Top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine Bill Taylor at some points on Wednesday was visibly befuddled by House GOP attorney Steve Castor’s line of questioning. Taylor said in some cases that he didn’t know what Castor was asking about. The same was true for State Department official George Kent. The meandering nature of Castor’s questioning led a number of attorneys to levy sharp criticism.
Castor, during the first public impeachment hearing about President Donald Trump’s conduct, spent a significant amount of time asking about Hunter Biden and Burisma. In one instance, Castor asked Kent if he could speak to Biden’s qualifications to sit on Burisma’s board. Kent replied, “I have no idea what Hunter Biden studied at university or what his CV says.”
Castor, in another instance, successfully (?) got Taylor to admit the Rudy Giuliani-led “irregular” policy channel regarding Ukraine was outlandish, but could have been more outlandish than it was.
Exchanges like these were not received well.
Is he really the best people?
Line of questioning is an implicit admission there is no defense.
This was a “trainwreck for the GOP.”
What else can Castor say, really?
Bro, did you even prosecute?
As Law&Crime noted before of Castor, he has largely worked behind the scenes for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee since 2005. He was a “top attorney” during the GOP’s investigations of Benghazi and the IRS targeting scandal. He currently serves as the panel’s chief investigative counsel.
Castor has been described as a “Hidden Hand,” the “GOP’s Get-Obama Lawyer,” the Obama “White House[‘s] Bane” and a “Pit-Bull Prober.” Castor, as former federal prosecutor Daniel Goldman did for House Democrats, conducted questioning during closed-door depositions.
Castor has been praised for his institutional knowledge by former Republican lawmakers who worked with him.
“He has the longest-running institutional knowledge of most anybody on our side of the aisle. He’s been through several of these fights in the past,” former Rep. Jason Chaffetz told the Daily Beast on Tuesday. Chaffetz, who previously spent three years serving as chairman of the Oversight Committee, said Republicans could be optimistic knowing Castor is leading the charge.
“From Tom Davis to Darrell Issa to me to Jim Jordan to Trey Gowdy, he’s always had everybody’s confidence and we are an eclectic group of oversight chairs and ranking members,” he said, adding, “And the fact that he’s had all of our confidence is saying something.”
Those sentiments were echoed by the aforementioned Issa, another former Oversight chairman Castor served under with excellent results.
“He’s a very dedicated institutionalist,” Issa said. “He’s one of those people you see on the Hill that you know he could have left a long time ago and made a lot of money in any number of places.”
Jerry Lambe contributed to this report.
[Image via CSPAN screengrab]
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