troubled” by the videos he’d seen, and his heart goes out to the family. He also said that he would maybe think of having some hearings or something, but he wanted to make sure that the Second Amendment is protected. So, yeah, Republicans ain’t gonna do shit.
Anyway, good job by Chris Cuomo sticking it to Congress and shaming them for spending all their time on petty grievances.