There is a scene in a Godfather film when a Corleone capo turned state witness is about to give evidence to a senate hearing, evidence that would expose how organised crime works.
Before he begins, his attention is drawn to the back of the room where a Sicilian brother he has not seen for years, and obviously does not understand what is going on, stands with Corleone soldiers.
In seconds, the witness realises his dilemma — testify and condemn his brother or recant. He recants and later, in jail, commits suicide on the orders of the mob so his immediate family might survive.
The Godfather films were fiction — maybe — but Wednesday’s bid by Republican Trump capos to “storm” a closed-door hearing on Capitol Hill on the Ukraine controversy was not.
The Trump supporters might reject a comparison between the Godfather hearing and their efforts to intimidate a “Soviet-style” inquiry but that would be pure ballyhoo.
If they knew their history they would know that, like the Corleones, the Soviets felt hearings unnecessary and impeachment as a frippery.
They preferred irreversible conclusions.
It is frightening that the Republicans who once more or less accepted the rule of law have passed a dangerous milestone.
This, however, cannot be surprising, after all their leader has shown a disregard for truth and such dangerous instability that he would make a Don Corleone blush.
We, and especially America, live in unprecedented times.