New York Congressman and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler has again orchestrated yet another legislative embarrassment for the Democrats. This time it was in conjunction with the testimony of Attorney General William Barr.
By way of history, you should recall how House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sidetracked Nadler in the impeachment hearings. Every other impeachment was handled by the Judiciary Committee, as is constitutionally required – but knowing Nadler’s ham-handed handling of political and legislative matters, Pelosi took the unprecedented action of having the House Intelligence Committee – chaired by California Congressman Adam Schiff – carry out what Pelosi referred to as “a preliminary inquiry.” The Judiciary Committee was only brought in at the final moment – without any witness hearings – to officially rubber stamp the Intel Committee recommendation.
When the impeachment went to trial … rather than being the primary presenter of the House case, Nadler was relegated to the least of the several House members on the prosecutorial team. Evidence of the demotion of Nadler was seen at the end of the trial – when Nadler rose to close out the case. Schiff literally beat him to the microphone and Nadler sheepishly withdrew to his seat.
The lack of confidence in Nadler’s handling anything of importance first surfaced in conjunction with the confirmation hearings for Justices Neal Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh – both of whom were confirmed despite united Democrat opposition. Both hearings were often described as political circuses.
Well, Nadler has again taken center ring in the political big top – and it has again proven to be the clown show.
If you watch the coverage on CNN or MSNBC – which always includes the participation of the New York Times and the Washington Post – you might be led to believe that Barr was humbled by the tough questioning from the Democrat members of the panel. Of course, the networks did not show – or interview – any of the Republican members. The spin was in.
If you had watched the actual hearings, you might – and probably would have – come to a far different conclusion. The Nadler-led team had no interest in questioning Barr – as in having him actually answer questions. Member after member cut the Attorney General short. The Democrats were hell-bent on pontificating, berating and political posturing. There were no inquiring minds among the majority Democrats.
In one instance – when Barr refused to have his answer cut off – the member asked Nadler to extend his time so that he, the member, could continue to speechify. In another instance when Barr wished to answer, Washington State Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal cut him off – declaring that she, not Barr, is in control of who speaks on her time.
The refusal to let Barr fully respond was so frequent that it brought understandable criticism from Republicans on the panel – and, at one point, Barr said that he thought he was the one to be heard in such a hearing.
The animus against Barr was palpable – and comical — when the Attorney General requested a 10-minute bathroom break and Nadler said “no.”
While most of the complaints came from Barr and the Republicans, Nadler was not praised by the hometown fans. Attorney Daniel Goldman – who had been one of the prosecution attorneys for the impeachment – tweeted this brief critique. “Ineffective opening line of questioning by @RepJerryfNadler.”
Once again, the Munchkin-esque chairman of the Judiciary Committee has spoiled what House Democrats were hoping would be a defining moment. In fact, many had openly suggested that it could lead to the impeachment of the Attorney General. As it turned out, if anyone is to lose their job after the hearing, it is more likely to be Chairman Nadler. For the House Republicans, he is that gift that keeps giving.
So, there ‘tis.