Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Why Judiciary Committee’s Impeachment Hearings Are Different: Full of ‘Live Wires’

Lindsey Ellefson

Wednesday marked the first impeachment inquiry hearing before the House Judiciary Committee, and if you were wondering why it seemed a little more fiery than the previous hearings, Fox News’ Chris Wallace has the answer.

During Fox News’ coverage of the latest hearing, the anchor drew a clear distinction between the Judiciary Committee and the Intelligence Committee, which heard all the previous testimonies so far.

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“The Intelligence Committee — and Lord knows there were plenty of fireworks and histrionics there — but relatively speaking, the Intelligence Committee tends to be more sober, more behind-the-scenes,” Wallace explained. “It has 21 members, 22 members. The Judiciary Committee has 41 and the kind of member of Congress, on both right and left, who goes on intelligence is somebody who really wants to study and isn’t that interested in the cameras: national security issues, intelligence issues, closed briefings. The Judiciary Committee — this is true traditionally of both the House and the Senate — tend to be people who want to fight the culture wars, want to talk about abortion or gun rights or immigration. And this panel tends to have a lot of people, both on the right and the left, who are live wires, would probably be a nice way to say it.”

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He went on, naming some names: “You’ve got people like Steve Cohen, a member of the Democrats on the judiciary. I was going to say, he was the one who was infamous. When Bill Barr, the attorney general, refused to show up for a hearing, he brought some fried chicken and even put a model of a chicken in the witness chair to say that Barr, in a not so subtle way, was afraid to appear before the committee. Then he got guys like Louie Gohmert and Matt Gaetz on the right, who were pretty live wires as well. One other big difference is the two lead members: Whether you liked it or not, [Intelligence Committee chairman Adam] Schiff ran a pretty tight ship in the House Intel and sometimes just gaveled people into silence.”

Wallace is right: During one Intelligence Committee hearing in November, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the ranking Republican on the committee, caused a commotion during his opening statement when he tried to yield to Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-New York), the only female Republican on the panel. It was a violation of impeachment inquiry rules, which state only Chairman Schiff, Nunes, and the counsels for both sides could question the person giving testimony during that time. Schiff repeatedly refused to recognize Stefanik as a result.

The Judiciary Committee has yet to announce more hearings past Wednesday.

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