If you read just one summary of Wednesday’s first day of public impeachment hearings on Capitol Hill, make it this piece from Dana Milbank of The Washington Post:
Of all the excuses, defenses, distractions and outright non sequiturs President Trump’s defenders deployed at Wednesday’s first public impeachment hearing — the whistleblower is biased! Hunter Biden is corrupt! Adam Schiff wanted nude photos of Trump! — the most telling came from Steve Castor, the Republicans’ chief counsel, as he questioned Bill Taylor, America’s man in Kyiv.
Describing the “irregular channel” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his team of “amigos” used to coerce Ukraine’s president to announce investigations into Trump’s political opponents, Castor asked Taylor: “In fairness, this irregular channel of diplomacy, it’s not as outlandish as it could be — is that correct?”
Taylor seemed to think Castor was telling a joke. “It’s not as outlandish as it could be,” he said with a laugh. “I agree.”
True! Giuliani could have conducted the entire scheme in drag. Or they could have threatened the Ukrainian president with a Nerf gun instead of merely withholding military aid. But Castor wasn’t kidding. He defended his point at length, then asked again: “It may be irregular, but it’s certainly not outlandish?”
Taylor smiled, shook his head and nodded, as if to convey: Whatever you say.
As the website Law & Crime notes, Wednesday’s performance by Republican attorney Steve Castor was a “trainwreck” worthy of the intense derision it received on social media. As John Harris writes for Politico, the first day of public hearings was a “brutal day for the President.”
And this is only the beginning.