The second day of the Democrats’ dog and pony impeachment show trial got off to a contentious start as Republican lawmakers made it clear that they intend to be heard.
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, noted in his opening statement that Congress has not yet approved funding for the government which expires next week.
“Instead, the Democrats have convened us once again to advance their operation to topple a duly elected president. I’ll note that five—five—Democrats on this committee had already voted to impeach this president before the Trump-Zelensky phone call occurred,” the Republican lawmaker said.
“In fact, Democrats have been vowing to oust President Trump since the day he was elected. So Americans can rightly suspect that his phone call with President Zelensky was used as an excuse for the Democrats to fulfill their Watergate fantasies,” Nunes added.
He accused Democrats of staging “six weeks of secret depositions in the basement of the Capitol — like some kind of cult,” adding that after Wednesday’s opening hearing, “the American people finally got to see this farce for themselves.”
Nunes also saw fit to read into the record the transcript of President Trump’s first call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Zelensky had just been elected and there was no mention of investigations or former Vice President Joe Biden during the phone call.
The White House released a transcript of the call just before Friday’s hearing began and Nunes took advantage of the opportunity to include it in the record.
JUST IN: White House releases transcript of Trump’s first call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. pic.twitter.com/0vdFYanjsN
— Andrew Desiderio (@AndrewDesiderio) November 15, 2019
Nunes yielded back after he finished reading the transcript, but before Schiff could get a full sentence in, Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., interrupted with a point of order.
“Will the chairman continue to prohibit witnesses from answering Republican questions, as you’ve done in closed hearings and did this week when you interrupted our questions?” Stefanik asked.
Schiff dismissed her question for not being a proper point of order and again tried to comment on the transcript of Trump’s first call with Ukraine, only to have Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, raise a point of order.
Pounding his gavel, the chairman refused to recognize Jordan’s query.
“Holy cow,” Jordan is heard saying.
Schiff proceeds to call Trump out for not releasing other documents they seek only to have Jordan interrupt again to say he’s requesting that Schiff release the transcripts of four witness depositions.
Refusing to recognize Jordan, the Democrat proceeded to accuse President Trump of “obstructing” their impeachment investigation.
Stefanik tried again to be recognized and Jordan continued to protest, but Schiff stubbornly and with spite pounded away with his gavel while getting in his talking points against the president.
The tension of the moment was palpable and this was the opening minutes of the day’s hearing.
Schiff would then move to introduce the day’s star witness, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
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