Impeachment Witnesses Deliver Testimony Despite Nadler Failing to Swear Them In
House Judiciary Committee Chairman failure to swear in witnesses was notable
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler failed to swear in the two counsels for both Republicans and Democrats before their opening statements in the impeachment inquiry hearing on Monday.
Despite staff members not being typically sworn in, witnesses are required to be sworn in and deliver testimony under oath.
But Nadler’s failure to swear in the witnesses was notable because it provided the counsels an opportunity to make claims without fear of perjuring themselves.
Both Democrat counsel Barry Berke and Republican Counsel Stephen Castor delivered their statements.
Berke made several factual declarations, many of which were questionable at best, and outright false at worst.
For instance, Berke claimed that State Department staffer David Holmes had “heard it from the president himself” when he testified that President Donald Trump was interested in Ukraine administering investigations.
But Holmes had not heard anything directly from Trump.
He claimed to have overheard part of a conversation between the president and the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland.
At the time, Sondland was at an outdoor table at a restaurant, and Holmes had been drinking wine with him and two other staffers.
Trump Supporter Shuts Down Jerry Nadler’s Hearing: “Trump’s Innocent, Dems Committing Treason”— Neon Nettle (@NeonNettle) December 9, 2019
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But Holmes failed to write down what he later claimed he heard the president telling Sondland, despite his usual habit of taking notes.
However, Burke claimed he heard the president first-hand.
Additionally, Berke played a deceptively edited clip Trump speaking at a Turning Point USA conference, claiming the president believed he could do “whatever I want.”
But the full context of the president’s statement revealed he was talking specifically about his authority to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which he did not eventually do.
Nadler's failure to swear in the witness was also significant for another reason:
When Republicans raised a point of order, which objected to Berke contradicting the president’s motives, which is forbidden under House rules, Nadler ruled that the point of order was invalid because Berke was not a witness.
But Nadler later described Berke and Castor as witnesses, which then prompted Republican objections that he had contradicted himself.