Wednesday marked the first day of Democrats’ impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump. The hearings are centered around Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky regarding an alleged quid pro quo. Trump is accused of withholding military aid from Ukraine in order to force the nation to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden’s son, Hunter. The elder Biden is the current Democratic frontrunner in the 2020 primary.
Neither of the first two witnesses called were on the July 25 phone call. Ambassador William Taylor has not even spoken to Trump, and admitted in previous closed-door testimony that his only knowledge of the situation comes from New York Times reporting.
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) used his opening statement as the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee to point out the Democrats — specifically, Chairman Adam Schiff’s — past attacks on Trump that turned out to be overblown.
“In a July open hearing of this committee following publication of the Mueller report, the Democrats engaged in a last-ditch effort to convince the American people that President Trump is a Russian agent. That hearing was the pitiful finale of a three-year-long operation by the Democrats, the corrupt media, and partisan bureaucrats to overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election,” Nunes said. “After the spectacular implosion of their Russia hoax on July 24, in which they spent years denouncing any Republican who ever shook hands with a Russian, on July 25 they turned on a dime and now claim the real malfeasance is Republicans’ dealings with Ukraine.”
Nunes then reminded viewers that Schiff (who he does not specifically name) previously claimed he had “more than circumstantial evidence” of Trump colluding with Russia during the 2016 election and had tried to obtain nude photos of Trump from two radio pranksters.
Nunes then said Democrats on the Intelligence Committee now expect people to take their new claims on Ukraine misconduct “at face value.”
“But anyone familiar with the Democrats’ scorched-earth war against President Trump would not be surprised to see all the typical signs that this is just a carefully orchestrated media smear campaign,” Nunes said.
Among the examples Nunes cites are that “The witnesses deemed suitable for television by the Democrats were put through a closed-door audition process in a cult-like atmosphere in the basement of the Capitol, where the Democrats conducted secret depositions, released a flood of misleading and one-sided leaks, and later selectively released transcripts in a highly staged manner.”
“At a prior hearing, Democrats on this committee read out a purely fictitious rendition of the President’s phone call with President Zelensky,” Nunes said in another example. “They clearly found the real conversation to be insufficient for their impeachment narrative, so they just made up a new one.”
Nunes also recalled Schiff’s office having prior communications with the whistleblower. Schiff now claims he does not know the identity of the whistleblower while simultaneously saying that if Republicans reveal his identity during the hearings they will face an ethics complaint.