House Republicans keep trying to turn the impeachment hearings into a circus but, like Homey the Clown, Adam Schiff don’t play that. It’s time for my scattershot take on yesterday’s hearing.
—> I almost felt sorry for Jennifer Williams. She was the sideshow, Lt. Col. Vindman was the main event. On the other hand, no one questioned her patriotism or impugned her integrity. Perhaps it’s because she started life as a GOP operative before joining the Foreign Service.
Her testimony neither helped nor hurt her boss, Mike Pence. It did, however, damage *his* boss as well as frustrate committee Republicans who could no longer rant about hearsay and indirect evidence. Williams heard what she heard and told the truth about it. It’s what a good citizen does.
My favorite Jennifer Williams moment was when she hopped into a cab after testifying.
—> Vindman started off jittery and camera shy BUT he warmed to the task brilliantly. This was not a man desperate for attention, publicity, and acclaim. That’s the guy whose conduct he described as inappropriate and wrong: Donald J. Trump.
Both Devin Nunes and oily GOP counsel Steve Castor tried to slime and otherize Vindman. A high point was when Vindman insisted that the rank ranking member call him by his title: Lt. Colonel, not Mister. I halfway expected Nunes to break out in a Mr. Mister song.
Castor went on and on and on about a putative job offer from a Ukrainian official for Vindman to be that country’s minister of defense. It was an offer that Vindman did not take seriously but Castor acted as if it proved he was disloyal and unpatriotic. The whole thing was nauseating. It turned into a set-up for the Colonel to proclaim he didn’t take the job because “I’m an American.”
—> Whistleblower, whistleblower, whistleblower.
—> Jim Jordan tried to score points but Vindman refused to be his punching bag. Vindman swatted Gym away like the annoying fly he is. Jordan seemed to understand that he’d been bested by Vindman and just howled at the moon when he got his second bite at the apple.
—> After his encounter with the unjacketed and unhinged one, Vindman grew in confidence and scored point after point. He also showed a dry sense of humor when asked what languages he spoke, “Russian, Ukrainian, and a little bit of English.”
—> New York Democrat Sean Patrick Maloney threw Vindman a hanging fastball of a question, which the V Man hit out of the park:
MALONEY: Why do you have confidence that you can … tell your dad not to worry?
VINDMAN: Congressman, because this is America. This is the country I've served and defended. That all of my brothers have served. And here, right matters.
MALONEY: Thank you, sir.
Applause break out.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) November 19, 2019
Before the afternoon session, there was a lot of big talk from Republicans about how Kurt Volker and really tall guy, Tim Morrison, would defend the indefensible. These were their witnesses. Things did not go quite as planned,
Both Volker and Morrison confirmed the outlines of the scheme while trying not to piss off their fellow GOPers. Their conduct showed the difference between career civil servants like the previous witnesses and political appointees like these two jokers.
I didn’t watch the entire afternoon session because overexposure to House Republicans is hazardous to one’s mental health. If I had to listen to Jim Jordan holler one more time, I might have been ready for the laughing academy. I wish he’d use his inside voice but I don’t think he has one.
One of the funniest things I saw about the afternoon session came from New Orleans writer Michael Tisserand:
Day Three of public hearings wraps up with Fred Gwynne and George Goebel completing their testimonies.
— Michael Tisserand (@m_tisserand) November 20, 2019
Google Fred (Herman Munster) Gwynne and Lonesome George Goebel and you’ll see what’s so funny.
The last word goes to Robbie Robertson and U2: