October 24, 2019

There is so much broken, so much wrong, dishonest, hypocritical, dangerous and intellectually insulting about the stunt the 30 or so white male supremacy GOP brigade pulled yesterday at the hearing of Pentagon official Laura Cooper. At the core of this hypocrisy is the fact that while the GOP screams and tears their hair out over SECRECY and UNFAIRNESS, they neglect to mention that Republicans are in the same room with the Democrats and the witnesses, and they have exactly the same amount of time, and get to ask questions of the witnesses just like the Democrats do.

California Democratic Rep. Eric Swalwell joined John Berman on CNN to explain the proceedings.

BERMAN: I want you to explain to people who aren't in the room, and that includes me and all of us, what goes on behind closed doors? How do these closed door depositions work? Who gets to ask questions?

REP. SWALWELL: So it's a long conference table. At the end of the table sits the witness and a few lawyers. There's a stenographer taking every single word down. That's a court reporter essentially. On one side of the table are the Democratic members. On the other side are the Republican members. And staff for both sides. We start with an hour of questioning by the Democrats. Then an hour of questioning by the Republicans. Members or staff may ask questions and in many cases, both do. And then we go 45 minutes Democrats, 45 minutes over to the Republicans until both sides say they're done. It's not Democrats say we're done and we're out. It's when both sides say they have no further questions.

The two go on to establish that Republicans, indeed, HAVE been using their time to ask questions, though Swalwell lamented that they're not using their time wisely, in his opinion. Mostly, they're spending it trying to extract confirmation for their own conspiracy theories about 2016's election, and the farcical notion that it was Ukraine that interfered, rather than Russia. This, Swalwell said, seems to be drowning out the more legitimate concerns of other GOP members in the room, who aren't getting to ask their more relevant questions related to the matters at hand..

BERMAN: Even if you consider what they're asking to be conspiracy theories, they are being allowed to ask those questions, correct?

REP. SWALWELL: It's their right. They can -- you're right. They can spend their 60 minutes any way they like. They can do it in, you know, Russian if they want to ask the questions that way. But they have equal opportunity to ask the questions. There's no limitations on the questions that they ask. And there's no limitations on the number of members that can be in the room who are on the three committees.

Got that? There are no limitations on the number of Republicans who can be in the room on the three committees (Intelligence, Judicial, and Oversight.) In fact, Rep. Swalwell confirmed that some of the Gaetz Goons that stormed the castle like they were cos-playing Shrek actually HAD been invited to that particular hearing.

Furthermore, to their complaints about secrecy, there WILL be public hearings, but first there must be private hearings so that witnesses cannot coordinate their testimony, which Rep. Swalwell says there is evidence they are doing.

REP. SWALWELL: We know, however, we have evidence, very recently, that there are witnesses in our case who are talking to each other. That's exactly what we don't want to happen until we have that preliminary investigation. We don't want them to tailor the testimony to each other. We're trying to protect the information before we bring it forward to the public.

BERMAN: You have witnesses talking to each other?

REP. SWALWELL: Yes, yes we do. And that will become clearer in the next few weeks, I believe.

These proceedings don't have the benefit of a grand jury, where there is privacy and assurances of secrecy. That is critical in gathering evidence in an investigation, and these GOP criminals know that better than anyone.

Is it any wonder they're trying their damndest to prevent it from succeeding?

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