As questioning continued early Friday afternoon in the second impeachment inquiry hearing of this week, Democrat members stayed on a script that had them sharing glowing praise of former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch — while they continued an over-the-top condemnation of President Donald Trump and presidential lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
GOP Counsel Stephen Castor recounted points publicly made by Yovanovitch that she was not personally involved in the conversations and decision making regarding any issues on an alleged quid pro quo with Ukraine.
Thus, again, all of her testimony on that issue is secondhand and hearsay — and would not be admissible in any court of law.
At the same time, GOP members, in their questioning, perhaps reacting to a negative public perception of a Trump tweet this morning, treated the ambassador mostly gently while still trying to make points from their own messaging playbook.
After the break, the hearing began with House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) again shouting down and refusing to recognize GOP member Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), who was merely asking a question.
When GOP questions began, Castor — the minority counsel — elicited admissions from the former ambassador that she was out of the loop on most matters the committee is holding this inquiry on, and that her testimony has been based on “picking up rumors from Ukrainians” and “approximately” from statements she heard uttered by State Department colleagues.
He also listed several Ukrainian government officials who were publicly anti-Trump during the U.S. presidential campaign of 2016.
As committee members of both parties then took over questioning, a pattern emerged that saw Dems making rehearsed statements about Giuliani and the president, as several Republicans tied Ukrainian corruption concerns regarding Hunter Biden to the Obama State Department.
GOP members also repeatedly made the point that military aid to Ukraine given by the Trump administration was denied to Ukraine under the Obama administration.
Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio) asked why there was an uproar over Giuliani’s visiting Ukrainian officials and speaking to U.S. embassy personnel — when in 2004, a member of the Kerry campaign visited Ukraine and officially conferred at the embassy to no ensuing political controversy.
Why, asked Turner, is it fine for the Dems — but a travesty if the individual involved in the same kind of action is a Republican?
Contrasting with prior expectations that they would aggressively pursue Yovanovitch on a host of discrepancies in her statements and testimonies, GOP members were exceedingly respectful of the former ambassador.
Some pundits and social media mavens theorized this was because of public blowback against a morning presidential tweet that claimed Yovanovitch made the situation worse anywhere she was assigned.
Here’s the Trump tweet that got so much attention:
Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 15, 2019
The GOP spared no expense, though, in going after Chairman Schiff on “duplicity and abuse of power,” as said by Rep. Stefanik, in suppressing the testimony of the CIA informant.
Republican representatives also read into the record numerous pieces from the media in which Schiff promised to have the CIA informant testify openly in front of his committee.
That, so far, has not happened and he has since said it will not happen.
But when it was revealed that Schiff’s office had prior contact, even prior to the informant’s initial complaint to the inspector general of the intel community, with the informant — then Schiff abruptly changed tack.
He has denied any GOP attempt to have the informant sit for questioning or cross-examination.
As the GOP and most of America are asking: Why is Schiff so scared of a public examination of the informant?
Just what is he trying to hide?
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