CBS Accuses GOP of Demanding ‘Loyalty Test’ From Impeachment Witnesses

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On Wednesday’s CBS This Morning, while recounting Tuesday’s impeachment hearings, correspondent Major Garrett hammered House Republicans for daring to criticize or raise credibility issues about some of the witnesses. The reporter claimed the GOP members were demanding a “loyalty test” from those government officials in support of President Trump.

“Major, the Republicans and the President have questioned both the character and judgment of some of the witnesses who are career public servants,” co-host Anthony Mason fretted to Garrett. “Is that strategy working, does it appear?,” the anchor wondered. Garrett began his lecture: “Well, I’m not sure that’s the question. Is it proper? Are we comfortable with this as a country?”

 

 

He particularly worried the some of the witnesses “get a harsher treatment, they get hassled on Twitter.” Garrett qualified: “Maybe it’s intimation, maybe it’s bullying, but it’s clearly hassling.” He then launched into a rant against congressional Republicans engaging in tough questioning during the hearings:

And their judgment is questioned, their resumes are questioned, undermined. Subtle suggestions they might not have full loyalty to the United States. Only if you do one thing, testify unsympathetically to President Trump. But if you do testify sympathetically, that self-same resume, all those same hardship positions, that’s lionized, held up for celebration by Republicans.

He concluded: “Are we really comfortable with a loyalty test for long-serving public servants in government? I think that’s a question the country has to ask – answer, rather.”

Even after all that scolding of Republicans, Garrett admitted that Democrats still had not made the case for their “bribery” accusations against the President.

Co-host Gayle King asked: “Hey, Major, Democrats have been using the ‘B’ word lately, as in bribery....They’ve been using the word bribery, but none of the witnesses that testified yesterday raised that. Does that hurt the Democrats’ case, do you think?” Garrett acknowledged that it was a problem for Democrats:

Well, they’ve got to establish that. They keep using that word. It’s in the Constitution, it hangs heavily over this process. But you better put evidence on the table. John Radcliffe, a Republican, yesterday had this drama moment. All the testimony stacked up. Nowhere do you find the word bribery. Bribery is something that hangs around, but you need a victim, an actual cause of something of value traded for something else. They’re moving closer to that, the narrative sort of points to that, but the absolute proof and the evidence of it yet to emerge.

Given all the serious, even criminal, claims being hurled at Trump, it’s certainly understandable that Republicans would provide a robust defense of the President during the impeachment hearings. Removing a president from office is one of the most serious endeavors Congress can undertake, aggressive questioning of witnesses is to be expected.

The job of the media is not to bash one side or the other for the questions they ask, it is to report on the substance of what facts are revealed by the testimony.

Here is a transcript of the November 20 analysis from Garrett:

7:08 AM ET

(...)

ANTHONY MASON: Major, the Republicans and the President have questioned both the character and judgment of some of the witnesses who are career public servants. Is that strategy working, does it appear?

MAJOR GARRETT: Well, I’m not sure that’s the question. Is it proper? Are we comfortable with this as a country? Politics is a tough business, but typically not for people who work in foreign service or work in the National Security Council. And as they’ve said, all these witnesses work for Republicans and Democrats, but some get a harsher treatment, they get hassled on Twitter. Maybe it’s intimation, maybe it’s bullying, but it’s clearly hassling. And their judgment is questioned, their resumes are questioned, undermined. Subtle suggestions they might not have full loyalty to the United States. Only if you do one thing, testify unsympathetically to President Trump. But if you do testify sympathetically, that self-same resume, all those same hardship positions, that’s lionized, held up for celebration by Republicans. Are we really comfortable with a loyalty test for long-serving public servants in government? I think that’s a question the country has to ask – answer, rather.

GAYLE KING: Hey, Major, Democrats have been using the “B” word lately, as in bribery. They keep raising that issue. But the witnesses who testified – and I apologize, I’m losing my voice, but I feel okay. But it’s me, Major. It’s Gayle. [Laughter] They’ve been using the word bribery, but none of the witnesses that testified yesterday raised that. Does that hurt the Democrats’ case, do you think?

GARRETT: Well, they’ve got to establish that. They keep using that word. It’s in the Constitution, it hangs heavily over this process. But you better put evidence on the table. John Radcliffe, a Republican, yesterday had this drama moment. All the testimony stacked up. Nowhere do you find the word bribery. Bribery is something that hangs around, but you need a victim, an actual cause of something of value traded for something else. They’re moving closer to that, the narrative sort of points to that, but the absolute proof and the evidence of it yet to emerge.

(...)

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