With the GOP hammering that in the impeachment process, “presumption is the standard, not the truth,” the Democrat-run House Judiciary Committee hearings began on Capitol Hill on Monday.
The event started off with a bang as — for a change — a pro-Trump demonstrator interrupted the proceedings by heckling the Dems and Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.).
Among other things, the protester yelled, “Trump is innocent!”
Nadler then expressed faux outrage and warned that no audience interruptions would be tolerated.
That is a departure for the Dems, as staged applause and standing ovations for their witnesses were a feature of former hearings.
— DynamicAmerica.org (@DynamicAmerica) December 9, 2019
Nadler’s opening statement attempted to give gravity to Democrat charges against President Donald Trump.
It fell flat and hardly elicited reaction from Nadler’s own Dem colleagues.
Before and after Nadler’s statement, though, we got the first glimpses of what seems to be a GOP strategy of the day: Tie up Nadler in parliamentary procedure and formal detail to a point that his narrative is choppy and all hope for a seamless message is lost.
Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.) answered for the Republicans and laid out his case.
He charged that the effort was pure political revenge for Trump’s 2016 election victory, that Nadler ran for Judiciary chairman by touting himself as the best candidate to lead impeachment long before there was any serious talk of it, and that the Dems have the “means, motive, and opportunity” to try to reverse the legitimate political choice of the 63 million American voters who supported the president in the 2016 general election.
As the hearing continued, Nadler — the Dem quarterback — also took on the simultaneous role of a crazed referee, using his gavel to gag any point he deemed personally undesirable.
This caused Collins to observe, “The steamroll continues.”
After opening comments, the Dem counsel, Barry Berke, made his underwhelming remarks, repeating the tired and threadbare talking points that have been heard throughout the entire impeachment drama.
No one seemed to be paying much attention, as Dem members of the committee were taking frequent breaks from their seats and were engrossed in side conversations with aides.
When GOP counsel Steve Castor took over, he aggressively countered that impeachment was based on only “eight lines on a call transcript.”
He also quoted Rep. Al Green (D-Texas) in saying, “If we don’t impeach this president, he will be re-elected.”
So there it is.
The actual motive for impeachment was laid bare in its purely political context.
Castor also reminded the committee that President Volodymr Zelensky of Ukraine has said numerous times, as recently as last week, that he felt no pressure whatsoever during the halt in military aid. On the July 25 phone call with President Trump, the 2020 election was never mentioned, noted Castor — nor was military aid.
Castor summed up the Dem case against the president as “hearsay, innuendo, and presumptions.”
The hearing continues and LifeZette will be covering it — stay tuned.