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Gaetz scorches Karlan for invoking Barron Trump, then brings hammer down on rest of Dem witnesses

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Rep. Matt Gaetz unloaded on the impeachment panel witnesses and their lack of firsthand knowledge on the case against President Trump, targeting law professor Pamela Karlan for her jab at the president’s son.

In a testy exchange during Wednesday’s House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing, the Florida Republican confronted Karlan about her earlier remarks on Barron Trump which earned her a swift rebuke from first lady Melania Trump.

(Video: Reuters)

“When you invoke the president’s son’s name here, when you try to make a little joke out of referencing Barron Trump, that does not lend credibility to your argument,” Gaetz told the anti-Trump Stanford Law professor, referring to her earlier comments.

While answering an earlier question by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Karlan made a point about Trump’s authority as president versus that of a king.

“The Constitution says there can be no titles of nobility, so while the president can name his son ‘Barron’, he can’t make him a baron,” she told the Texas Democrat.

Gaetz brought up the remark during his questioning time.

“It makes you look mean, it makes you look like you are attacking someone’s family – the minor child of the president of the United States,” he said.

The Florida lawmaker had preceded his rebuke of Karlan with a note about comments she had made about conservatives. As he spoke, Karlan attempted to jump in and defend herself, prompting Gaetz to fire back, “You don’t get to interrupt me on this time.”

After calling out the biased professor for her remarks about Trump’s son, Gaetz put a question to all the witnesses: Karlan, UNC-Chapel Hill Professor Michael Gerhardt, Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman and George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley- the only Republican.

Gaetz asked the scholars, who were not actually called as fact witnesses but as “experts,” to raise their hands if they had any direct knowledge of anything in the impeachment inquiry report by the House Intelligence Committee.

“So let’s see if we can get into the facts. To all of the witnesses, if you have personal knowledge of a single material fact in the Schiff report, please raise your hand,” he said as, not surprisingly, not a single person raised a hand.

“And let the record reflect no personal knowledge of a single fact, and you know what, that continues on the tradition we saw from Adam Schiff,” Gaetz said, listing examples. “Ambassador Taylor could not identify an impeachable offense. Mr. Kent never met with the president. Fiona Hill never heard the president reference anything regarding military aid. Mr. Hale was unaware of any activity with aid. Col. Vindman rejected the talking point that bribery was invoked here. Ambassador Volker denied there was a quid pro quo and Mr. Morrison said there wasn’t anything on the call.”

“The only direct evidence was Mr. Sondland, who spoke to the president and the president said, ‘I want nothing, no quid pro quo.’ And you know what, if wiretapping a political opponent is an impeachable offense, I look forward to the Inspector General’s report, and maybe it’s a different president we should be impeaching,” he said, apparently making a reference to former President Obama.

Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert earlier had ripped Chairman Jerrold Nadler’s claim in his opening statement that the facts are “undisputed,” calling the case “a bunch of hearsay on hearsay.”

“We need some factual witnesses,” Gohmert said. “We do not need to receive a report that we don’t have a chance to read before this hearing. We need a chance to bring in actual fact witnesses.”

Frieda Powers

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