Some of America, it seems, has caught on to the inconsequential nature of profoundly hyped hearings which will definitely end or damage the Trump presidency.
According to Reuters, when fired FBI Director James Comey testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee in July 2017, 19.5 million Americans tuned in. During the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation last year, roughly 20 million Americans watched the contentious hearings unfold.
Neither of those had the same kind of 24-karat headline as impeachment proceedings — and yet, television viewers couldn’t care less. Reuters reported that 13.8 million people tuned in Wednesday for the opening salvo in the Democrats’ public hearings on removing Donald Trump from office.
I’m no collective clairvoyant, but my guess is that most people know there’s no chance Trump will be removed from office, there’s going to be nothing in the testimony that we haven’t heard before and the rules are rigged so that there will be a predetermined outcome.
If you’re a political junkie and decided to miss it, however, you should probably be kicking yourself — at least if you’re a conservative.
Not only did the Republicans generally carry the day, there was also Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan dissecting witness William Taylor so thoroughly you wanted one of the networks to overlay the “Simpsons” GIF on the testimony: “Stop, stop! He’s already dead!”
And if Jordan’s dissection of witnesses wasn’t reason enough to watch, Rep. Elise Stefanik’s take on House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff also deserved some kind of prize.
Stefanik — a New York Republican who was once known as the youngest woman elected to Congress until a significantly less talented New York Democrat took that mantle — “was one of the sharpest questioners of the three diplomats who testified at public hearings on Wednesday and Friday, overshadowing some colleagues better known for their vociferous defense of the president,” according to Reuters.
Reuters wasn’t joking. If you ever want to see Schiff look profoundly uncomfortable — and really, who doesn’t? — you had the perfect chance during Friday’s hearing:
What makes this even better is that it’s Schiff’s own comments.
Stefanik’s words — or rather, Schiff’s words — had to do with the intelligence community whistleblower whose complaint eventually led to the impeachment push and the fact that they hadn’t appeared to testify in any form.
“The Washington Post, Sept. 29: ‘In an appearance on ABC News “This Week,” Schiff echoed Pelosi’s message. He also said he expected the intelligence committee to hear from the whistleblower very soon pending a security clearance from acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire,'” Stefanik said.
“In the Huffington Post, Schiff told ABC’s ‘This Week’ that he expects the whistleblower to appear before this committee very soon,” she added. “In the New York Post, ‘We’ll get the unfiltered testimony of that whistleblower.’ In The Washington Times, ‘That whistleblower will be able to come in.'”
“These are all quotes from Adam Schiff,” Stefanik said.
They went on, and so did Schiff’s visible discomfort, like someone whose own words are too painful to hear.
In case you’d forgotten, there was a time when Schiff wanted the whistleblower to testify. He wanted the whistleblower to testify before the committee as soon as possible.
And then came the news that the whistleblower had talked with a Schiff staffer before filing the complaint. There was the allegation that the whistleblower had worked closely with former Vice President Joe Biden during the Obama administration. Fair enough.
And then came a report from Paul Sperry in RealClearInvestigations which gave a name to the purported whistleblower and also alleged even more bias, including connections between the whistleblower and people who helped initiate the Trump-Russia “collusion” investigation.
The whistleblower was also accused of writing an email that propagated a conspiracy theory about the Kremlin being behind Comey’s firing.
Now, of course, Schiff says the whistleblower can’t appear for reasons of safety. Plus, since there was another whistleblower, it doesn’t necessarily matter who the first whistleblower was — right?
Other quotes from Schiff before he came to this conclusion, courtesy of Stefanik:
- “As DNI Maguire promised during the hearing, that whistleblower will be able to come in and come in without a minder from the Justice Department or from the White House to tell the whistleblower what they can and cannot say.”
- “We’ll get the unfiltered testimony of that whistleblower.”
- “We’re ready to hear from the whistleblower as soon as that is done and we’ll keep obviously riding shotgun to make sure that the acting director doesn’t delay in that clearance process.”
That changed quickly, didn’t it?
Schiff’s face said it all. This was a man undergoing visible discomfort, almost like the TV actor on a bad courtroom drama who’s just been found out. You’d almost feel sorry for him if he weren’t Adam Schiff.
There weren’t quite as many Americans who saw this as saw Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Perhaps it’s just as well, since they didn’t get to see Stefanik berating Schiff for his procedural malfeasance and for the fact that the two things the inquiry was investigating — the withholding of military aid to Ukraine and the investigation into Burisma Holdings, where Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, served on the board — actually never took place.
“For the millions of Americans viewing today, the two most important facts are the following. Number one, Ukraine received the aid, number two, there was in fact no investigation into Biden,” Stefanik said Friday.
If this last week was any indication, Stefanik is going to continue to induce expressions like this from Schiff.
We can’t say he doesn’t deserve it, however.
Schiff should honor his words and make sure the whistleblower testifies.
America deserves no less.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.