‘It’s an attempt to shovel fodder to the media, knowing they will now proclaim all Republican concerns moot…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Clinging to the hope of bipartisan cooperation in Congress, some GOP naïfs were ready to cast aside House Democrats’ true impeachment motives when Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced this week a floor vote on a resolution to formalize the current Ukraine probe into President Donald Trump.
Moderate aisle-straddlers like Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, expressed optimism that Pelosi’s promises—of more due process, transparency and active agency in the proceedings for Trump’s allies on the Right—were made in good faith.
But an examination of House Resolution 660, which was introduced on Tuesday night, confirms that the only thing transparent in the partisan inquisition is the Left’s brazen, unabashed aim to use impeachment for political leverage and score-settling.
“This resolution is window dressing,” wrote RedState. “It’s an attempt to shovel fodder to the media, knowing they will now proclaim all Republican concerns moot. The fact that some conservatives are going along with the gambit is disappointing.”
‘Due Process’ Down the Rabbit Hole
The naked ambition of Trump’s foes to reverse the 2016 election and fix the 2020 election leaves no room for consensus-building, much less the constraints of following procedures prescribed through the Constitution, established House rules or past historical precedent.
“Speaker Pelosi’s resolution confirms that it is an impeachment inquiry, yet every other impeachment inquiry we’ve had in the history of our country—all three—have allowed both sides to call witnesses, have allowed the White house to participate,” said House Minority Whip Steve Scalise, R-La, on Thursday, according to American Greatness.
“That’s not happening,” Scalise continued. “That might be what they did in the Soviet Union—not the United States of America.”
Meanwhile, the parade of theatrics that began well before House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, D-Calif., opened the probe by offering a false, interpretive performance of Trump’s July phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, continued to course through Democrats’ latest evasive maneuvers.
One of those was the rabbit-hole of self-referential skulduggery the resolution used by referring to an existing “investigation” that was never authorized, while continuing to duck the authorization of a specific investigation that could limit the scope of what partisan Democrats were permitted to do under House rules.
Pelosi’s resolution references “the existing House of Representatives inquiry,” but no such House of Representatives investigation exists, because the House of Representatives never authorized one. And this resolution doesn’t either. pic.twitter.com/blss6WWPBh
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) October 29, 2019
Federalist writer Sean Davis observed that by launching their informal investigation prior to the vote, House Democrats had painted themselves into a corner and were attempting to use a “sleight of hand” through imprecise wording to preserve the weeks of collected testimony as legally binding.
Democrats can’t up and authorize a real investigation now, because that would be an admission that previous demands were unauthorized, nuking their current case. So they’re left to play cutesy games where they reference a non-existent investigation and hope nobody will notice.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) October 29, 2019
As others noted, even if the resolution were valid, Democrats offered very little in the way of concessions to the objections and demands their GOP counterparts have raised.
“You only need to see a few parts of it to realize that nothing has really changed and that all the same complaints being made by Republicans still exist,” wrote RedState.
For example, said Washington Examiner columnist Byron York, it does little to move the chains on the public release of transcripts from secretive hearings that the House has been using to gather testimony over the past month.
Much of the media reporting on these hearings with career bureaucrats and civil servants in the State Department thus far has relied on publicly available opening statements— as well as media leaks, of which Schiff, himself, is almost certainly a leading source.
However, the resolution leaves it at the sole discretion of Schiff whether to allow the secure, classified transcripts of the hearings to be released in full or redacted form.
— Byron York (@ByronYork) October 29, 2019
Badgering the Cross-Examiners
Although left-leaning outlets have sought to characterize witness testimony as reinforcing the Democrats’ accusations against Trump—thereby swaying public support—Republicans with knowledge of the meetings have said this does not offer the full picture.
On Thursday, Scalise charged that Schiff had begun cutting off Republican interrogators during questioning.
“He’s directing witnesses not to answer questions that he doesn’t want the witness to answer if they’re asked by Republicans,” Scalise said.
Scalise said if it were a court of law, a mistrial would need to be declared.
“What happened today confirms even worse just how poorly Adam Schiff is handling this process in 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,” he said.
Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, the ranking minority member of the House Oversight Committee, also accused Schiff of blocking crucial lines of inquiry using the pretense of preserving whistleblower anonymity.
“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!”
Schiff is suspected to have worked closely with the anonymous whistleblower who filed the initial complaint against Trump. He was previously caught lying about his preliminary communication with the deep-state CIA operative.
Republicans have indicated that they plan to call Schiff to the stand as a witness given his role in orchestrating the events surrounding the whistleblower’s complaint.