Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Illinois) raised eyebrows when he defended the testimony of House Democrats' "witnesses" during the first day of public impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, arguing that "hearsay can be much better evidence than direct."
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After questioning Deputy Asst. Secretary of State George Kent and Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor — neither of whom directly heard the conversations on which they testified — Quigley offered what he called "a primer on hearsay."
"I think the American public needs to be reminded that countless people have been convicted on hearsay," the Democrat said. "Because the courts have routinely allowed and created needed exceptions to hearsay. Hearsay can be much better evidence than direct as we have learned in painful instances, and it's certainly valid in this instance."
Rep. Quigley claims that hearsay can be better than direct evidence youtu.be
Republicans disagreed. House Republican Whip Steve Scalise (La.) asked on Twitter, "In what universe is hearsay better than direct evidence?" calling the hearing "a total sham."
House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy tweeted, "Both of the Democrats' star witnesses just admitted that they were NOT on the July 25th call between Presidents Trump and [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky. Everything they are saying today is 2nd or 3rd or 4th-hand knowledge."
McCarthy added, "Democrats are trying to impeach the president based on a game of telephone."
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) also expressed frustration during the hearing that the so-called "whistleblower," who he referred to as "the guy who started it all," would not be called before Congress to testify.
In a snarky response, Democratic Rep. Peter Welch (Vt.) seized on the moment, telling Jordan, "I'd be glad to have the person who started it all come in and testify," adding, "President Trump is welcome to take a seat right there."