Mitch McConnell says he won’t bring bi-partisan legislation protecting Robert Mueller to the floor of the Senate for a vote

As the family is out of the house this evening, I’ve decided to just lay here on the couch, in front of the fireplace, and study up on Jerry Lewis look-alike Sammy Petrillo, the star of Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla. [That’s Steve Calvert as the gorilla above.] As I seriously doubt that any of you would enjoy the trip down that particular rabbit hole, though, here’s something that you might want to discuss in my absence. Yesterday, on Fox News, Mitch McConnell said that he would not be bringing the bipartisan bill to protect Robert Mueller to the floor of the Senate for a vote. “I’m the one who decides what we take to the floor,” the Majority Leader said. “That’s my responsibility as majority leader, (and) we’ll not be having this on the floor of the Senate.” Here’s the video, followed by a tweet from Congressman Adam Schiff, who, as you might imagine, was disappointed, if not shocked, to hear that McConnell had chosen to defend Donald Trump over the rule of law.

Regardless of what McConnell may have said, it looks as though the Senate Judiciary Committee has every intention of pursuing their bill to protect special council Robert Mueller. Saying, “I can’t worry about what’s going on on the floor,” Chuck Grassley, the Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said this afternoon that he’d continue to push the legislation forward. “Last fall,” Grassley told reporters, “I said we’re not going to do anything in this area unless you get together.” And, as Senators on both sides of the aisle worked together in good faith to create a bi-partisan bill, Grassley went on to say, “I feel an obligation to keep my word and move forward.” And, it would appear that the Democrats haven’t given up hope either.

I hope the Judiciary Committee moves forward with a bill, and that members of Senator McConnell’s caucus push him to reconsider,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement. “We ought to head off a constitutional crisis at the pass, rather than waiting until it’s too late.”

And, with that, I’m leaving the real world behind, and diving into the history of Sammy Petrillo, the man who claimed to have come up with the idea for The Munsters… the man who Jerry Lewis fought to keep out of Hollywood… the man who Jerry Lewis hated more than any man on earth. For those who would like to join me, I’ll be starting with the November 12, 1950 episode of the The Colgate Comedy Hour starring Martin and Lewis (Petrillo makes his television debut opposite Lewis at around the 26 minute mark) and highlights from Keyholes are for Peeping (NSFW), and then moving on to Beyond Vaudeville episode 7 and Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla. We’ll see if I can stay up late enough to make it all the way through. Wish me luck.

By the way, it sucks that we now live in a world where I can’t just post about Bela Lugosi Meets a Brooklyn Gorilla. Trump really has ruined everything.

[I suspect it’s quite likely that this is the only blog post being written in the world right now about both the career of Sammy Patrillo and the Mueller investigation. I just wish I had a more clever way to weave the two things together… If only Matthew Calamari, Jr., the Trump security guy who some are speculating might have been the man who accosted Stormy Daniels and her young daughter in that Las Vegas parking structure, had been nicknamed “The Brooklyn Gorilla,” I could have tied this up really nicely. Sadly, though, the universe does not always come through for me.]

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  1. Posted April 18, 2018 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    Waiting patiently for the Sammy Petrillo fans to come out of the closet and show themselves… only to be disappointed when I let it be known that I’m not a fan of Jerry Lewis or his impersonator. I just find the story so incredibly interesting.

  2. 734
    Posted April 18, 2018 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Bela Lugosi meets the Queens Pussy-Grabber, starring an Adam Sandler impersonator.

  3. Jean Henry
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    Local and State Police nation-wide are purportedly preparing for riots if Trump fires Mueller. I think there will be protests and then everyone will Go back to work. I’d love to see a general strike. Don’t think we have it in us. None of us will be surprised anymore. We all expect it. This is why I call it totalitarian creep. This is exactly how it sets in.

  4. Anonymous
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    “I don’t think anybody in our conference believes Robert Mueller is going to be fired. I don’t.” – Lindsey Graham

  5. Demetrius
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 6:16 am | Permalink

    ” … Congressman Adam Schiff, who, as you might imagine, was disappointed, if not shocked, to hear that McConnell had chosen to defend Donald Trump over the rule of law.”

    And THAT’S exactly the problem.

    I don’t mean Congressman Schiff specifically … but everyone (like him) who is secretly thinking, hoping, that eventually some of our political leaders will put principle over politics.

    As I keep saying, I don’t believe that’s going to happen, since – when push comes to shove – the opportunity for more and bigger tax cuts, unprecedented deregulation, and control over trillions in new military spending will end up proving more appealing than standing up for the Constitution, the rule of law, or what’s left of our democracy.

    I also fear JH is correct when she suggests that when Trump eventually does fire Mueller, there will be episodic protests, followed mostly by everyone going back to work, and to their everyday lives … as we all begin to accept authoritarian rule as the “new normal.”

  6. Jean Henry
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 6:21 am | Permalink

    Hannah Arendt posited that the difference between tyranny and totalitarianism is that tyranny forces ideas upon people, whereas totalitarianism doesn’t force opinions on people but ‘robs them of the very ability to form opinions.’

    “If this practice [of totalitarianism] is compared with that of tyranny, it seems as if a way had been found to set the desert itself in motion, to let loose a sand storm that could cover all parts of the inhabited earth. The conditions under which we exist today in the field of politics are indeed threatened by these devastating sand storms.” — On Totalitarianism

  7. Jean Henry
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    Origins of Totalitarianism* (oops) You can download the pdf free. Everyone should read it. And then read it again. It’s no comfort, but it is clarifying.

  8. Jean Henry
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    “Never has our future been more unpredictable, never have we depended so much on political forces that cannot be trusted to follow the rules of common sense and self-interest—forces that look like sheer insanity, if judged by the standards of other centuries. It is as though mankind had divided itself between those who believe in human omnipotence (who think that everything is possible if one knows how to organize masses for it) and those for whom powerlessness has become the major experience of their lives.”
    ― Hannah Arendt, The Origins of Totalitarianism (again)

  9. Demetrius
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    CNN: Pittsburgh police ordered to bring riot gear in case Trump fires Mueller

    “Pittsburgh police ordered its detectives to bring riot gear to work Thursday in anticipation of protests should President Donald Trump fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

    Police Cmdr. Victor Joseph reportedly sent an email Wednesday, instructing Major Crimes detectives to bring full uniforms and riot gear to work “until further notice.”

    In the internal memo obtained by local media, Joseph said “there is a belief” Mueller may be fired, and “large-scale” protests are expected in the central business district within 24 hours if it happens.”

  10. Jean Henry
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Look what Matt Jones found in the EMU archives!

    Haven’t been able to listen to it yet, so I’m not sure if it’s in any way applicable to today’s zeitgeist much less this post, but I also don’t see how it couldn’t be. Because Arendt.

  11. Iron Lung 2
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    All those fools who were screaming about tyranny during the Obama years over health care and gay wedding cakes are suddenly silent when a true would be tyrant takes the helm, undermines our most crucial institutions and brings us into a true Constitutional crisis.

    This is an unbelievable time we live in. I figured that we’d wrangle over abortion and cakes and insurance forever, but never thought we’d see the day when the Republican party gathers together to keep a true fool in office at the expense of the most basic American ideals.

  12. Jean Henry
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Yes, IL. My father, who grew up during WW2, is obsessed with US history and bought the American ideal whole-heartedly for most of his life, now believes he lived too long. He is bereft. But he has also attended his first protest. I now hope he lives long enough to see the pendulum swing in the other direction. Still, to see what the GOP has become slowly over time, since Reagan, is truly disheartening.

    If you look at Obama’s policies and approach, they line up pretty neatly with Nixon’s, minus the paranoic madness of course.

  13. wobblie
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    very cool find, the Arendt Commencement address

  14. Rat
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    Max Boot: “Like many a would-be authoritarian before him, Trump ignores the real threats that his country faces, preferring to manufacture nonexistent crises that enable him to play on popular prejudice to consolidate his own power.”

  15. Meta
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Washington Post: “Only a smattering of Republicans are willing to keep tabs on Trump”

    The new group Republicans for the Rule of Law is out with its second ad seeking to head off President Trump from firing either special counsel Robert S. Mueller III or Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein:

    Sarah Longwell, one of the group’s founders and a longtime Republican activist, wrote in an op-ed for the Hill:

    “Firing Mueller, Rosenstein or [Attorney General Jeff] Sessions would be a fundamental blow to the rule of law in the United States. It would resemble what happens in developing countries that lack checks and balances on executive power, and where leaders can depose those who threaten them. . . .”

    “Beyond legal and constitutional considerations, it’s in the political self-interest of Republicans to protect the special counsel’s investigation. Democratic enthusiasm is already at a record high, and Democrats are already outpolling Republicans in primary elections by 7 percentage points. A Quinnipiac poll released last week finds massive public opposition to firing Mueller — and that even Republicans oppose firing Mueller by more than a two-to-one margin. If Trump goes down that path, a standard first term congressional swing election would likely be transformed into a Democratic landslide.”

    Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has decreed that no bill protecting Mueller would reach the Senate floor on his watch. “What McConnell has done is actually worse than not passing the Mueller protection legislation,” said Ian Bassin, the executive director of the nonpartisan Protect Democracy. “By slamming the door shut so definitively, he’s basically inviting Trump to cross the Rubicon by promising not to stand in the way.” He added: “I can think of only two reasons McConnell would do this: either he doesn’t care about the rule of law and the Constitution; or perhaps, just maybe, he knows like everyone else does that Trump firing Mueller would mark the end of the Trump presidency, and McConnell is baiting him to do it because privately he too can’t stand Trump.”

    However, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) is plowing ahead with consideration of the Special Counsel Independence and Integrity Act, sponsored by Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.). “They got together, so I feel an obligation to keep my word and move forward,” said Grassley, according to The Hill. “But I can’t worry about what’s going on on the floor. I’ve just got to do what I can do.”

    What a quaint notion — one senator gives his word and keeps it, a group of bipartisan senators act to protect a shared interest in protecting the rule of law, and an outside group of concerned Republicans puts aside partisanship to urge their party act based on “enlightened self-interest and the country’s well-being” as Longwell put it. It is a commendable display of participatory democracy that we badly need.

    Even if the Senate bill does not pass, it is critical for the country to see which Republicans actually do believe in the rule of law so they can be held accountable on Election Day. That, too, is how democracies are supposed to work. (Interestingly, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), who sits on the Judiciary Committee recently polled a scant 3 points ahead of his Democratic challenger, Rep. Beto O’Rourke.)

    Meanwhile, over in the House, six GOP congressmen have signed on to legislation to protect Mueller. Politico reports:

    “At least six House Republicans have endorsed the legislation in the past week, including three on Tuesday, despite a new round of assurances from Speaker Paul Ryan that the effort is unnecessary. A handful of others told Politico they’re open to the proposal but are still evaluating it.”

    Sadly, three of those six are retiring — Reps. Charlie Dent and Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania and Florida’s Ileana Ros-Lehtinen — once more demonstrating that winning in the Republican Party is incompatible with those who refuse to carry water for Trump.

    It would be interesting to hear why Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) thinks this is unnecessary. What assurance could Trump possibly give (if he gave one at all) that would not be subject to revision or repudiation? Ryan insults his members’ intelligence by insisting there is no risk Trump will induce a constitutional crisis.

    The country should be heartened to see some veteran congressional Republicans, as well as some elected lawmakers, defy the president in defense of the rule of law. We should, however, be terribly dismayed about how few there are, and how out of step they are with the GOP base and congressional leadership.

    Read more:

  16. Lynne
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    I like to have hope. I like to think that people will wake up and see what is happening. I guess we will see in November. Will the 1/2 who don’t vote get out and do it for once? Will those who voted for Trump vote in an opposition congress? The GOP doesn’t think so and is making the potential of an opposition congress to impeach Trump as a key campaign point. I guess we will see.

  17. Jean Henry
    Posted April 19, 2018 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Giuliani just joined Trump’s legal team to ‘negotiate an end to the investigation with Mueller.

    As though that’s how a damned FBI investigation works. They don’t get settled. They get completed. This isn’t a civil suit.

    It seems Big G is trying to prevent Trump from firing Mueller. But mueller doesn’t care. This is the FBI, with or without Mueller the investigation continues. They don’t do politics. For a reason as we learned recently.

    Maybe Big G will convince Trump to turn himself in… ha! Nope. Just a stalling measure. Managing up. He must be doing someone a big favor.

  18. John Brown
    Posted April 20, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    The notion that Americans will quietly accept totalitarianism must be driven from the conversation. Maybe complacent boomer liberals would have that reaction, but the young progressives who’ve yet to attain economic stability have nothing to lose. IF Mueller fails, if midterms fail, if marches fail, then you all better get used to the idea that we may have to actually fight to preserve our legacy for humanity, flawed as it may be.

    The right has succeeded in stealing working class whites partly by appealing to what I’ve come to think of as “the conviction gap”. They may be wrong as hell about guns, race, religion, etc., but by god they are willing to fight and die (and kill libtards) for what they believe. And they want to be on a side that shares that sense of conviction. So us smarty pants intellectualizers had best not lose touch with our own primitive survival instincts or the future will not think kindly of us.

    “non-violent resistance only works if your opponent has a conscience” – Stokely Carmicheal

  19. Jean Henry
    Posted April 20, 2018 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    The Alt-right is flailing lately. They failed to attract the non-violent working class Whites they intended to and Spencer et al have been stymied by mostly non-violent but disruptive Anifa efforts. They are delegitimized. that doesn’t mean that individuals in that crowd don’t represent a threat to other individuals and groups, but they can not organize any kind of meaningful political effort as they have in Europe (thank the two-party system for that here…) And they have failed to accrue more followers. I think we all are prepared to take a stand against totalitarianism. And the best defense of totalitarianism is functional liberal democratic systems, not rebellion. All that said, should things get worse, I believe enough Americans will demand change in the many ways we can do that, to make it happen. Let’s not give up hope on the midterms to turn the tide on Trump’s power and revitalize the left with a bunch of new progressive candidates. The Alt Right is not gaining power. I think history will show they reached peak power Nov 9th 2016 and it will prove to be all downhill from there.

  20. John Brown
    Posted April 21, 2018 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    The overt neo Nazis aren’t nearly the problem as the evangelical/NRA Bloc. Trump’s Christian core supporters literally feel more affinity for Ruskies than liberals. All Trump’s crew share a common thread – christo-facist, islamophobic, neo-crusaders. They are totally gunned up for God. And think us liberals are the problem, not the totalitarian Ruskie Christian patriarchy that shares their world view.

  21. Jean Henry
    Posted April 21, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Let’s hope this is the last flare up before the whole thing falls to ashes when we become a minority-majority country. Cant happen fast enough.

  22. Jake Tapper by proxy
    Posted April 23, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    BREAKING: The White House is preparing talking points designed to undermine Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s credibility, according to sources familiar with the plan.

  23. site admin
    Posted April 27, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    The Mueller bill passed out of of Committee with a 14-7 vote! Now we’ll see what McConnell does.

    Grassley: Yes
    Hatch: No
    Cornyn: No
    Sasse: No
    Flake: Yes
    Crapo: No
    Kennedy: No
    Graham: Yes
    Lee: No
    Cruz: No
    Tillis: Yes
    Feinstein: Yes
    Leahy: Yes
    Durbin: Yes
    Whitehouse: Yes
    Klobuchar: Yes
    Coons: Yes
    Blumenthal: Yes
    Hirono: Yes
    Booker: Yes
    Harris: Yes

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