Representative Jim Jordan, Republican of Ohio, asks questions of witnesses in impeachment hearing.

Republicans Are Just Trying to Make the Impeachment Hearings as Unwatchable as Possible, Aren’t They?

My god, they are tiresome.
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Following this morning’s opening statements from William Taylor and George Kent, the first open impeachment hearing continued with questioning from each party’s official counsel. After that, they proceeded with the typical Congressional process of giving each Representative five minutes to question the witnesses.

It was as exhausting as ever. As usual, that meant we got five minutes apiece from Republicans playing exclusively to an audience of one.

Nearly all of the Republicans focused on a very small number of talking points: the whistleblower, “no quid pro quo,” and the fact that aid money for Ukraine was not held up, so therefore Trump couldn’t possibly have been attempting to leverage it in the first place.

Some attempted to bring the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign into the conversation for some major whataboutism but for the most part, they stuck to their limited script.

There were a few Republicans, though, who really went above and beyond in what appeared to be an attempt to drive everyone watching to throw their TVs and computers out the nearest window.

New York’s Elise Stefanik focused a ridiculous amount of attention, often in the form of interruptions, on trying to get the identity of the whistleblower, something Rep. Schiff made clear was not going to happen and wasn’t relevant to today’s hearing anyway.

Devin Nunes began the day by calling Trump’s request for an investigation into the Bidens a “conspiracy theory.” His entire opening statement was not so much a defense of Trump, though, as it was mocking the Democrats. He accused them of “trying to obtain nude pictures of Trump from Russian pranksters,” “leaking a false story to CNN,” and called them “the last people on Earth with the credibility to hurl more preposterous accusations at their political opponents.” But, again, no real defense of Trump.

But hands down, the worst person to talk today was–as is so often the case!–Jim Jordan.

First, Jordan flat out told Taylor that the information he received about a Trump conversation was wrong–something he has absolutely no basis for saying.

He repeatedly brought up the whistleblower, demanding to be able to question them and also making false statements about Schiff’s relationship with them.

He also, weirdly, tried to paint Trump as an anti-corruption hero of sorts.

And he did all of it with this energy:

There were a few highlights among the Democrats. Jim Himes of Connecticut calmly but directly called out the Republicans’ approach to the entire issue of impeachment as being dishonest and distracting.

“Faced with very serious allegations of presidential misconduct, my colleagues on the other side of the aisle don’t engage or defend that conduct. Rather, they spin theories about black ledgers and Steele dossiers,” he said.

Eric Swalwell shut down the Trump/Republican argument that these two men and anyone else who testifies before Congress is a “Never Trumper.”

Republicans have also been complaining that they aren’t getting to bring in as many witnesses as the Democrats and they criticize Democrats for bringing in witnesses that have large amounts of secondhand knowledge of some of the incidents being discussed.

Swalwell was, I believe, the only–or at least the first–lawmaker to point out that the people Republicans should want to hear from are refusing to show up.

Joaquin Castro also had a really strong line of questioning. His questions seemed to be for the benefit of the American people rather than an attempt to learn new information, but public perception is a huge part of this inquiry, so his time was well-used, for sure.

But the very best moment of the day came from Peter Welch, set up by Jordan’s refusal to stop talking about the whistleblower. Jordan said the Democrats won’t bring in “the guy who started it all.” To which Welch replied, “President Trump is welcome to take a seat right there.”

It was nice to get a genuine laugh out of the nearly six hours of testimony and questioning. But I was genuinely surprised by how light Taylor and Kent stayed through the whole day. Through the nearly six hours of testimony and questioning, they stayed remarkably breezy.

Honestly, the bowtie really brightened up the room.

Also, a reminder of the importance of staying hydrated!

Whew, what a day! So much happened that this is really only a tiny fraction of the big moments. Did I miss anything that stood out to you? Share in the comments!

(image: SAUL LOEB/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Vivian Kane
Vivian Kane (she/her) is the Senior News Editor at The Mary Sue, where she's been writing about politics and entertainment (and all the ways in which the two overlap) since the dark days of late 2016. Born in San Francisco and radicalized in Los Angeles, she now lives in Kansas City, Missouri, where she gets to put her MFA to use covering the local theatre scene. She is the co-owner of The Pitch, Kansas City’s alt news and culture magazine, alongside her husband, Brock Wilbur, with whom she also shares many cats.