Wednesday’s “star witnesses” — George Kent and Bill Taylor — in House impeachment hearings were supposed to deliver testimony that would go up like a rocket and stay there.
Sadly for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff, and the rest of the Democratic Party, their testimony fizzled out before the spark made it all the way up the fuse.
Perhaps Taylor and Kent were unprepared. But given their coaching in private deposition, as well as the weeks of work that went into their opening and public statements, that idea stretches credulity. (RELATED: The President Is About To Get CNN Legally Designated As Fake News)
More realistic is that the Democrats — forced by Congressman Matt Gaetz and others to shift from private to public hearings — had no “bombshell” after all, despite what they’ve been selectively leaking for weeks.
Any nonpartisan reading of yesterday’s hearings would yield big fat bupkis as far as the public is concerned.
There were a lot of consonant-filled names, a plethora of places ordinary people don’t care about, and a whole load of hearsay. And that’s not my interpretation. Democratic Congressman Mike Quigley even had the audacity to claim, live on national television, that “hearsay can be much better evidence than direct [experience].”
We saw Rep. Jim Jordan destroying Taylor’s claim that he was testifying about anything other than third- or fourth-hand information; Rep. Elise Stefanik skewering the “national security” narrative by reminding the nation it is the Trump administration — unlike his predecessor’s — which furnished Ukraine with weapons to defend against Russia instead of blankets (seriously); and finally, the “big bombshell” that failed to detonate.
“Last Friday, a member of my staff told me of events that occurred on July 26,” Taylor said in his opening statement. “While Ambassador [Kurt] Volker and I visited the front [of the Ukraine-Russia conflict], this member of my staff accompanied Ambassador Gordon Sondland. Ambassador Sondland met with Mr. [Andriy] Yermak. Following that meeting, in the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv. The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about ‘the investigation.’ Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward. Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for.”
That sounds bad, if credible. But is it credible?
Let’s be clear about this. (RELATED: Calabresi: House Democrats Violate The 6th Amendment By Denying Trump A Public Trial)
An ambassador with distinct and admitted foreign policy differences with his boss, the president, is now claiming that a phone call occurred which a staff member of his overheard both sides of, in a restaurant, four months ago, and no one was told about that call until last Friday. Not even Taylor.
That means either the staffer lied, covered it up, forgot about it, or it never happened at all. All are equally plausible at this point.
The call may have happened. But how can we rely on the details of an overheard call in a public place to be correct? Are the Democrats really hoping the American public will wish for a president to be impeached on the eavesdropping of a junior member of diplomatic staff in Ukraine, from four months ago?
It’s another non-starter.
So we’ll see a pivot back to the claim that former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was bullied out of her position when she appears in public on Nov. 15.
There’ll probably be tears. She’ll talk about fearing for her life. And we’ll all be expected to feel sorry for the Canadian-born career diplomat who grew up speaking Russian after her parents fled the Soviet Union.
The work of House Republicans tomorrow will be to shift Yovanovitch away from emotion and onto the facts.
The fact is Yovanovitch and her colleagues were upset and demoralized not because they were Obama-holdovers who were “bullied” (expect to hear that word tomorrow) out of their positions. But because the Trump administration has a distinctly different way of doing things. (RELATED: Kassam: Australia’s Left Wants To Ban Me; Is This What Tolerance Looks Like?)
A way that puts the interests of Americans — not Ukrainians or Ukrainian corporations — first.
The president and House Republicans need to lean into the narrative the media is spinning. They claim Trump is “highly irregular” when it comes to foreign policy.
“That’s right,” he should say. “I am”.
After decades of failures by America’s foreign policy establishment, from the South China Sea to the Middle East to Eurasia, to Latin America — 2016 marked a moment where Americans wanted to upend the whole thing. They got what they voted for. No amount of lamentation or tears by Taylor, Yovanovitch or Schiff should be able to change that.
Raheem Kassam (@RaheemKassam) co-hosts “War Room” with Stephen K. Bannon and Jason Miller. He is the author of two bestselling books: “No Go Zones” and “Enoch Was Right.” He is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project and the Bow Group.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.