As the Republican Party’s minority counsel began asking Ambassador William Taylor a question about possible Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election relating to Hillary Clinton’s candidacy, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) interrupted and told Taylor that he did not need to answer questions from Republicans.
When Steve Castor, the attorney representing the Republican Party during the House impeachment hearings, asked a question to Taylor, Schiff immediately chimed in to instruct Taylor on his response.
Castor asked, “You certainly can appreciate that President Trump was very concerned that some elements of the Ukrainian establishment were not in favor him, did not support him, and were out to get him?”
Before Taylor could reply, Schiff interrupted.
“If I can, I’ll allow the question but, umm-” said Schiff, prompting Castor to quizzically ask what Schiff was doing.
“Parliamentary inquiry, are you seriously interrupting our time here,” asked Castor.
Schiff, staring strongly at Taylor while pointing his finger and moving his head, then proceeded to instruct Taylor on answering the question.
“I’ll allow the question, I won’t dock this from the time. Umm, I just want to be clear, ambassador, if you’re able to verify the things that counsel has asked you in the prerequisite of the question that’s fine,” said Schiff. “Otherwise in questions from the majority or the minority that might assume facts not in evidence before you, you should be cautioned by that.”
Republicans believe this episode represents Schiff acting as an unofficial counsel for Taylor, offering him advice on what type of questions asked by Republicans he should answer.
At another point in today’s hearing, Taylor began laughing after he was grilled intensely by Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), who pointed out the tenuous communication chain Taylor used to gain understanding of the alleged quid pro quo between President Donald Trump and the Ukrainian president.
National File reported:
Jordan then referred to Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s statement that apparently led to Taylor “clear understanding” of quid pro quo.
“Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told Ambassador Taylor that I told Mr. Morrison that I conveyed this message to Mr. Yermak on September 1, 2019, in connection with Vice President Pence’s visit to Warsaw and a meeting with President Zelenskiy,” Jordan quoted from Sondland’s statement.
Jordan then continued to grill Taylor on the issue.
“We’ve got six people having four conversations in one sentence,” said Jordan. “And you just told me this is where you got your clear understanding.”
Republicans have largely seen today’s impeachment hearing as a victory and a dark day for Democrats.