It could have been one of the funnier cold opens on “Saturday Night Live,” but it was deadly serious.
The organized farce that is the “impeachment inquiry” in the House of Representatives descended even further Tuesday when Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff interrupted questioning of a star Democratic witness out of an alleged fear that the “whistleblower” behind the latest attack on President Donald Trump was about to be identified.
The problem with Schiff’s objection, though, is that both he and the witness, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, have said they don’t know the identity of the “whistleblower.”
So, how could Vindman out the “whistleblower” even if he did use his name? And how would Schiff know it if he did?
For Schiff, the moment could pass — since his word isn’t worth much to Republicans anyway. But for Vindman, a slip like that indicates the potential for perjury.
The issue arose when Vindman was questioned by both California Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking Republican on the committee, and Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who was named to the Intelligence Committee specifically to help Republicans defend Trump.
The Nunes questioning, with its moments of sardonic humor, was an educational experience alone. (Breitbart has a partial transcript here.)
But for a moment to laugh out loud at the sheer lunacy of the proceedings, check out Jordan’s questioning of Vindman here, just as Schiff and Vindman’s attorney stepped in to interrupt:
Update: It was in fact epic.
“The witness has testified that he does not know who the whistleblower is. You have said, even though no one believes you, you have said you don’t know who the whisleblower is. So how is this outing the whistleblower?”
— Greg Price (@greg_price11) November 19, 2019
“This committee will not be used to out the whistleblower,” Schiff said.
“Mr. Chairman, I don’t see how this is outing the whistleblower,” Jordan replied. “The witness has testified in his deposition that he doesn’t know who the whistleblower is.”
“You have said — even though no one believes you — you have said you don’t know who the whistleblower is. So how is this outing the whistleblower to find out who this individual is?”
Schiff, who denied knowing the identity of the “whistleblower” last week, put on a display of dignity, but never answered Jordan’s question.
The logic of the points raised by Nunes and Jordan is unassailable. Neither Vindman nor Schiff would have any idea whether Vindman had used the name of the “whistleblower” if, in fact, they weren’t aware of his identity.
(The fact that the name of the suspected “whistleblower” is Eric Ciaramella, a CIA analyst, is known to literally anyone who has followed this story just makes the whole exchange more darkly funny.)
The accidental comedy got plenty of attention on social media.
GOP Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Lee Zeldin of New York were among those who weighed in:
Vindman not wanting to discuss who in the intelligence community he talked to about this whole thing. Schiff cuts off question.
— Mark Meadows (@RepMarkMeadows) November 19, 2019
If Adam Schiff & LTC Vindman don’t know who the “whistleblower” is, how would they know that naming the one person LTC Vindman spoke to in the intelligence community would out the “whistleblower”? 🤔
— Lee Zeldin (@RepLeeZeldin) November 19, 2019
So was Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump re-election campaign.
How can Schiff cut off questions to protect the identity of the “whistleblower” while simultaneously claiming he doesn’t know who it is? https://t.co/0aKDk2dksI
— Tim Murtaugh (@TimMurtaugh) November 19, 2019
Sean Davis, co-founder of the conservative website The Federalist, nailed the case closed.
Recall that Vindman testified under oath last month that he didn’t know who the whistleblower is.
But when asked to name the unnamed intel analyst he leaked the July 25 call to, he refused, and his attorney said he wouldn’t name the whistleblower.
Vindman lied last month.
— Sean Davis (@seanmdav) November 19, 2019
In a sane country, with a sane opposition party, Tuesday’s descent into the inane should be enough to close things down — the so-called “impeachment inquiry” would die of self-immolation.
But the #Resistance forces opposed to Trump gave up sanity a long time ago (about Nov. 9, 2016).
That means this scene, which would have disgraced any other group of adults with a shred of self-respect, will be ignored by the shameless Democratic Party of 2019 and its even more shameless bootlickers in the establishment media.
What should not be ignored, though, is the very real possibility that a lieutenant colonel of the United States Army has just given every indication on national television that he’s lied under oath — committed perjury.
No one with any sense expects better from a Democratic politician, particularly if that Democratic politician is a Californian by the name of Adam Schiff.
The country does have a right to expect better of its armed forces, however. And so do the members of the armed forces themselves.
“Saturday Night Live” might have its next cold open written for it, thanks to Tuesday’s farcical act.
On “SNL” it might be hilarious. But in real life, it’s deadly serious.