Public impeachment inquiry hearings resumed Tuesday on Capitol Hill. After Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) spoke about the character and qualifications of the witnesses, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) used most of his opening statement calling the media “puppets of the Democratic Party” and questioning the motivations of the whistleblower.
NUNES statement focued almost entirely on media, recites a series of headlines re: Russia investigation that he says turned out to be false. (Some were decidedly not false and others were things that were investigated and later found to be false).
— Kyle Cheney (@kyledcheney) November 19, 2019
Nunes dismissed the testimony last week from career diplomats, saying that they had only expressed policy disagreements with the president. He then proceeded to read a bunch of Russia probe media headlines to support the idea that the impeachment inquiry is just another media-aided hoax.
Nunes gets things going by accusing the media of being “puppets of the Democratic Party.” (Vindman raised concerns about Trump’s conduct through government channels, not the media.) pic.twitter.com/XrKGqo9iug
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 19, 2019
“If you watched the impeachment hearings last week, you may have noticed a disconnect between what you actually saw and the mainstream media accounts describing it. What you saw were three diplomats, who dislike the President’s Ukraine policy, discussing second-hand and third-hand conversations about their objections,” Nunes began. “Meanwhile, they admitted they had not talked to the president about these matters, and they were unable to identify any crime or impeachable offense the President committed. But what you read in the press were accounts of shocking, damning, and explosive testimony that fully supports the Democrats’ accusations.”
“If these accounts have a familiar ring, it’s because this is the same preposterous reporting the media offered for three years on the Russia hoax. On a near-daily basis, the top news outlets in America reported breathlessly on the newest bombshell revelations showing that President Trump and everyone surrounding him are Russian agents. It really wasn’t long ago that we were reading these headlines,” he continued..
Nunes criticized “second-hand and third-hand” accounts while Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams, an aide to VP Mike Pence, were sitting in front of him. Both of these witnesses listened in real time to President Donald Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s July 25 phone call — the call that sparked a whistleblower complaint and the impeachment inquiry.
Conservative attorney George Conway didn’t like what Nunes had to say very much. He called Nunes’ statement and Nunes himself “pure garbage.”
Nunes is an utter disgrace. His statement, and he, are pure garbage.
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) November 19, 2019
“Nunes is an utter disgrace,” he said. “His statement, and he, are pure garbage.”
It seems Vindman didn’t like it either, as he promptly defended his colleagues.
“The character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants is reprehensible,” Vindman said. Vindman said he reported his concerns about the call to National Security Council (NSC) lawyer John Eisenberg because “it is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigation a U.S. citizen and political opponent.”
"I was concerned by the call, what I heard was improper, and I reported my concerns… It is improper for the President of the U.S. to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent… When I reported my concerns I did so out of a sense of duty." pic.twitter.com/e7NeXu9KVH
— House Intelligence Committee (@HouseIntel) November 19, 2019
Nunes is the merely the latest Republican to become the target of Conway’s ire. Donald Trump Jr., Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.), and Nikki Haley have all been on the receiving end of Conway’s Twitter criticisms.
It didn’t take long for others to mention that Nunes saw fit to sue a Twitter cow for defamation.
Rep. Devin Nunes, whose views on freedom of expression is best symbolized by a defamation lawsuit against a cartoon Twitter cow, begins his opening statement with a full-bore attack on the news media, which he called “puppets of the Democratic Party.”
— Adam Klasfeld (@KlasfeldReports) November 19, 2019
[Image via Mark Wilson and Getty Images]
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