House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) slammed Democrats for an obvious reprise of the Trump-Russia hoax during his opening statement in the first public impeachment hearing Wednesday morning.
“After the spectacular implosion of their Russia hoax on July 24, in which they spent years denouncing any Republican who ever shook hands with a Russian, on July 25 they turned on a dime and now claim the real malfeasance is Republicans’ dealings with Ukraine,” Nunes said in his opening statement.
“In the blink of an eye, we’re asked to simply:
- forget about Democrats on this committee falsely claiming they had “more than circumstantial evidence” of collusion between President Trump and the Russians;
- forget about them reading fabrications of Trump-Russia collusion from the Steele dossier into the congressional record;
- forget about them trying to obtain nude pictures of Trump from Russian pranksters who pretended to be Ukrainian officials;
- forget about them leaking a false story to CNN, while he was testifying to our committee, claiming Donald Trump Jr. had colluded with Wikileaks;
- and forget about countless other deceptions, large and small, that make them the last people on earth with the credibility to hurl more preposterous accusations at their political opponents.
Nunes called the latest effort another “carefully orchestrated media smear campaign.”
He compared the impeachment inquiry to a play, where Democrats essentially put witnesses through an “audition process in a cult-like atmosphere in the basement of the Capitol,” where witnesses were deemed suitable for television.
“What we will witness today is a televised theatrical performance staged by the Democrats. Ambassador Taylor and Mr. Kent—I’d like to welcome you here, and congratulate you for passing the Democrats’ Star Chamber auditions held for the last six weeks in the basement of the Capitol,” Nunes told the witnesses.
“It seems you agreed, wittingly or unwittingly, to participate in a drama. But the main performance—the Russia hoax—has ended, and you’ve been cast in the low-rent Ukrainian sequel,” he said.
Nunes slammed Democrats for releasing a “flood of misleading and one-sided leaks, and later selectively released transcripts in a highly staged manner,” he said.
He said at the same time, Democrats have also rejected Republican-requested witnesses, including Hunter Biden. “Notably, they are trying to impeach the President for inquiring about Hunter Biden’s activities, yet they refused our request to hear from Biden himself,” he said.
He said Democrats have also prevented the “whistleblower” from testifying, breaking a promise to have him testify.
Nunes recalled how House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) at a prior hearing, made up a “purely fictitious rendition” of President Trump’s July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“They clearly found the real conversation to be insufficient for their impeachment narrative, so they just made up a new one,” he said.
“This spectacle is doing great damage to our country. It’s nothing more than an impeachment process in search of a crime,” Nunes said.
He said outstanding questions remain:
“First, what is the full extent of the Democrats’ prior coordination with the Whistleblower and who else did the Whistleblower coordinate this effort with?
“Second, what is the full extent of Ukraine’s election meddling against the Trump campaign?
“And third, why did Burisma hire Hunter Biden, what did he do for them, and did his position affect any U.S. government actions under the Obama administration?
“These questions will remain outstanding because Republicans were denied the right to call witnesses who know the answers,” he said.
Read Nunes’ entire opening statement here.
Follow Breitbart News’ @Kristina_Wong.