Seems George Stepawhatever his name is took the day off and ABC’s White House correspondent Jonathan Karl took the reins at This Week. He spent the first segment on Syria and what
Turkey Trump is doing to the Kurds and then moved onto more pressing issues such as impeachment.
KARL: Democrats issued nearly a dozen subpoenas as the White House stonewalls the impeachment inquiry. The president’s personal lawyers now part of a growing investigation as a key witness defies the White House and testifies before Congress. Just a handful of lawmakers were in the room. We’ll talk to two of them live. And —
Now he gets to the interviews.
Congressman Himes (he’s on the Dem Intel Committee), let’s start with you. We heard from Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, somebody who testified or talked to — to your committee despite the fact that the White House and the administration had ordered her not to do so. Tell us how important is she to this inquiry?
REP. JIM HIMES (D-CT): Well, she’s very important to one of the parts of this inquiry. Of course a part from the president holding up aide to Ukraine, expecting to get a commitment that there would be an investigation of his political opponent, you know the moving of that transcript to the secret server. The third piece of this that is deeply concerning is a United States Ambassador who mere weeks after she was asked to extend her tour for a month — for a year is then summarily told to get on the next plan back to Washington and then removed from her post for what appears to be Giuliani’s effort with his various minions to achieve whatever aims Giuliani was trying to achieve Ukraine. This had, of course, nothing to do with the United States foreign policy interest or national security interest. It had to do with the President’s personal interest and Rudy Giuliani’s interest. So she was very, very important because she is an example of abusing the American public trust in favor of narrow objectives.
Seems the president isn’t allowed to choose his diplomats because they might not represent his objectives (i.e. the Democrats objectives).
And then Karl acts like a real journalist by asking him what we all want to know:
KARL: Congressman, let me ask you though, why is all of this happening behind closed doors? Why the secrecy? This was not a classified deposition. Why not do this out in the open?
Rep. Himes yammers on and Karl actually persists with his line of questioning and has to correct the Congressman! Shocking.
HIMES: Well, so first of all, all transcripts will eventually be scrubbed for classified information and made available for the American public to see. But there’s two reasons why these depositions are happening behind closed doors. One reason is that when you’re talking to ambassadors and other U.S. government officials who have regularly had access to classified information, you need to be able to talk about that information and then go back and say hey, this conversation has to be redacted because it involves classified information. That’s the most important reason. The second reason for this is that when you’re interviewing people who are around the president, political supporters of the president, you don’t want them to be able to look at each other’s testimony in order to coordinate testimony. These are a group of people who have shown that they have no problem what so ever lying if they think it serves their interest. And so you don’t want to give them the opportunity to look at what they are saying and — and therefore coordinate their stories.
KARL: But — but this is an impeachment inquiry. There’s so much at stake here. Why shouldn’t the president, why shouldn’t the White House have a representative in there able to cross examine these witnesses?
HIMES: Well I — John, that’s not the way this process works, right. And I understand that’s the Republican line because they can’t defend the president’s behavior and won’t defend the president’s behavior they’re trying to throw up all this procedural stuff. The reality is that what happens in the House is akin to a — an indictment. Right. The trial happens in the Senate and in the Senate there are opposing parties with the right to cross examining — to cross examine witnesses. The Supreme Court chief justice presides over that trial-like proceeding. Impeachment is more akin to a grand jury indictment, and in a grand jury indictment, it happens behind closed doors, there aren’t cross-examinations, evidence is presented. So this — what — what you’re — the question you’re asking is what the Republicans are incorrectly saying should be occurring. The trial happens in the Senate —
KARL: But — but — but Congressman, this much is entirely true. In the — in the previous impeachment inquiries, with Richard Nixon, with Bill Clinton, the House did hold a vote, there were rights that were afforded to the — to the president’s side and — and — and to the minority party. Why don’t you go forward and hold a vote to formally launch this — this — this impeachment inquiry and get the entire House on the record?
HIMES: Yes, and — and — and we may. Remember, again, there’s no requirement that that occur. The Republicans sort of want —
KARL: But that’s the way it’s been done.
HIMES: — want people to believe that that’s true. Well, twice in our history when we’ve actually had impeachment inquires.
KARL: Three times, if you count Johnson.
Way to go Karl for asking real questions of someone on the impeachment collusion committee.
So the Democrats reasoning for holding closed door hearings is that it’s normal, like an indictment in a grand jury which indicts a ham sandwich due to no cross- examination. I throw the BS flag on that. How about the Senate hold months of closed-door hearings using the same gag rules on the Democrats if and when the House takes a full vote?
And speaking of gag rules, Byron York explains how the Democrat’s shifting rules are actually silencing Republicans from leaking any testimony unlike the Democrat approved leaks:
In this way: The two previous impeachment interviews, with former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, were conducted in the format of what is known as a transcribed interview. Rep. Adam Schiff, who is running the Democratic impeachment effort, decreed that transcripts not be released to the public. At the same time, there were no heavily restrictive rules on what would happen should any member of Congress, acting from memory, reveal things that were said in the interview.
The Yovanovitch session was different. Democrats conducted the interview in the format of a deposition, which is different from a transcribed interview. One key difference is that there are serious penalties for lawmakers who reveal the contents of a deposition. Doing so would almost surely subject the offending member to a House ethics investigation. […]
Here is the clever part, from the Democratic perspective. As the Yovanovitch interview began, her 10-page opening statement quickly leaked. In it, Yovanovitch made her case for all the press to read.
What we are witnessing is the epitome of a kangaroo court that convicts someone in absentia. Shifting rules in order to maximize the presumption of a guilty conviction. It reminds me of N. Korea or Iran. Guilty until proven innocent. Firing squad at the ready regardless of facts.
Today on some other talking head show Schiff said that quid pro quo is not required now. That Trump is abusing his office. See the Shiffting sand?
This will not end well for the Democrats nor the American people. Impeaching over a phone call is not a high crime and misdemeanor.
The whole Democrat machine is parroting the same talking point that Trump abused his power against a political rival to effect the 2020 race. Wrong. What they are really afraid of is that Trump via Barr and Durham will expose the dirty rotten traitors that effected the 2016 race and Biden and Ukraine are key players.
By the #NewRules of not pursuing crimes by a 2020 candidate, perhaps we should expect Hillary, Comey, Obama, Clapper, Brennan et al to put their names in the hat!
Consider this a Sunday open thread and opine away.