Meanwhile, on Earth-45, Devin Nunes (perhaps his presence on the Intelligence Committee in this universe is less confusing) welcomed everyone to a day of televised theatrical performance (like the Kennedy Center Honors) during which players he denounced as actors from central casting would deliver irrelevant statements about bad things Trump might have done, instead of getting into the real questions: the Steele Dossier, something called the Black Ledger (of additional concern because Sabrina the Teenage Witch refused to sign it) and, of course, the cruel and oppressive practice of keeping whistleblowers’ identities secret.
The hearings managed to go for five hours, which is impressive when you consider they went like this:
DEMOCRATIC QUESTIONER: Ambassador, you have served this country for decades, with great honor and many medals, have you not?
ACTING UKRAINE AMBASSADOR WILLIAM B. TAYLOR JR.: I have.
REPUBLICAN QUESTIONER: HE ADMITS TO MEDDLES!
TAYLOR: (Bemused stare.)
DEMOCRATIC QUESTIONER: So, when you texted that you were concerned that aid was being made conditional on investigating the president’s political rivals, you were … concerned?
DEMOCRATIC QUESTIONER: And why were you concerned?
TAYLOR: Because aid was being made conditional on investigating the president’s political rivals.
DEMOCRATIC QUESTIONER: And, for people who might be wondering, that is concerning?
DEMOCRATIC QUESTIONER: And when you sent the WhatsApp message saying, “Why is the president trying to do extortion?” “That seems bad!” you thought. That seemed bad?
TAYLOR: Yes. I’ve been a diplomat a long time, and let me tell you, usually, the president doesn’t try to do extortion.
DEMOCRATIC QUESTIONER: So that concerned you.
DEMOCRATIC QUESTIONER: Why?
TAYLOR: Again, I just — if it’s not clear to people why that might be concerning, I’m really not sure what I can tell them that’s going to change their minds.
DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY OF STATE GEORGE KENT: Yes, what he said. (Feistily) I am in a bow tie, and I’m not afraid to say that I think corruption is bad.
REPUBLICAN QUESTIONER: Mr. So-Called Ambassador, when you were in the Ukraine, the Steele Dossier, the Black Ledgers, and wouldn’t you just understand how the president might?
TAYLOR: I don’t understand the question.
REPUBLICAN QUESTIONER: I think he understands the question. The question is, the whistleblower exists, but he’s not here, is he? Raising his hand, on the Bible? I wish I could see him put his hand on the Bible. Isn’t?
TAYLOR: Isn’t what?
REP. ADAM B. SCHIFF: You don’t have to answer the question if it has a weird premise.
REP. JOHN RATCLIFFE (R): Excuse me, Mr. Chairman, if we are not answering questions with weird premises, then I object to EVERY QUESTION that was asked previously! Your premise is that the call with Ukraine was not perfect and that the president is a flawed individual, whereas neither of those things are true.
REPUBLICAN QUESTIONER: And don’t you, of course, the Fusion GPS, when we know Alexandra Chalupa has not been called, of course?
TAYLOR: I’m trying, I’m really trying, to find the question in that.
REPUBLICAN QUESTIONER: So, in conclusion, you’re saying, “Ambassador Taylor recalls that Mr. Morrison told Ambassador Taylor that I told Mr. Morrison that I conveyed this message to Mr. Yarmak” — this is unintelligible! Who is hearing from whom? I think this is hearsay? I do not know how sentences work. If I say it fast, you will see how confusing it is.
TAYLOR: I don’t think it is that confusing. I’m sorry your English teacher failed you.
REPUBLICAN QUESTIONER: That was not the only teacher who failed me! I also think that because the aid eventually went through, maybe coincidentally after this investigation began, it is impossible for a crime to have occurred. In conclusion, the president hates corruption in all forms, and he just wanted to make sure that public officials and their families were held accountable. Held to the highest standard. You should all be ashamed of standing in his way.
TAYLOR: This has been unusual but not as outlandish as it could be.
REPUBLICAN QUESTIONER: (Climbing aboard a spaceship bound for Earth-537.) There is always tomorrow.
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