Rep. John Ratcliffe was not impressed that Adam Schiff waited to warn impeachment witnesses about rules of questioning until it was the Republicans’ turn to do it.
After both Adam Schiff and the House Democrats’ counsel had had the opportunity to question acting Ambassador Bill Taylor, Schiff interrupted the GOP counsel Steve Castor to warn Taylor that he didn’t have to answer questions that were leading or assumed “facts not in evidence.”
“I just want to be clear, Ambassador, if you’re able to verify the things that the Counsel has identified in the prerequisite of the question, that’s fine, otherwise in questions for the majority or the minority that may assume facts not in evidence before you, you should be cautioned about that,” Schiff said.
“Mr. Chairman, point of order,” Rep. John Ratcliffe interrupted, clearly frustrated.
“Chairman, I sat here through the first 45 minutes and literally had an objection to almost the foundation of every question that Mr. Goldman asked regarding facts not in evidence, leading,” Ratcliffe continued. “But House Resolution 660 does not say that we are under the federal rules of evidence. If it is your position that I need to be inserting objections to questions that violate the federal rules of evidence, let me know now, because this hearing is going to change significantly.”
Schiff responded, “As I said, Mr. Ratcliffe, I will allow the question.”
Rep. Devin Nunes cut in then, clarifying, “I think that the gentleman has a different question about the rules. So what are the rules that are going to govern this?”
“For what purpose do you seek recognition?” Schiff then asked Nunes.
“To answer Mr. Ratcliffe’s question,” Nunes fired back.
“I have answered it,” Schiff doubled down.
“Respectfully, Mr. Chairman, you haven’t answered my question,” Ratcliffe said.
He asked the question again, “Whether or not I should be asserting ‘assumes facts not in evidence’ or leading objections to questions that are posed from this point forward. That is my question.”
Schiff again responded, “Mr. Ratcliffe, I will say once again, I am not objecting to the question, but I am instructing the witness that they should not presume questions from the majority or the minority of facts not in evidence are correct.”
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