Americans had a front-row seat for Day One of impeachment inquiry hearings in the House on Wednesday. But missing from the testimony on Capitol Hill was the “witness” who started it all. Six grueling hours of testimony by two hearsay witnesses shed little light on the allegations against President Trump.
Neither George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state for Europe nor William Taylor, the charge d’affaires in Kiev had firsthand information and both clearly had an ax to grind over their differences with the president on foreign policy.
More interesting than their testimony was the complete whitewashing of any reference to the original whistleblower, whose second-hand allegations so deeply concerned House Democrats that they opened an official impeachment inquiry – a process they had three times explicitly rejected in previous House votes.
What was so compelling about the testimony of this witness that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who had long held that impeachment should only proceed as a bipartisan effort, would abandon her position and pursue a one-sided inquiry?
Americans still don't know.
In the first day of testimony, there was barely any mention of the original witness or the transcript of the call that lies at the center of the allegations.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff went to great lengths to suppress any reference to the witness during the first day of testimony, even going so far as to claim (laughably) that he doesn't know who the witness is.
Let’s think about that for a moment. We know that the whistleblower met with Schiff’s STAFF. Are we supposed to believe that the Congressman stepped out of the office when he arrived or hid in another room when the whistleblower meeting took place?
The notion that Adam Schiff doesn't know the identity of a whistleblower so many in Washington can already identify by name is laughable.
Is Schiff trying to tell us that his staff told him, “We’ve just met with the whistleblower.” To which he replied, “don’t tell me his name! I don’t want to meet him! But let me use everything he just told you to impeach the president.” Who could believe that? Such a scenario is not only ridiculous, but it would also be irresponsible.
Remember, this is the same Schiff whose promises of "ample evidence of collusion in plain sight" were repudiated by the final Mueller Report. He is hardly a beacon of credibility, but the notion that he doesn't know the identity of a whistleblower so many in Washington can already identify by name is laughable.
He Who Must Not Be Named is not expected to testify at all. That's totally unacceptable.
The American people cannot be expected to accept a partisan impeachment inquiry in which only one side calls witnesses, exculpatory evidence is suppressed, and the primary witness cannot be identified, much less questioned. Particularly given the fact that the whistleblower is no whistleblower, having no firsthand knowledge of the allegations. But he or she does have firsthand knowledge of the machinations within the White House designed to thwart a sitting president. That testimony is relevant.
We know what justice looks like. This is not justice. The House Intelligence Committee is neither an impeachment committee nor a Grand Jury.
With great fanfare, Speaker Pelosi initiated the formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump in September promising that, "no one is above the law." She claimed the president's actions "have seriously violated the Constitution."
That’s not what viewers saw on this first day of public testimony. If there are violations of the law or the Constitution by this president, these witnesses couldn't testify to it. Their accounts were based on hearsay, opinion and media reports.
If anyone has been treated as though they are above the law, it is this so-called whistleblower.
If no one is above the law, we have a right to learn how the whistleblower came to be in possession of classified information he or she was unauthorized to possess.
We deserve to know when and how that information came to be in the hands of House Democrats, the extent to which the impeachment effort has been coordinated, and the names of anyone else in the White House actively working with Democrats to take down the duly elected President of the United States.