House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence hearings riveted Americans to their screens in 2019 as witnesses like special prosecutor Robert Mueller made history.
“Batting cleanup” at every session was Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi of Schaumburg.
The tumultuous presidency of Donald Trump has catapulted the congressman onto the national stage, either asking questions as a committee member or analyzing the day’s headlines.
Democrat Krishnamoorthi is not only a regular on liberal MSNBC but he also appears on conservative Fox.
“I think the biggest problem in our political discourse is that Democrats talk to Democrats and Republicans talk to Republicans,” Krishnamoorthi said.
On Fox, “the hosts ask tough but fair questions,” he added.
The Intelligence Committee has grilled a who’s who of newsmakers in 2019, including Mueller, Trump’s ex-attorney Michael Cohen, and a host of diplomats over whether the president pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rival.
Prepping for a hearing is “like cramming for a final exam,” Krishnamoorthi said, adding that the November schedule was extreme.
“We had seven hearings in five days. Normally, it takes a week to prepare (for a witness). On a couple of occasions I had to pull an all-nighter,” he said.
As the member with the least seniority, Krishnamoorthi is the last to question witnesses.
“Some people thought I was the cleanup batter,” he said.
The world watched the proceeding and among the millions were Krishnamoorthi’s relatives in India, who kept him on his toes with messages like “‘Why are you tilting your head this way?’ and ‘Don’t slouch.'”
That’s the lighter side. But voting to impeach the president Dec. 18 was a dark day, Krishnamoorthi said.
“I really wished I didn’t have to cast that vote,” he said. “I didn’t come to Congress to impeach anyone let alone the president of the United States. But in that moment, I knew I was doing the right thing.”