We are just under 24 hours out from the first of the publicly facing House impeachment hearings. The first hearing begins tomorrow at 10:00 AM EST and if we have a functional blog, I’ll have a live feed up for you all.
Tomorrow’s hearings are Ambassador William Taylor, the Acting US Ambassador to Ukraine, at 10:00 AM and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs in the afternoon. The next day of public hearings will be Friday when Ambassador Yovanavitch, the former US Ambassador to Ukraine will be testifying.
Next week’s schedule was released earlier today.
Here's a look at public hearings scheduled for next week as part of the impeachment inquiry:
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman
— CNN (@CNN) November 13, 2019
The procedure for these hearings will be that the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI), Congressman Schiff, and the ranking member, Congressman Nunes, will each make an opening statement. Each session’s witness will then be given a chance to make an opening statement if they so desire. Questioning will begin with a forty-five minute round of questioning for the committee chair and ranking member, rather than the 5 minute rounds we’ve become accustomed to over the past several years. It has already announced that Congressman Schiff’s time will be taken by the majority (Committee) counsel, Dan Goldman, a former Federal prosecutor and former NBC/MSNBC legal analyst who was specifically hired by Congressman Schiff back in February to oversee this investigation. It is not clear yet whether Congressman Nunes will do the questioning himself, have his counsel conduct the questioning, or some combination thereof. It is important to remember that Congressman Schiff is, himself, a former Federal prosecutor and one of the few who has successfully prosecuted a case involving a US official engaged in spying for a hostile foreign power. Goldman was involved in very high profile prosecutions of Genovese crime organization members. Congressman Nunes has a degree in agriculture, states his occupation as farmer, but his family farm is now in Iowa, not in his congressional district in California. So expect more of the conspiracy theory laundering that Congressman Nunes has been doing throughout the closed door depositions when he could be bothered to actually show up to them.
After that, the questioning will devolve back to the alternating five minute blocks of questioning for each of the remaining Democratic and Republican members of the committee. I fully expect that the Republican members, like they do for every hearing, will have a coordinated a list of questions intended to derail and sidetrack the hearings into conspiracy theory territory so they can launder their misinformation, disinformation, and agitprop through the hearings. And since Congressman Jordan (R-Men’s Showers) has been temporarily placed on the committee so he can do his jacket off, sleeves rolled up, rapid fire, staccato badgering of witnesses, I fully expect a lot of the Republican questioning time will be yielded back to him so he can badger at will as we’ve seen in House Oversight Committee hearings earlier this year. The Democratic members of the committee, unlike their Republican counterparts, are largely former Federal and state prosecutors, law enforcement officers, and staff judge advocates in the US military so their questions will at least be on topic and germane even if they’re not coordinated. And they really should be coordinated, but I’m not counting on that type of message discipline in strategic communication.
Congressman Schiff has established the rules so that all of the various points of order and personal privilege and parliamentary procedure will be dealt with at the end of each hearing day to avoid the Republican members of the committee from grinding the hearing to a halt for up to an hour as soon as it begins as they’ve done with other high profile televised hearings over the past 10 months.
I have no idea what time the ritual bodily ejection of Congressman Gaetz (R-DUI) from the committee chambers is scheduled for. You’ll just have to watch the whole thing. Personally, I’m hoping Congressman Schiff has a Gaetz sized trebuchet installed so they can really go for distance! (that was sarcasm, lest anyone think I’m advocating for violence against Congressman Gaetz).
Expect a lot of what we already know from the now released deposition transcripts to be publicly confirmed. Expect the committee Republicans, their staff, and Congressman Gaetz to be disruptive and try to turn the hearings into a circus. And, provided the blog is actually up, running, and functioning with the change over to the new site, expect that I’ll have a live stream of the proceedings up as soon as I can get access.