The impeachment hearings into Donald Trump continued today and Republicans still have absolutely no idea how to offer anything even vaguely resembling a credible defense of the president’s actions.
It has become abundantly clear that Trump withheld much-needed military aid to Ukraine and sought to use it as leverage to strongarm the president of the wartorn Eastern European country into opening a sham investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter in the hopes of damaging the former vice president’s 2020 prospects.
There is no benign explanation for such flagrant abuse of power and the president’s insistence that he was genuinely concerned about rooting out corruption in Ukraine flies in the face of everything we know about the man. Trump is and always has been a source of corruption, not a solution for it.
During the hearing today, Rep. Mike Johnson (R-LA) interrupted the proceedings for a “point of order” and accused witness Barry Burke, a lawyer and the special oversight counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, of violating “rule seventeen.” Johnson complained that Burke’s testimony “impugns the motives of the president and suggests he’s disloyal to his country” and that such words should be “stricken from the record and taken down.”
Johnson’s claim was ridiculous at face value because all the evidence and testimonies accumulated thus far indicate nefarious motives on the part of the president and that he is at best apathetic towards the country. He sees his presidency as a way to personally enrich himself and his cronies and little more.
Chairman Jerry Nadler (D-NY) shot down the absurd complaint and explained that witnesses are “not subject to the rule of decorum” the way members of the Committee are. Nadler went on to say that the entire point of the hearing is to get to the bottom of the president’s conduct and as such testimony critical of Trump is to be expected. He ruled that the witness was not being disorderly and that his comments were pertinent.
Johnson pushed back and said that Burke was being “unparliamentary” and should be “taken down.” He whined that it’s not fair to talk about the president’s “motive and character.” Nadler overruled him and still, Johnson pushed back, disrupting the proceedings in a clear effort to derail them and shield Trump from criticism. It was a pathetic showing from the GOP Congressman and a clear sign that he is more interested in partisan games than getting to the truth of Trump’s behavior.
Watch the clip below.
Top Republican demands witness testimony in impeachment hearing be stricken from the record since it "impugns the motives of the President." pic.twitter.com/fKpE9iVA1v
— Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) December 9, 2019