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Elise Stefanik skewers Dems impeachment case with classic cross-examination techniques

Elise Stefanik skewers Dems impeachment case with classic cross-examination techniques

She cross-examines witnesses the way cross-examination should be done: A tightly controlled examination that does not allow the witness to vary from prior testimony or to deny the obvious.

Elise Stefanik has been the target of a smear campaign led by George Conway, among others, because she has been so effective.

She cross-examines witnesses the way cross-examination should be done: A tightly controlled examination that does not allow the witness to vary from prior testimony or to deny the obvious.

Armed with the transcript of prior closed-door testimony, Stefanik frames her question so that if the witness varies from prior testimony, Stefanik can reel them back in. She shows that she has papers with her that she is reading from for her precise questions. It’s a signal to the witness that she’s prepared, so don’t mess with her.

Her examination of former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch showed Stefanik’s approach.

She told the witness what territory she would cover not because she wanted to make it easier, but to signal to the witness that you are boxed in, I’m in control, and I’m covering topics about which you are going to have to capitulate. Pay attention to how many of the questions are answered with a simple “Yes” because the question was framed in such a way that Yes was the only viable option.

Those simple “Yes” answers were devastating to the Dems impeachment narrative.

Today’s cross-examination of Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams was another example. Here’s a key part of the transcript showing the technique. First, signal control:

Stefanik: My question to both of you today will focus on the following: Systemic corruption in Ukraine. Two, highlighting for the public that by law aid to Ukraine requires anti-corruption efforts, and three, who in our government has the decision-making authority when it comes to foreign policy and national security matters.

Next, precise questions based on prior testimony from which the witnesses cannot vary or things so obvious they would be fools to dispute it:

Stefanik: So on corruption in Ukraine, as Ambassador Yovanovitch testified one of the key reasons why presidents Zelensky was overwhelmingly elected by the Ukrainian people was that they were finally standing up to rampant corruption in their country. Would you both agree with the ambassador’s assessment.

Vindman: Yes.

Williams: Yes.

* * *

Stefanik: [After going through Vindman prior testimony as to Burisma corruption] Do you agree that Hunter Biden on the Board of Burisma has the potential for the appearance of a conflict of interest?

Vindman: Certainly the potential, yes.

Stefanik: And Ms. Williams?

Williams: Yes.

* * *

Stefanik: Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, you testified that you understood that Congress had passed under the Ukrainian Security Assistance Initiative a legal obligation to certify that corruption is being addressed.

Vindman: That is correct.

Stefanik: And you also testified that it is required by the National Defense Authorization Act.

Vindman: That is correct.

* * *

Stefanik: Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, you spoke extensively about the importance of defensive lethal aid to Ukraine specifically Javelins. This was in your deposition.

Vindman: Correct

Stefanik: And you testified that the Javelin in particular because of its effectiveness in terms of influencing the Russian decision calculus for aggression. It is one of the most important tools we had have when it comes to providing defensive lethal aid.

Vindman:  The system itself and the signaling of your support. Yes.

Stefanik: And it is a fact that that aid was provided under President Trump and not President Obama.

Vindman: That is correct.

Stefanik: And my last question Lieutenant Colonel Vindman. I know you serve at the NSC in the White House. I served in the West Wing of the White House for President Bush on the Domestic Policy Council and in the Chief of Staff’s office, so I’m very familiar with the policy process. I also know that as a staff member the person who sets the policy the United States is the president not the staff. And you testified that the president sets the policy, correct?

Vindman: That is correct.

Stefanik’s only detour from typical cross-examination is that, this being a political event, she takes the opportunity to skewer Adam Schiff and Democrats whenever she can.

This is a thing of beauty because she was reading Schiff’s own words back to him.

Where did Stefanik get this skill? It doesn’t appear from her Bio that she’s a lawyer.

But she could teach all the lawyers in the hearing room a thing or two.


Stefanik’s examination of Kurt Volker, the former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine, and Tim Morrison, a former White House official who served on the National Security Council, as true to form:


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It’s off topic, but deserving of a chuckle given the remembrance of today’s date.

They say that the 272 words he delivered that day changed the character of the country.

But in truth it was really 282 words,

Stefanik for a future Secretary of State!

“Where did Stefanik get this skill?”

Ask any police investigator, insurance investigator, auditor, inspector general where they learned and honed their skills and craft.

Stefanik is very good in this role and probably many other areas, as well.

It is delightful to see her eating Schiff’s lunch and telling everyone else what they may eat, when they may eat it and to use good table manners, at her table!

Stefanik – A+

I am reminded of the advice I saw in this very blog “Never ask a question of the witness where you don’t know the answer.”

It seems that the little hidden Schiff show had some redeeming qualities. It allowed the Republicans to see just exactly what lies were going to be used against the President, and set them up like pinatas for a good and proper thwacking.

    And this is why the Republicans couldn’t simply boycott, as I have seen suggested in various threads elsewhere. Someone needs to gather the intel necessary to plan and execute the counter-attack.

      ROTONDARON in reply to McGehee. | November 22, 2019 at 12:20 pm

      All the Republicans, need to do, is amass, the facts of corruption, greed, malfeasance in office, Ineptness, lack of respect of American process/Constitution, of the *Demoncrat party, & put these facts in order, & execute due process, whether it be Congress, the Senate, or the court of public opinion……the Socialist *Demoncrat party will be hard-pressed to deny the “facts”! { 2020 election won!….again by a landslide!}……END OF THE *DEMONCRAT PARTY AS WE KNOW IT TODAY! The “old” democrat party, no longer exists!….:O{{{{

Professor, thank you for these valuable insights.

I didn’t get sucked into the hearings today, but I loved her questioning. Definitely a rising star. Now I hope she doesn’t do the all-too-typical congresscritter dance and get too full of herself.

Republicans are standing their ground, proving their mettle, and shining a light on corruption from DC to Kiev. Stefanik in the lead.

    Allears in reply to n.n. | November 20, 2019 at 1:20 pm

    Indeed n.n. Let’s hope Stefanik, Jordon, Zelden and others of their (your apt word) mettle typify the next generation of Republicans, conservatives,and patriots who will fight contemporary leftism and its media toadies with the same backbone and fortitude expemlified by PDT.

Been a long time since I could be proud to be a North Country resident. Great work, Elise. Keep it up!

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | November 19, 2019 at 10:03 pm

I had not seen her question Volker and Morrison. She single handedly demolished the Democrats impeachment case in that video. She got the Democrat’s witnesses to say there was no bribery, no extortion, no quid pro quo, no treason. Case closed.

No wonder she’s such a threat to the beta incels on the other side of the aisle, and their fawning media acolytes.

It’s safe to say that the liberal media will never characterize Ms. Stefanik as a “rising star.” They reserve that accolade for the donkey side.

at least we now know who the real whistle blower is – Vindman, he is the source of the data used by the form filler outer

    Tom Servo in reply to ronk. | November 20, 2019 at 7:55 am

    Bingo – Vindman to Ciamarella to Schiff’s staff to Schiff. All set up and coordinated long in advance.

      artichoke in reply to Tom Servo. | November 20, 2019 at 10:18 am

      So this means the over-wrought and incorrect summary was started by someone who actually heard the call?

      I guess it’s like the old game of “telephone”, the message gets garbled as it’s retold. Oh well, too bad for the Dems, now they are revealed as clowns as well as vicious subversives.

Trey Gowdy’s NY cousin.

    OnPoint in reply to Andy. | November 20, 2019 at 6:45 pm

    Stefanik also greatly benefits from the fact that she’s a pleasant woman. She’s attractive, articulate, and devilishly hard to counter because it’s horribly bad form to “beat up on a girl,” as George Conway discovered. The only way to push back on her is to beat her on the facts, and she’s got those nailed. Game, set, match.

It’d be nice if some of the lawyers on the committee would act as effectively …

I was wondering what the big red 95 is behind Jim Jordan at about 3:15. Yesterday it was 99.

It says “95 days since Adam Schiff learned the ideantity of the whistleblower” lol

Ms. Stefanik is an excellent interrogator; better than all of the DemocRATS combined. “Fisheye” Schiff just sits back and watches his minions put through Elise’s meat grinder and can’t do a damn thing about it. So far, all these “star witnesses” have been duds. You can’t make something out of nothing.

George Conway has a lot of experience opposing strong, smart, successful, outspoken women.

And then in Sonderland’s deposition, he states under oath that there was no bribary, that Trump never directed anyone to tie aid to investigating the Bidens, and that he just inferred it entirely by himself.

Compare Elise’s masterful interrogation technique to Kamala’s bullying of witnesses.

I particularly love how she’s getting *everybody* on record that having Biden on the Burisma board opened the door to “at least the potential appearance of a conflict of interest” and that they have no knowledge of any quid pro quo, bribery, or extortion. It’s brilliant. So, if Dems try to use those as part of impeachment proceedings, the Senate is justified in saying, “Hm. Exactly ALL of your witnesses testified that they didn’t witness any of that. Dismissed.”

Keep in mind that the progressive fascist news media will only report things that make Trump look bad. They will make up lies if they have to. They have to be hoping that the vast majority of the voters will only see the lies.