Fold. Spindle. Mutilate. First Day Impressions.

Well, that was interesting. The “opening night” of the impeachment hearings is in the can, so I’ve turned off the boob tube, sat back, and contemplated something other than my belly button for a few minutes. There was a lot that went down today, but while I’ll point out a few anecdotes from the testimony, I ain’t the village scribe, and this won’t be an instant replay. Instead, I’m going to give my personal impressions of day one, and what I think it means to the future proceedings. Leading off. The Republicans are in a bad way here, and it’s not a situation totally of their own making. In the Mueller investigation, and associated hearings, due to the nature of the subject of the investigation, most of the participants were of a political nature. This was in the GOP’s “sweet spot.” They could portray the proceedings as purely partisan politics, and smear the witnesses as purely political hacks. This played nicely into Trump’s WITCH HUNT! narrative. The two witnesses today, as well as almost if not all future witnesses, are non political, non partisan career diplomatic and national security employees, who have served presidents of both parties for decades. They come across as calm, obviously capable, and earnest in their testimony. This makes it much harder, if not impossible for the GOP attack dogs to portray them as “Never Trumper’s” with a partisan “axe to grind.” Which is bad news for His Lowness, since it’s all he can offer. Second, the Democrats seriously have their shit together on this whole thing. Both Schiff as well as Democratic staff lawyer Daniel Goldman were devastatingly effective. Their questioning was crisp and to the point, and tended to be “open ended,” allowing the witnesses to be expansive with their answers. The Democrats also threw in a few leading questions, which I believe was intentional, in order to allow the witnesses to demure on answering “opinion” questions, proving their non partisan bona fides. They were also unified in their approach to the GOP’s bait and switch tactics. As I’ll go into below, when the GOP tried a purely deceitful or misleading line of attack, the next Democrat up to bat immediately yielded their time back to Schiff, who totally demolished the GOP’s attacks. On day one at least, they ran a textbook hearing. On the other hand, the GOP’s line of defense is a hot mess. In most cases,especially criminal cases, the defense settles on a single, cohesive line of defense. One of the most popular is the SODDI (Some Other Dude Did It) defense. But there are also ones like the alibi defense, as well as alternative evidence and others. But the point is that a defense normally pics a strategy, and sticks with it. To say that the Republicans are using a “scattershot” defense is generous at best. Not only are their defenses all over the place, they are often not only not complimentary to each other, they’re contradictory to each other. Here are just a few of their attempted cop outs, with the Democrats subsequent demolition of them; Jim Jordan spent an extended rant on quoting multiple interviews that Ukrainian President Zelensky gave to various outlets, in each case claiming that the phone call went perfectly, and that the Ukrainians felt no pressure from […]

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