In the Wall Street Journal, Kim Strassel tees off on the egregious Adam Schiff, who apparently sees himself as a sort of Grand Inquisitor on behalf of the Democratic Party:
Rep. Elise Stefanik was informed this week by Republican House Intelligence Committee staffers of a new diktat from Chairman Adam Schiff. It made the New York Republican’s jaw drop.
We supported Ms. Stefanik when she first ran for Congress a few years ago, as a “Power Line Pick”–one of our better choices.
Democrats had informed Republicans that, from here on out, the committee would produce a single, printed transcript of every interview it conducted as part of its impeachment inquiry. Only members of the three committees involved in the purported inquiry would be allowed to view that printout, and only in the presence of a Democratic staffer. Ms. Stefanik—an elected member of Congress who sits on the Intelligence Committee—will be babysat while reading by an unelected employee of the Democrats.
Everyone who pays attention agrees that this is a ridiculous and unprecedented process. Worse, a ridiculous process run by Adam Schiff!
Democrats keep their witnesses locked behind secure doors, then flood the press with carefully sculpted leaks and accusations, driving the Trump-corruption narrative. And so the party goes, galloping toward an impeachment vote that would overturn the will of the American voters—on a case built in secret.
The Democrats have been talking about impeaching Donald Trump since before he took office. I think everyone understands that what is going on now is simply an attempt to overturn the 2016 presidential election, which the Democrats have always regarded as somehow illegitimate. This is the worst breach in our democratic traditions since the Democrats argued that the election of Abraham Lincoln was illegitimate in 1860.
More from Kim Strassel, who makes the point that the Democrats’ refusal to vote in favor of conducting an impeachment inquiry means that they are unmoored from any historical precedent: “Normally an authorization vote would be followed by official rules on how the inquiry would proceed. Under today’s process, Mr. Schiff gets to make up the rules as he goes along. Behold the Lord High Impeacher.”
[Schiff’s] rules mean he can issue that controlling decree about “only one” transcript and Democratic staff supervision of Republican members. It means he can bar the public, the press and even fellow representatives from hearings, even though they’re unclassified.
It means he is able to shield from scrutiny the whistleblower who prompted this impeachment proceeding. It means he can continue barring Republicans from calling opposing witnesses. It means he can continue refusing to allow White House counsel in the room to hear the accusations against the president.
Mr. Schiff apparently even believes his impeachment authority allows him to ignore longstanding rules. A recent letter from Republican members of the Intelligence Committee objected to Mr. Schiff’s new practice of withholding official documents. They listed nearly two dozen letters from the committee (to recipients ranging from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to White House counsel Pat Cipollone) that had not been uploaded to the committee repository—which, they note, violates House rules. Republicans aren’t even allowed to know what questions Mr. Schiff is asking.
If anyone has tried to justify the Democrats’ absurd impeachment process, I haven’t seen it. The Democrats know that what they are doing is indefensible, but they don’t care. They know that they don’t have a plausible presidential candidate, so their goal is to pair “Trump” and “impeachment” in headlines so persistently that naive voters think there must be something to it.
Who knows, that strategy might work. But if you have any idea what is going on, you know that the Democrats’ impeachment drama is a bad joke.