Adam Schiff's desperate experiment--the baseless impeachment of President Donald Trump--will be forced out of the clandestine Capitol basement Sensitive Compartmentalized Information Facility (SCIF) and into the unforgiving light of daytime television.
If you have been following Steve Bannon's daily podcast, "War Room: Impeachment" at warroom.org, you're aware of the many twists and turns of the closed-door proceedings thus far. Though it is difficult to sum up everything thus far in a few lines, we'll take a crack at it:
President Trump releasing the Zelensky call transcript was a master stroke which took all the mystery out of the proceedings. Schiff has proceeded despite having his bluff called. Witnesses have been subpoenaed, testimony has been given. By all conservative witnesses to the SCIF hearings, testimony has been mixed. Some have supported Schiff's claim that Trump's dealings with Zelensky were illegal, others have disputed that notion entirely.
The three major networks plan to break into their daytime programming for the first two live segments of the hearings on Wednesday at 10:00 am and Friday at 9:00 am. If you want a deep dive, turn to cable: FOX is providing wall-to-wall coverage beginning an hour before the hearings and long after they end. MSNBC and CNN are taking the same approach. For more information, click here.
William Taylor, George Kent, and Marie Yovanovitch are expected to testify this week. All three have testified already in private, and transcripts of their testimony have been released. Taylor is a diplomat to Ukraine, Kent is the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, and Yovanovitch is the former ambassador to Ukraine, relieved of her post by Trump.
Expect Schiff to open with his best material. Also, don't expect to see any witnesses requested by Republicans such as the alleged whistleblower or Hunter Biden, whose questionable dealings with Ukraine through his father Joe's influence are at the root of this entire affair. All six witnesses were turned down by Schiff.
That's right, President Trump won't have the right to confront his accuser.
Lawmakers are typically given five minutes to question witnesses, but Schiff and Devin Nunes may ask for additional time, up to 45 minutes per witness, or they may choose to yield to a staff attorney. Ultimately, Schiff has final say.
After the hearings, the House resolution states that the Intelligence Committee must prepare recommendations for the House Judiciary Committee, which will in turn hold its own hearings and draft articles of impeachment if it sees fit. The articles would be presented to the full House for a vote.
Bottom line: tomorrow is the first in a long line of days in which Democrats hold most of the levers. This is Schiff's little show, and he will run it exactly as he wants. Prepare to be frustrated, but keep in mind the following: it has been consistently shown that Trump's primary concern was not to send millions in aid to a wildly corrupt country with a new president (a former stand-up comic) elected on an anti-corruption platform.
Also, Schiff's heavy-handed approach may backfire. It's hard to make a kangaroo court appear impartial.
As for Hunter Biden, the mainstream media is marching in lockstep: "No evidence that either Hunter or Joe Biden did anything illegal." Despite the fact that Joe Biden plainly did what Democrats accuse Trump of doing, and Hunter enriched himself in an industry about which he knew precisely zero.
More to come.
Subscribe to our evening newsletter to stay informed during these challenging times!!