CBS ‘Astonished’ By ‘Repetitive’ Republicans and Their ‘Hatchet Attack’ on the Media

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CBS Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett on Tuesday offered what amounted to an extended commentary about the Republican response during the impeachment hearing, attacking them as “repetitive” and for a “hatchet attack” on the media. 

In his opening statement, Republican Congressman Devin Nunes derided, “If you watched the impeachment hearings last week you may have noticed a disconnect between what you actually saw and the mainstream media accounts describing it.” He added that, with regard to past coverage, “the media lost the confidence of millions of Americans.” 

Talking to Norah O’Donnell, Garrett complained: 

 

 

Republicans frequently assert, Norah, to the country that there's something improper and unfair about this process. They have also asserted that until today there have been no direct fact witnesses. So what I was expecting today, and I think what the country could have fairly expected, would have been some kind of line of questioning from the Republicans to undermine or at least cast some doubt on this firsthand direct knowledge fact witness testimony. The country did not see that at all. It saw in the opening statement of the ranking Republican, Devin Nunes, a hatchet attack on the American media, saying the American media is partly responsible, a tool of the Democratic Party, just an echo chamber of a false narrative.    

Garrett lamented that he was “astonished” by the GOP response on Tuesday: 

So it just strikes me that in all of their repetitive calling for direct fact witnesses, when two of them appear their line of questioning and line of commentary deals with the media and other issues, not the testimony presented or the narrative put together by the ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, saying that this all lines up consistent with the whistle-blower testimony. I'm sort of astonished by that. I’m sort of astonished by that.

In September, Garrett has hailed (now former) 2020 candidate Beto O’Rourke as a “candidate of conviction” and “authentic” for his gun-grabbing plan. In October, he cheered the “poise” and “passion” of Elizabeth Warren’s debate performance. 

A partial transcript is below: 

CBS impeachment hearings coverage 
11/19/19
11:24

MAJOR GARRETT: Republicans frequently assert, Norah, to the country that there's something improper and unfair about this process. They have also asserted that until today there have been no direct fact witnesses. So what I was expecting today, and I think what the country could have fairly expected, would have been some kind of line of questioning from the Republicans to undermine or at least cast some doubt on this firsthand direct knowledge fact witness testimony. The country did not see that at all. It saw in the opening statement of the ranking Republican, Devin Nunes, a hatchet attack on the American media, saying the American media is partly responsible, a tool of the Democratic Party, just an echo chamber of a false narrative. 

We had plenty of time to ask these questions relevant questions about their direct knowledge of the phone call, what they had heard before, its consistency or inconsistency with U.S. policy. None of that was there at all. Then when the questioning came from the Republican counsel, much of it was procedural about what you knew about a trip or something else. 

Then there was a line of questioning about Lieutenant Colonel Vindman getting an offer of defense secretary in Ukraine, suggesting possibly that he had or maybe just inserting the idea that he might have been lured by this possible high position in the Ukrainian government. Is that meant to suggest there's something invalid about his testimony? Republicans didn't go that far, but why that line of questioning? If you're trying to say the President did nothing wrong, why not take this testimony and try to pick it apart or at least do something to suggest it may have been incomplete. Republicans did none of that. So it just strikes me that in all of their repetitive calling for direct fact witnesses, when two of them appear their line of questioning and line of commentary deals with the media and other issues, not the testimony presented or the narrative put together by the ranking Democrat, Adam Schiff, saying that this all lines up consistent with the whistle-blower testimony. I'm sort of astonished by that. I’m sort of astonished by that. 

NORAH O’DONNELL: Right. Major, it's something we talked about last week. Let's always look at this in two sorts of ways, which is the political route, there's a political route to take and the substantive route of what we're exactly learning. As you're pointing out, the Republicans were trying to make more the political argument here but really didn't have any way to debunk some of the substance of the testimony we heard today, is that correct? 

GARRETT: That's my impression of it. 

 

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