Top Republican Blasts Adam Schiff for Running “Soviet-Style” Impeachment Hearing
In withering remarks to the press on Tuesday, House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-LA) accused House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) of coaching a witness and disallowing Republicans to ask pertinent questions. Scalise, uncompromising in his assessment of Tuesday’s hearing with Lt. Col Alexander Vindman, was ultimately joined by both Reps. Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes in harshly criticizing Schiff’s behavior.
“That might be what they do in the Soviet Union, not the United States of America,” said Scalise. “We can’t stand for this – the American people are being denied equal justice.”
The House will likely vote Thursday on an official impeachment resolution, designed by Democrats, that will codify the inquiry’s rules and offer Republicans a bit more room to maneuver inside the process. However, Republicans are saying that even this formal impeachment resolution does not go far enough. Among other problems, it still gives Schiff final say on which witnesses Republicans can call to testify before the House Intelligence Committee.
“Adam Schiff, among many things, has been trying to claim that this is a fair process by saying that Republicans are allowed to ask questions,” Scalise said. “Now he gets to choose all the witnesses, and him and himself only, which means it’s not a fair process on the face. But even his claim now, that Republicans can ask questions, has been undermined, because now he’s directing witnesses not to answer questions that he doesn’t want the witness to answer, if they’re asked by Republicans.
“He has not cut off one Democrat, he’s not interrupted one Democrat and told a witness not to answer Democrat members’ questions, but today he started telling the witness not to answer questions by certain Republicans,” Scalise continued. “That reeks.”
Scalise was far from the only Republican to complain about Schiff’s handling of Vindman’s questioning. In an interview with Sean Hannity on Tuesday night, top House Intelligence Committee Republican Devin Nunes said that the chairman’s biased way of conducting the hearing was unprecedented.
“I have never in my life seen anything like what happened today,” Nunes said. “I mean, they’ve been bad at most of these depositions, but to interrupt us continually to coach the witness, to decide what we’re going to be able to ask the witness. To see someone coach a witness, this isn’t the first time that Schiff…Schiff is very good at coaching witnesses.”
Democrats have fought back, complaining that Republicans were trying to get Vindman to reveal the identity of the infamous whistleblower who worked with Schiff’s staff to launch this impeachment inquiry in the first place. Republicans have denied that their questioning of Vindman was intended to get at that information, but frankly, even if that was the point of their inquiry, as far as we’re concerned it’s fair game. Democrats can set the rules – they’re the ones in charge, after all – but Republicans are under no obligation to meekly go along with this outlandish inquiry.