Republicans are gearing up to fight the public phase of the House impeachment inquiry by doing … more of the same thing they’ve been doing all along. Their witness wish list indicates they want to out the whistleblower—even though basically everything the whistleblower reported has already been corroborated by other witnesses—and continue to attack the Biden family via calling Hunter Biden as a witness, an attempt to continue the work Donald Trump started with his Ukraine extortion.
Republicans are also setting up their cast of characters carefully. They’ve moved a key staffer from the House Oversight Committee to be shared with the Intelligence Committee so that he can participate in questioning. And, of course, they’ve also moved Rep. Jim Jordan from Oversight, because rather than thinking it’s a liability that Jordan shrugged off reports of a team doctor’s sexual abuse of college wrestlers he was coaching, they see it as valuable experience for dismissing Trump’s abuses of power.
“You want your best contributors for ‘showtime.’ Driving public opinion is key to many—on both sides of the aisle,” a Republican lawmaker told Politico. “Jordan is definitely a showman.” That’s one way of putting it. “Sweaty creep who’s not as smart as he thinks he is” is another, but it’s instructive that Jordan’s style of aggressive but dense questioning plays well with the Republican base.
The Republican plan, then: try to go on the counterattack by outing the whistleblower and continuing Trump’s attacks on the Bidens. Scream “sham” whenever possible. Pivot from complaining that the first stage of the inquiry was held behind closed doors to following Trump’s Friday complaint that “They shouldn’t be having public hearings. This is a hoax.” Pin their hopes on Gym Jordan’s appeal to the public. And presumably they’re planning more storm-the-SCIF type of stunts.
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