House Democrats, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, have for the past month been leading a secretive, “Soviet-style” impeachment inquiry comprised of closed-door hearings and selective leaks to the media of narrative-enforcing tidbits of information that look bad for President Donald Trump.
Republicans have largely been shut out of the proceedings, and now the few who have actually been able to attend and participate are accusing Schiff of acting almost as a defense attorney for some witnesses by cutting off certain lines of questioning that might undermine the anti-Trump narrative preferred by Democrats.
Schiff shuts down Republican questioning
Fox News reported on Tuesday that Schiff held a closed-door hearing featuring testimony from Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a member of the White House National Security Council, who has purportedly echoed concerns by Democrats about President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Two top Republican lawmakers — Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) and Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) — held a news conference on Tuesday to express their indignation at the manner in which Schiff conducted the hearing with Vindman, with Jordan directly accusing Schiff of protecting the witness from having to answer certain pertinent questions about his testimony.
Jordan claimed, “When we asked [Vindman] who he spoke to after important events in July — Adam Schiff says, ‘no, no, no, we’re not going to let him answer that question.'”
The Ohio congressman proceeded to accuse Schiff of breaking his own ground rules for the hearing and of acting as though he were a “lawyer” representing Vindman during the closed-door event.
What Jordan was likely getting at in his attempted line of questioning was speculation that Vindman had coordinated with other witnesses, and perhaps even the so-called “whistleblower” himself, with regard to the complaints about Trump’s July phone call with Zelensky.
“The Democrats run out here and say, ‘ooh, the Republicans are trying to figure out who the whistleblower is,'” Jordan said. “We’re trying to figure out who our witness list is!”
“The resolution that the Speaker has just filed … she points this out in the resolution that this is going to go to the Judiciary Committee if, in fact, they push it there. There will be witnesses called. We would like to figure out who those witnesses should be,” he continued.
Jordan had referenced a recently-filed resolution that would purportedly formalize the “impeachment inquiry.” The resolution would supposedly offer equal subpoena powers to the ranking minority members of the House Intelligence and Judiciary Committees, albeit only with the concurrence of the Democratic chairs of those committees, rendering them largely impotent and symbolic overall.
“I pointed out last week there 435 members of Congress…only one of them knows who the whistleblower is, more importantly, who the sources are for the whistleblower who were the basis of him filing this complaint. Now he doesn’t want anyone else to know that,” Jordan added of Schiff and the anonymous whistleblower at the heart of the whole thing.
Scalise chimed in and said, “This has been a tainted process from the start. What happened today confirms even worse just how poorly Adam Schiff is handling this process, denying the ability for Republicans to even ask basic questions that are critical to the heart of whether or not a President of the United States is impeached.”