Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney got rough and tough today with Gordon Sondland. The New York Democrat asked the U.S. ambassador to the European Union “who would benefit” from an investigation of Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
Sondland was a witness at the impeachment inquiry hearing being conducted by the House Intelligence Committee. So, Maloney asked the question. He asked it repeatedly. Maloney’s voice became brusque. He bristled at Sondland’s initial semi-response.
I watched the exchange today and, to be honest, it made me uncomfortable. Then I recalled what I have witnessed from the get-go from a member of the Republican lineup on the committee, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio.
Jordan was brought onto the committee to act — as I see it — as the designated hatchet man for the GOP House minority. He has been roughing up witnesses throughout the impeachment inquiry process, not to mention tossing insults at his Democratic committee colleagues, including Chairman Adam Schiff.
So, was Maloney totally out of line today? Maybe at some level. Sondland said he had testified in good faith to the committee, but Maloney wasn’t taking that bait. He mentioned that Sondland’s initial closed-door testimony didn’t go well and that he had to issue a clarification of what he said initially.
“I appreciate your candor,” Maloney said in a near-shout at Sondland, “but look what it took to get it out of ya.”
As a spectator with an admitted bias about these proceedings, I am left to suggest only that Sean Maloney was channeling his colleague Jim Jordan. He was dishing out just a little of what Jordan has been delivering all along.