House Oversight Chairman Adam Schiff interrupted House Republicans’ questions of Ambassador Bill Taylor on Wednesday, a stunning breach of Congressional order.
The Republican counsel questioned Taylor about whether he could understand that Trump was concerned that some Ukrainians had worked against him in the 2016 presidential election.
Schiff interrupted after Republicans were only ten minutes into their questioning, warning the Ambassador that if he was unable to “assume facts not in evidence” before him were correct.
“Are you seriously interrupting our time here?” House Minority Chairman Devin Nunes asked incredulously.
Rep. John Ratcliffe protested Schiff’s sudden rule change after Democrats spent the first portion of the hearing with leading questions and hearsay.
“I sat here through the first 45 minutes and literally had an objection to almost the foundation of almost every question that Mr. Goldman asked regarding facts not in evidence, leading,” he fired back at Schiff.
Schiff protested that he allowed the question, but was merely instructing the witness.
Ratcliffe said that Schiff did not address whether he should raise objections to any questions including facts not in evidence.
Schiff’s tactic worked. Taylor backed off of speculation about whether the president had a right to be concerned about Ukrainian meddling in the election, feigning ignorance of the reporting that established that understanding.
“Unreal,” wrote Rep. Mark Meadows on Twitter. “John Ratcliffe making a great point: Adam Schiff just apparently changed the rules mid-hearing.”