The single most absurd moment in Monday's impeachment hearing

Article Image

Democrats and Republicans disagree on whether President Donald Trump committed impeachable offenses. Hear each side lay out their impeachment arguments.

Posted: Dec 11, 2019 3:50 PM
Updated: Dec 11, 2019 3:50 PM

In the course of the House Judiciary Committee's 10-hour impeachment hearing, there were lots of frustrating moments and plenty of odd scenes.

But one moment stood out to me for its pure absurdity -- an exchange between Democratic counsel Barry Berke and Republican lawyer Stephen Castor about former Vice President Joe Biden.

Here it is:

Berke: It's relevant to consider. Sir, would you agree that Joe Biden was a leading Democratic contender to face President Trump in 2020?

Castor: I wouldn't agree with that.

Berke: You disagree with that. So sir, it's your testimony --

Castor: It's too early.

Berke: -- that President Trump did not view President [sic] Biden to be a legitimate contender?

Castor: I don't know what President Trump believed or didn't believe, but it's too early.

Uh, what? Castor, a longtime GOP Hill staffer, is refusing to acknowledge that Biden was even "a leading contender" for the Democratic nomination. Not the leading contender, mind you. Just a leading contender.

This is obviously ridiculous on its face. You can -- and I have -- argued about whether the former vice president is the race's front-runner. And at different times over this year, the answer to that question has varied. But from the moment Biden announced in April that he was planning to run a third race for president in 2020, he has been, at a minimum, one of the front-runnersl

So why is Castor refusing to acknowledge the reality that literally everyone else understands?

Well, at least in part because he doesn't want to give Berke the satisfaction of agreeing with him on absolutely anything. Castor knows that in ceding absolutely no ground, he is winning points among not just the Republican members of the committee but also among the GOP base.

And then there is the fact that Castor knows that if he admits the obvious -- of course Biden was and is a leading Democratic contender for the 2020 nomination -- then it makes it that much harder to argue that Trump's demands in the Ukraine pressure campaign had everything to do with the 2016 campaign and nothing to do with the 2020 election.

See, if Trump knew that Biden could be a potentially strong nominee, Trump's attempts to force the Ukrainians to open an investigation into the former vice president look a whole lot different -- and far worse for the President. Suddenly, he is actively encouraging a foreign power to dig up dirt on a potential general election opponent rather than simply trying to get to the bottom of what an American citizen was doing in Ukraine in the run-up to the 2016 election.

And so Castor says it was "too early" to say whether Biden was "a leading Democratic contender" for the 2020 nomination. Which is patently ridiculous, given both Biden's year-long edge in national polling on the 2020 Democratic race and the fact that we are now less than two months away from the Iowa caucuses.

Unfortunately for all of us, absurd has become the new normal. And it's not showing any signs of changing.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 32078

Reported Deaths: 2004
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion9268539
Lake3320168
Cass15826
Allen130966
St. Joseph120534
Hendricks113067
Hamilton111592
Johnson1086104
Elkhart105728
Madison58258
Porter49021
Bartholomew48133
Clark46138
LaPorte41522
Tippecanoe3753
Jackson3671
Howard36519
Delaware35735
Hancock32127
Shelby31521
Floyd31438
Boone28835
Morgan26224
Vanderburgh2482
Montgomery23117
White2268
Decatur22431
Clinton2221
Grant19121
Noble18921
Harrison18721
Dubois1852
Greene16724
Warrick16426
Dearborn16421
Henry1619
Monroe16011
Vigo1477
Lawrence14423
Miami1391
Putnam1337
Jennings1274
Orange12422
Scott1183
Ripley1126
Franklin1068
Kosciusko941
Carroll922
Daviess8216
Steuben802
Marshall761
Newton7410
Wabash722
Wayne715
Fayette684
LaGrange602
Jasper581
Washington521
Fulton471
Rush452
Jay440
Randolph433
Jefferson411
Whitley402
Pulaski390
Clay391
Owen341
Brown331
Sullivan321
Starke313
DeKalb311
Perry260
Huntington262
Knox250
Tipton251
Benton250
Wells240
Crawford230
Blackford211
Switzerland190
Fountain182
Spencer171
Posey170
Parke170
Gibson142
Ohio130
Warren121
Adams121
Vermillion90
Martin90
Union80
Pike60
Unassigned0154
West Lafayette
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
Kokomo
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 70°
Rensselaer
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 87° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Fowler
Clear
68° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Williamsport
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 70°
Crawfordsville
Broken Clouds
65° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 65°
Frankfort
Clear
69° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 69°
Delphi
Scattered Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 67°
Monticello
Scattered Clouds
67° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 67°
Logansport
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 70°
Some more storms ahead....
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events