Can you BELIEVE it? Shifty Schiff is ABUSING his chairmanship and REFUSING to allow DULY ELECTED Members of Congress to ask questions, all because they are REPUBLICANS! Aren’t you OUTRAGED?!
(Again with the “duly elected.” Lord, give me patience.)
Watch the clip if you’d like to see a textbook example of a publicity stunt. If you don’t want to watch it, I’ll briefly explain: Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee, tries to yield to (give speaking time to) Elise Stefanik, a Republican Congresswoman from New York. Adam Schiff, the Democrat Committee Chairman, gavels her down and tells her she’s not recognized (doesn’t allow her to speak.) Stefanik snaps that this is the fifth time Schiff has interrupted duly elected Members of Congress, and Nunes expresses disbelief: “You’re gagging the young lady from New York?”
To the average American, and especially the average Republican, it looks like that’s what’s happening. Schiff is a big old meany. A evil, misogynistic, Demonrat meany.
Nunes and Stefanik knew that’s how it would look.
They also know the rules. The House passed the rules for how this impeachment process would be run two weeks ago. Everything Congress does is run by rules. According to the rules that were just voted on and approved, Nunes gets 45 minutes straight of questioning time. He can use those minutes himself, or he can yield them to minority staff counsel (the GOP staff attorney, Stephen Castor.) He cannot yield any of those 45 minutes to other representatives. It’s against the rules. After each side’s 45 minutes, each sitting member then gets 5 minutes of questioning time. That’s how it works.
Nunes and Stefanik know this. They’re not stupid; they’re not ignorant; they didn’t forget. They knew exactly how that little scene would play out, and that’s why they did it. So that Elise Stefanik could play victim, so she could rack up brownie points with Trump’s base, so they could make Adam Schiff out to be a villain. They know they can count on Fox News to back up their version (which it obediently did, splashing “GAGGING THE GENTLEWOMAN” across its website.) And they know they can count on the majority of Republicans to credulously believe everything they say.
And of course, Elise Stefanik knows she can turn this manufactured outrage into sweet, sweet campaign cash.
Here’s Rep. Stefanik questioning the witness at the same hearing she’s telling her constituents that Adam Schiff flat out REFUSED to allow her to ask questions in because she’s a Republican:
My Republican friends, they are lying to you. They are manipulating you. They are counting on you to be gullible and ignorant. It’s condescending and offensive.
But you don’t have to put up with it. You don’t have to allow yourself to be manipulated. We can demand better from our leaders. We can demand better leaders.
Don’t vote for people who lie to you. Don’t vote for people who think you’re stupid.