Fox News' Outnumbered Mean Girls had their scripts on Tuesday and were ready to unleash on decorated veteran and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman Tuesday morning. But when one of their own intervened with some facts, they turned on her.
Harris Faulkner led off by complaining that another witness is testifying but no one outside the room will know what he said.
Tarlov had a detailed and pointed response:
From there, they were off to the races, with Melissa Francis snarkily asking why hearings are behind closed doors if there was so much evidence. As if there weren't any considerations about classified information, or securing sworn testimony ahead of public testimony, or getting all the facts of the case before presenting it. These are all things these people know, because when they were conducting the Benghazi hearings, there was no shortage of closed-door testimony and other shenanigans. They just resent the shoe being on the other foot.
It went on. When Francis didn't win on the first process question, she moved to the next, upping the ante and moving the goalposts to ask why Democrats didn't just move to a full impeachment vote without any public hearings.
As if there was no need to make a record. We are not that stupid.
JESSICA: That is what's happening.
MELISSA: No, they're voting on the inquiry, not actual impeachment. I'm saying, if there's a mountain of evidence, get going.
JESSICA: But they are getting going.
JESSICA: Yes, this is the beginning of the open air trial, essentially, in the Democratic house. Which we know will be passed and then it will go for trial in the Senate.
Then they turned to the Fox News Mandate: Slime the witness and question his patriotism.
"To Brian's point, though, when you talk about how honorable [Vindman] is, probably," Francis snarked. "But I need to see that person. In Washington, sadly, I don't trust anybody anymore. On any side of the aisle."
Well, except for Dear Leader, of course.
Taken aback, Tarlov asked, "You think this is a deep state guy?"
"No, i'm not saying that," she demurred. "I want to hear with my own ears. We are at the point in our country, if somebody goes up and testifies to something that will try and reverse an election, I need to hear it with my own ears. I don't trust people's interpretations."
This isn't "reversing an election," of course. That isn't what impeachment is. Impeachment is how coups are prevented -- by removing the person abusing their power and ignoring the responsibility of their office.
"We are not sitting here, Jessica, disparaging this man's character, his record," Dagen McDowell purred. But of course, that is exactly what they are doing. When they tacitly nod at John Yoo's suggestion that Alexander Vindman is a spy, they are indeed disparaging his record, his character.
She continued, "To say that people on the other side of the aisle can't question or ask about or delve into his motives, his background, his interpretation of this call -- "
Harris interrupted, "And that's why you want a fair process. So everybody gets the opportunity to do that."
Bull. And everyone watching knows it.
There was more of this, with Tarlov interjecting with facts only to be dismissed with a terse "We get it" before they continued the flogging.
Finally, Dagen McDowell said, "The lack of due process is gross. Questioning a person who is testifying is due process." Note: Republicans have the right to question him.
"You think saying he's guilty of espionage is questioning him?" Tarlov asked.
"I'm not but you are saying basically Republicans don't have any ground to stand there and question his background, his interpretation, his bias potentially," said McDowell. "That is not the way the legal system works, and that is not fair."
That is EXACTLY how the legal system works during a preliminary hearing. In a Grand Jury proceeding, only the prosecutor presents evidence. But all of that misses the point: Impeachment is a political process, and it's defined by those politicians conducting the proceedings.
All day Tuesday, Fox News worked hard to discredit Lt. Col. Vindman by questioning his loyalty, his citizenship, and his character in a manner similar to the way these Outnumbered panelists did.
Perhaps it is because Vindman testified that there were intentional omissions from the summary of the call released by Trump.
The omissions, Colonel Vindman said, included Mr. Trump’s assertion that there were recordings of former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. discussing Ukraine corruption, and an explicit mention by Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, of Burisma Holdings, the energy company whose board employed Mr. Biden’s son Hunter.
Good for Tarlov, for defending the man. I hope she dishes it out again on Wednesday. The others look like the fools they are.