Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace hid from viewers the sinister implications behind Republican Senator Mike Lee’s suggestion of Merrick Garland as FBI Director. Instead Wallace helped Lee pretend he was making a genuine attempt to reach across the aisle.
On Fox News Sunday yesterday, Wallace introduced Lee by noting, with enthusiasm, that he had "an intriguing name" as the possible next FBI director.
Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick has a great column exposing the cynical, hypocritical self-interest behind the gesture, especially given that Republicans didn’t think Garland was fit enough to even grant a hearing when he had been nominated for the Supreme Court:
The Daily Caller was quick to note that Garland’s move to the FBI would also clear a seat on the critically important D.C. Circuit, thus allowing Trump to appoint a conservative to a court on which at this moment there are seven Democratic appointees and four Republican ones. Deploying the same impeccable logic that allowed the White House to convince itself that Democrats would celebrate the firing of Comey because they like Hillary Clinton more than the rule of law, the Caller argued that Democrats would be insane hypocrites to oppose the choice of Garland for the FBI gig: “Senate Democrats joined the previous administration in offering uniformly glowing assessments of Garland’s quality and experience. None could now plausibly marshal a convincing case against him, after mounting a year-long campaign to secure him a spot on the nation’s highest tribunal.”
Lee then made his support for Garland public on Thursday morning, explaining in a TV interview, “I would imagine that this might be a post that might interest [Garland], and it might be a post that he could serve in very effectively.” A Lee staffer told the Hill this suggestion was not meant to be hilarious, saying, “He’s eminently qualified and has the reputation needed to restore public confidence in [the] FBI.” A Fox Business News reporter then appeared to suggest that Vice President Mike Pence and White House Counsel Don McGahn are on board, too. It’s an idea everyone can get behind! Maybe Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan want the gig, too! They can all be FBI directors!
Don’t tell me that Wallace wasn’t on to the game. Yet Wallace left out that duplicity as he purported to explain the situation “for folks who may not be following this as closely as we are.” From the Fox News transcript:
WALLACE: Attorney General Sessions met with eight candidates for FBI director yesterday. Your reaction to that list […]
LEE: Look, it looks like a good list. I agree that it needs to be someone who has a lot of credibility in law enforcement. It’s one of the reasons why I suggested Merrick Garland the other day. Merrick Garland, in addition to people who are on that list, are all good candidates. And I think the president ought to look for someone who can bring to the job a whole lot of credibility.
WALLACE: All right. Let’s go back to the Garland suggestion. I mean, for folks who may not be following this as closely as we are, Judge Merrick Garland is a member of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. He was the man that Barack Obama last year, a little over a year ago nominated to be a Supreme Court justice, Republicans in the Senate blocked it, said they wanted to wait until the election.
Are you really serious about the idea that Donald Trump would appoint Merrick Garland to investigate, and what’s the reaction you’ve gotten, if any, from the White House?
LEE: You know, first of all, yes, I think it’s a great suggestion. I’m absolutely serious about it. This is a very different post and putting them on the Supreme Court of the United States. If President Trump were to nominate Merrick Garland as FBI director, I think his nomination would be welcomed by people on both sides of the aisle in the Senate.
The reason I say that is because this is a man who has a lot of prosecutorial experience, high-profile prosecutorial experience. He went after the Unabomber. He played a key role in the prosecution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. And he’s got a strong reputation within the FBI, within the law enforcement community in general. Generally, I think this is someone who would be confirmed to that post with a very high degree of bipartisan support.
WALLACE: Yes, I want to get to that, because it seems to me that the suggestion, while you like Garland, is also a statement perhaps that you really don’t want to see whoever the replacement for Comey is to be confirmed in a straight party line vote, 52-48, that you really would like to see somebody that at least some Democrats can buy into.
Unfortunately for Republicans, they will not likely get the chance to make this “good will gesture.” Lithwick predicts that Garland “probably won’t want to give up his lifetime tenure as the chief judge of the second-most important court in the land, and surely the most significant bulwark against Trump administration overreach, in exchange for a 12-minute gig on The Apprentice before he uses the wrong color highlighter and gets fired by a crazy person.”
Watch Chris Wallace try to dupe his viewers with possibly the most phony good will gesture since the Trojan Horse below, from the May 14, 2017 Fox News Sunday.
It’s wonderful that they are now recognizing the value of Merrick Garand, a man they disgraced themselves to ignore last year so they could steal his Supreme Court seat. Unfortunately, Judge Garland is not interested in leaving the judiciary and his important work there for a temporary post, one that would be in a subservient position to an unqualified and inappropriate person like Jeff Sessions. So he’ll be staying at the District Court. But the GOP’s newfound respect for Garland could absolutely be demonstrated in a more meaningful fashion: When Clarence Thomas or Anthony Kennedy steps down in the next couple of years, it’s great to know that Mitch McConnell and Mike Lee will be supporting Garland’s re-appointment to the Supreme Court at that time. I’m sure Democrats will be able to get behind that and make this a fully bipartisan action.