The Congressional GOP is continuing to pull out all the stops in their attempted defense of President Donald Trump as House Democrats continue with their impeachment inquiry. Early this Wednesday, during the first public impeachment inquiry hearing that featured top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor and State Department official George Kent, House Intelligence Committee member Mike Conaway (R-Tx.) insisted that the panel issue a subpoena for the whistleblower whose complaint helped spark the impeachment inquiry. Although considering the Democratic majority on the panel, that subpoena is unlikely to happen, new intel panel member Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) jumped right in with his support.
Conaway insisted to Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.):
‘I seek to make a motion we actually subpoena the whistleblower for a closed-door secret deposition, so the questions appropriately asked the whistleblower by our side and your side may be asked. I would prefer rather than it be your single decision, that you the committee speak to that.’
Jordan followed that by accusing Schiff of being the only member of Congress who knows the whistleblower’s identity, but that’s a blatant mischaracterization of the situation, Schiff noted. The whistleblower has never met with Schiff, although they did ask committee staff how to best handle their complaint when they originally had it — but that’s all, and it’s right in line with long established protocol.
The House GOP has already requested to have the original anonymous whistleblower in for public testimony. The intel panel’s top Republican Devin Nunes (Calif.) included the whistleblower in the list of requested witnesses that he presented Schiff, which also featured individuals like former Vice President Joe Biden’s son Hunter and any individuals in the Trump administration who were the whistleblower’s sources.
On his own time, Trump has suggested that those behind the info in the whistleblower’s complaint should be executed like spies — so the House GOP’s request isn’t exactly occuring in a vacuum. Recently, the whistleblower’s legal team sent a formal cease and desist letter to White House counsel Pat Cipollone demanding that Trump stop his repeated public affronts against the whistleblower, which House Republicans have gleefully carried on with — although the bulk of the original whistleblower complaint has since been corroborated by witness testimony.
Trump spent much of his early Wednesday morning tweeting quotes from conservative commentators speaking in his favor. He and his supporters are going all out. He tweeted a quote from Fox News talking head Charlie Hurt:
‘Nancy Pelosi cares more about power than she does about principle. She did not want to go down this road. She realizes this is a huge loser for Democrats. The Founders envisioned the worst people being in politics, yet they couldn’t envision this. You have these people taking the most powerful tool the legislative branch has, Impeachment, & they’ve turned it into a political cudgel.’
In other words, for most of the time, they’re not even trying to engage on the substance of the issues — they’re just lashing out. Meanwhile, House Dems already have a full nine witnesses lined up for public testimony after today, including one more that will be speaking this week and eight coming next week.