Wow: Maxine Waters chooses to face House ethics trial too

Gosh, if only there were a second high-profile narrative-reinforcing ethics trial just before the midterms which the GOP could use to bludgeon the Most Ethical Congress Ever. And if only it, like Rangel’s trial, promised to be an identity-politics hot potato, guaranteeing maximum squirming from The One and Madam Speaker.

Ah well, too much to ask. Or is it?

The back-to-back trials of a pair of black lawmakers represent an unprecedented use of an ethics adjudication system that has rarely been used by House members accused of breaking House rules…

POLITICO first reported earlier this week that the committee was expected to unveil its charges against Waters before leaving town for the recess.

Her decision to go to trial appears to have postponed the release of the committee’s formal charging document, called a “Statement of Alleged Violation.”…

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus have complained that the OCE has unfairly and disproportionately targeted them, and many have signed onto a legislative effort to de-fang the office.

Smart play by Waters to force a trial. With the Rangel case already on the national radar and the CBC unhappy that its members are in the crosshairs, she probably figures, with good reason, that it’s unlikely the ethics committee will come down hard on her. Which raises the question: Can this clusterfark get any worse for Democrats? My friends, it can.

[A] person close to the Rangel tells POLITICO the embattled Democrat “doesn’t give a damn about what the president thinks about this” and won’t step down…

One member of the Congressional Black Caucus, also speaking on condition of anonymity, expressed bitterness that the president would turn publicly on Rangel, a decorated Korean War combat veteran.

“Charlie Rangel has served our nation with honor and distinction for more than four decades — before I was born and the President was a twinkle in his parents’ eye,” the CBC member said of a career in public service dating back to Rangel’s days in the Army.

“He should be treated with honor and respect,” the member said, referring to Rangel’s work promoting equal rights for African Americans. “In fact Mr. Rangel made my service in Congress and Mr. Obama’s presidency possible.”

That’s a response to The One delivering the Corleone kiss of death to Rangel a few hours ago, natch. Exit question: How deep must the fracture be right now between the CBC and the Dem leadership if Maxine Waters is willing to force ethics back into the headlines by choosing a trial? She knows it’s poisonous for the party this close to the election and she’s doing it anyway. Amazing.