- Inside Room 1100: How day one of the historic Trump impeachment hearing played out
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- US TV networks clear schedules for impeachment ratings bonanza
- Who are the five key people in the impeachment hearings?
Donald Trump encouraged a plan for Ukraine to investigate his rival Joe Biden in a previously unknown private phone call with a US diplomat, a key witness told the impeachment inquiry.
The incident happened the day after a July 25 call in which Mr Trump is accused of personally pressuring the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, to publicly announce a corruption inquiry into Joe Biden and his son Hunter.
The claim was made during the first day of televised impeachment hearings which are set to grip America. Mr Trump has denied any wrongdoing and claimed not to be watching the "witch hunt" proceedings being held in Congress by the House intelligence committee.
William Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, was the first witness, and outlined how there had been two US diplomatic channels for Ukraine, a "regular" one which he was part of, and an "irregular" one directed by Rudy Giuliani, the president’s lawyer.
Mr Taylor, 72, disclosed previously unknown information given to him by a member of his staff last Friday.
The staff member said they had been in a restaurant in Kyiv on July 26 with Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, an appointee of Mr Trump who was a key figure in the "irregular" diplomatic channel.
Mr Trump was said to have been overheard on the phone asking Mr Sondland how "investigations" were going.
Mr Taylor told the inquiry "investigations" was a code word for getting Ukraine to announce inquiries into the Bidens, and into a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russia had interfered in the 2016 US election.
The proposed Biden investigation was to centre on Hunter Biden having been on the board of Burisma, a controversial Ukrainian energy company while his father was vice president and leading US foreign policy in relation to the country.
On the phone call Mr Sondland told the president the "Ukrainians were ready to move forward," Mr Taylor said.
After the overheard call Mr Taylor’s staff member asked Mr Sondland what the president thought about Ukraine.
Mr Taylor said: "Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for."
Asked if that meant Mr Trump cared more about the investigations than about Ukraine, Mr Taylor said "Yes, sir."
Asked about the new overheard phone call on Wednesday, Mr Trump said: “I know nothing about that, first time I’ve heard it."
Mr Taylor said, when he was posted to Ukraine in late May, he had taken a letter signed by Mr Trump inviting Mr Zelenskiy to the White House.
He said the meeting, and $392 million in US military assistance, was then used as leverage to get the Ukrainians to investigate Mr Biden.
On July 18 he was told the military aid was on hold indefinitely at the direction of the US president.
Mr Taylor said: "I, and others, sat in astonishment. Ukrainians were fighting Russians and counted on US support."
He said senior officials, including the Director of the CIA, tried to get meetings with the president but couldn’t.
Mr Taylor was then told about a White House meeting where Mr Sondland had raised the "investigations."
John Bolton, the national security adviser, abruptly ended the meeting, saying he didn’t want to be associated with a "drug deal" and told an assistant to "brief the lawyers," Mr Taylor said.
Even though he was the top US diplomat in Ukraine, Mr Taylor did not receive a readout of the July 25 call between Mr Trump and Mr Zelenskiy.
Shortly afterwards, he went to the front in Ukraine. The day he was there a Ukrainian soldier died.
The diplomat said: "I could see the armed and hostile Russian-led forces on the other side of the damaged bridge. The Ukrainian commander thanked me for our assistance but I knew it was on hold. More Ukrainians would undoubtedly die without the assistance."
On September 1 Mr Sondland told him Mr Trump "wanted President Zelenskiy in a public box" making a statement about the "investigations". The US president wanted Mr Zelenskiy to "go to a microphone" or there would be "stalemate".
Mr Trump was like a businessman signing a cheque and Ukraine had to "pay up," Mr Sondland was said to have told Mr Taylor.
A plan emerged for Mr Zelenskiy to do an interview on CNN, announcing the Biden investigation, but it did not transpire, Mr Taylor said.
On September 11 he was told that the hold on the military aid had been lifted.
The impeachment inquiry also heard from George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state, who said he was alarmed over efforts to pressure Ukraine.
Adam Schiff, the Democrat chairman of the committee, said the key question was whether the president used the power his office for personal political gain.
He said: "The matter is as simple and as terrible as that. Our answer to these questions will affect not only the future of this presidency but the future of the presidency itself."
Devin Nunes, the lead Republican on the committee, accused Democrats of waging a "scorched-earth war against President Trump" and a "carefully orchestrated smear campaign."
He said: "It’s nothing more than an impeachment process in search of a crime."
Asked about the new overheard phone call on Wednesday night, Mr Trump said: “I know nothing about that, first time I’ve heard it.
“In any event it’s more second hand information. I don’t recall, no, not even a little bit.”
Mr Trump said he had not watched “one minute” of the hearing, but had heard it was a “joke” and a “hoax”.
Standing next to the Turkish president at the White House, he added: “I’d much rather focus on peace in the Middle East.”
Trump to release transcript of April Ukraine call
During a press conference at the White House, Mr Trump said he plans to release a transcript of another call with the Ukrainian president tomorrow.
This call, which Mr Trump has previously suggested he would make public, is from April, when Mr Zelenskiy was first elected.
"I’m going to be releasing I think on Thursday a second call, which actually, was the first of the two," Mr Trump told reporters.
Schiff: Investigators will hear from aide who overheard Trump call
Mr Schiff, the leading Democrat on the committee, also gave a post-hearing press conference. He said the day’s proceedings showed Mr Trump "sought to advance his political and personal interest at the expense of the United States’ national security."
Mr Schiff added that the new information Mr Taylor provided today were "very important". Mr Taylor had revealed that one of his aides witnessed a phone call between Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, and Mr Trump in which the president asked about "the investigations". Mr Taylor testified that Mr Sondland told the aide that Mr Trump "cared more" about an investigation into Mr Biden than he did about Ukraine.
Trump disputes Taylor’s testimony that one of his aides overheard Trump asking Sondland about “investigations” over the phone: “I don’t know a thing about that. First time I heard it.”
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) November 13, 2019
Mr Schiff said the call was significant because it indicated that "instructions are coming from the President on down". He added that the committee has scheduled a closed-door meeting with the aide for Friday.
Republicans: 'Sad day for the country'
Republican congressmen gave a press conference after the hearing. One of the key defenders of the presidet, Jim Jordan, said today represented "a sad chapter for the country" but a "good day" for Mr Trump.
Mr Jordan mocked what he characterised as the second-hand testimony of the officials today, but when asked about the White House barring key witnesses from testifying for themselves, Mr Jordan said: "There is a court case… We’ll see what the court says".
First day of hearing closes
After more than five hours of testimony, the first day of the public impeachment hearing has drawn to a close. The day ends with Democrats on the House Intelligence committee defeating a motion – put forward by Republicans – to compel the whisteblower who triggered the investigation to testify.
Trump down but not out as round one goes to star witness from central casting
Nick Allen’sverdict on day one:
This was only round one of the impeachment fight. But Donald Trump is now, if not on the ropes, then behind on points. From the president’s perspective, he could not have been dealt a more damaging first witness.
Bill Taylor seemed to treat the hearing as a search and destroy mission. Just like when he was with the 101st Airborne division – nicknamed the "Screaming Eagles" – in Vietnam half a century ago.
It became increasingly obvious why the Democrats put Mr Taylor up first. He was steely and direct. He had kept contemporaneous notes, text messages and WhatsApp conversations. He delivered a clear timeline, and stuck to what he knew.
The Republicans on the committee failed to land a meaningful blow on him. To rub it in Mr Taylor revealed an important new piece of information he had gleaned in the past few days – an overheard phone call by Mr Trump.
This was the kind of performance Democrats had hoped Robert Mueller would deliver in Congress, but didn’t. Mr Trump – who despite the White House denial was almost certainly watching – will not have liked what he saw.
What he saw was a star witness from central casting, oozing integrity and gravitas. The president will be keen to move on to other witnesses.
How is the public reacting to today's hearings?
4.5 hours in now. This is the critical unknown…
Do Americans agree with the White House spin that the hearings are "boring" and can be disregarded?
Or does the sober testimony of 2 career diplomats with 75+ yrs of public service between them cut through?#impeachmentinquiry
— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) November 13, 2019
Taylor says withholding aid is 'wrong'
Mr Taylor was asked about a press briefing by Mick Mulvaney last month, in which Mr Trump’s chief of staff essentially confirmed a quid pro quo had taken place.
In the briefing last month, Mr Mulvaney suggested it was normal for there to be "political influence in foreign policy", saying "get over it".
Asked about the remarks, Mr Taylor said: "If we’re talking about political influence meaning attempts to get information that is solely useful for political campaigns — if that’s what we’re talking about, we should not get used to that."
Mr Taylor was also asked whether withholding aid from Ukraine aid was wrong, replying: "Yes".
"Again, our holding up of security assistance that would go to a country that is fighting aggression from Russia for no good policy reason, no good substantive reason, no good national security reason is wrong," he said.
Trump's attack dog takes over questioning
Republican congressman Jim Jordan, one of Mr Trump’s best allies in Congress, has taken over the questioning of Mr Taylor.
Mr Jordan, often referred to as Mr Trump’s "attack dog" was swapped onto the committee last week in order to play a starring role in their grilling.
Mr Jordan begins with an rapid-fire prosecutorial-style questioning of Mr Taylor and argues that Mr Trump can’t be criticised for holding up US aid to Ukraine because he did ultimately release it. What he doesn’t mention is this was only after Congress got wind of the fact it was being delayed and threatened to act if the aid is not released.
Trump meets with Erdogan as hearings continue
Meanwhile, Mr Trump is meeting with Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erodgan at the White House.
Asked by reporters about the hearing continuing on Capitol Hill, Mr Trump said, “It’s a witch hunt, it’s a hoax. I’m too busy to watch it. I have not been briefed.”
Longtime Republican investigator leads questions
Mr Nunes has yielded to his counsel, Steve Castor, to lead the Republican grilling. Mr Castor, a longtime congressional Republican investigator, was brought over from another House committee so he could continue to play a role in questioning the officials testifying in the impeachment hearing.
Mr Castor is honing his questions on Burisma – the Ukrainian gas company which Hunter Biden served on. Ari Fleischer, who served as President George W Bush’s former press secretary, has this take:
Whatever the GOP counsel is doing, it's not working. I don't undertand where he's going.
— Ari Fleischer (@AriFleischer) November 13, 2019
Mr Kent has already testified that in 2015, he raised concerns about the younger Biden working for Burisma because of the potential appearance of a conflict of interest at a time when Mr Biden senior was the US vice president. However Mr Kent stressed that he had seen no evidence of US officials hesitating to examine the company because of Mr Biden’s role on the board.
Hearing resumes with Republican questioning
It’s now the Republicans turn to lead the questioning. Mr Nunes, the ranking Republican on the committee, starts by using his allotted time to accuse Democrats of mischaracterising Mr Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
Mr Nunes also uses his slot to focus on the unfounded conspiracy theory that Ukraine, rather than Russia, meddled in the 2016 election.
Key new revelation in Taylor testimony.
While the committee takes a brief break, Ben Riley-Smith, US Editor explains the significance of Mr Taylor’s testimony:
This is very interesting and news-worthy. Mr Taylor has added a new bit to his testimony, compared to his previous comments behind closed doors, that directly includes a quotation from Donald Trump.
The scene comes on July 26, the day after July 25 when Mr Trump asked the Ukrainian president to investigate the Bidens during a phone call. Mr Taylor says one of his colleagues was with Gordon Sondland, America’s EU ambassador, on that day when he talked to Mr Trump on the phone about the call.
According to Mr Taylor, his colleague overheard Mr Trump down the line asking Mr Sondland about "the investigations". Mr Sondland reportedly said the Ukranians were ready to move forward.
Once the call was done, someone asked Mr Sondland what the president thought about Ukraine. "Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden," Mr Taylor said in his testimony. Meaning, presumably, Joe Biden.
In short – this is new evidence that a) Mr Trump was interested in the investigations and b) that it was his overriding drive in diplomacy towards Ukraine. The Republicans will likely attempt to dismiss this, as they have with much of the testimony, as second-hand or even third-hand. But it is new.
Nancy Pelosi watches on
Meanwhile, the Democrat House speaker Nancy Pelosi, appears to be in a good mood as she walks by reporters covering the hearings on Capitol Hill.
The Democrats will likely be pleased with the headlines Mr Taylor’s testimony has generated so far today.
The upshot from Taylor: Trump may have been saying no quid pro quo, but the message being delivered repeatedly by Trump’s emissary was just that: No military aid, no WH meeting until Biden and 2016 investigations were announced by Ukraine
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) November 13, 2019
Mrs Pelosi has tried to tread a careful line to avoid making the impeachment investigation appear politically motivated.
Steve Bannon, Mr Trump’s former chief strategist, praised her "quite brilliant" handling of the impeachment inquiry in an interview with CBS News this morning.
“I disagree with her ideologically, but I think Nancy Pelosi is a master at political warfare. I think, strategically, what she has done from their perspective is actually quite brilliant,” he said.
Trump's inner circle decry 'sham' hearing
This is horribly boring… #Snoozefest
— Eric Trump (@EricTrump) November 13, 2019
This sham hearing is not only boring, it is a colossal waste of taxpayer time & money. Congress should be working on passing USMCA, funding our govt & military, working on reduced drug pricing & so much more. @realDonaldTrump is working right now-the dems should follow his lead!
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) November 13, 2019
"They're trying to stop me, because I'm fighting for you. And I'll never let that happen." — President @realDonaldTrump pic.twitter.com/ch0N1SWShe
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 13, 2019
Is Trump watching impeachment hearing?
Asked what Mr Trump was doing this morning, White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham, tells reporters: "He’s in the Oval in meetings. Not watching. He’s working."
White House pool reporters note that there is no Marine standing guard outside the West Wing, as is customary when the president is in the Oval Office.
Shortly afterwards, Mr Trump retweeted a White House video with the caption, “New hoax. Same swamp"
New hoax. Same swamp. pic.twitter.com/6byw3BVxFR
Click Here: New Zealand rugby store— The White House (@WhiteHouse) November 13, 2019
Ms Grisham later said the Marine sentries were rehearsing for the arrival of the Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is due to meet Mr Trump shortly.
Trump cares more about 'investigations of Bidens' than Ukraine
Mr Taylor also reveals that one of his staffers overheard Mr Trump asking Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, about the investigations.
Mr Taylor informed impeachment investigators Mr Sondland called the US president while at a restaurant in Kyiv and told the staffer that Mr Trump cared more about an investigation into Joe Biden and his son than other policies relating to Ukraine.
This is perhaps the biggest revelation from Mr Taylor’s testimony so far – much of his detailed account tallies with his opening testimony in a closed-door session with investigators last month.
Mr Taylor says his staffer only informed him of the phone call between Mr Trump and Mr Sondland last week.
NEW information from Amb. William Taylor's opening statement about Pres. Trump's conversations w/ Amb. Sondland including a July 26 conversation where Trump asked him about investigations. Sondland “told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward." pic.twitter.com/vKHf7g5HYi
— Yamiche Alcindor (@Yamiche) November 13, 2019
Why the background of the witnesses helps the Democrats
Ben Riley-Smith, US Editor
You can see why the Democrats called these witnesses from the start of their opening statements alone. Both Mr Taylor and Mr Kent, speaking in low steady tones, have been outlining how unpolitical they have been throughout their long diplomatic careers.
Mr Kent stressed that he had served as a "non-partisan career Foreign Service officer" for more than 27 years, serving under five presidents, three of whom were Republicans. Mr Taylor described how he has got to "serve our country and the American people" for more than 50 years, including time fighting in Vietnam.
Democrats will hope the takeaway for voters will be these men are not deep state operatives or political hacks, as the Republicans had framed those speaking out against Donald Trump, but patriots spelling out what they saw with honest motives.
Bill Taylor: Withholding US aid 'crazy'
Mr Taylor, America’s top diplomat in Ukraine, is now offering his opening statement. Like Mr Kent, he begins by stressing his public service credentials as a Vietnam veteran who has served under Republican and Democrat administrations sine 1985.
"I am not here to take one side or the other or to advocate for any particular outcome of these proceedings," he tells the committee.
Remarkable moment: a currently US ambassador making it crystal clear that his president's behaviour towards Ukraine was "illogical, could not be explained, and was crazy."
— Edward Luce (@EdwardGLuce) November 13, 2019
Mr Taylor outlined how it slowly became clear to him that there conditions were being placed on Ukraine’s new president.
"I wrote that withholding security assistance in exchange for help with a domestic political campaign in the United States would be crazy," Mr Taylor says. "I believed that then and I believe it now."
To stress the importance of US aid, Mr Taylor reveals he visited the front line of Ukraine’s struggle against Russian aggression in Donbas just last week. On the day he visited, he says, one Ukrainian soldier was killed and several others wounded. "Even as we sit here today, Russians are attacking Ukrainian soldiers," he says, saying US assistance is critical.
George Kent opens by stressing his non-partisan credentials
In his opening statement, Mr Kent highlights his role as a “non-partisan career Foreign Service officer” and his family’s long history of public service. It appears to be a repudiation of the opening Republican claim he is a Democratic tool in the impeachment investigation.
“Today I appear before you once again, under subpoena, as a fact witness ready to answer all of your questions about the events and developments examined in this inquiry to the best of my ability and recollection subject to limits placed on me by the law and this process,” he said.
George Kent, in a single sentence, undermines the central claim pushed by Trump about Joe Biden.
"Let me be clear … I did not witness any efforts by any US official to shield Burisma from scrutiny". #ImpeachmentInquiry
— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) November 13, 2019
Mr Kent goes on to outline an Mr Giuliani’s attempt to "smear" US officials in Ukraine.
"It was unexpected, and most unfortunate, to watch some Americans – including those who allied themselves with corrupt Ukrainians in pursuit of private agendas – launch attacks on dedicated public servants advancing US interests in Ukraine," he tells the committee.
"In my opinion, those attacks undermined US and Ukrainian national interests and damaged our critical bilateral relationship."
Read Mr Kent’s full opening testimony here
One scandal, two narratives
Listening to the opening statements from the top Democrat and Republican on the House Intelligence Committee is like looking into two parallel worlds, writes Ben Riley-Smith.
Adam Schiff, the Democrat chairman, went first and outlined a narrative where Donald Trump abused his presidential powers for personal gain. The actions of Mr Trump and his allies were at times "insidious", "extraordinary", "terrible", "breathtaking" and "odious" in Mr Schiff’s mind. He argued that not just Mr Trump’s presidency but the Constitution itself, which gives power to the House to carry out impeachment, was hanging in the balance in the inquiry.
But for Devin Nunes, the top Repubilcan, the entire impeachment drive was a "coup" and a "sham" which attempted to unseat a sitting president without cause. He accused the Democrats of carrying out a "scorched earth war against President Trump" and described the push as a "carefully orchestrated media smear campaign". Voters will decide which of those separate universes they think is closer to reality.
Adam Schiff delivers the Democrat message simply and effectively
Nick Allen’stake on the proceedings so far:
It’s easy to see why Nancy Pelosi, the Democrat Speaker of the House, chose Adam Schiff to lead the impeachment inquiry.
Mrs Pelosi sent a warning through the Democrat ranks that there must be no grandstanding in this hearing.
Democrats were told they must be sober, stick to the facts, and avoid the appearance that this is a partisan politicial witch hunt against a Republican president.
For that reason Mr Schiff’s calm, understated approach was the right one for the Democrats.
His opening statement was succinct, devoid of hyperbole, and set out a clear timeline.
It’s "as simple and as terrible as that," Mr Schiff concluded.
He did an effective job of delivering the Democrat message in a way the American people will be able to immediately understand.
Republican interruptions begin
Mr Taylor and Mr Kent are sworn in, but before things can proceed much further a Republican congresswoman interrupts to ask that the whistleblower whose complaint triggered the impeachment investigation be called to testify.
Bill Taylor and George Kent take the oath to tell the whole truth. pic.twitter.com/TPtW7Tei58
— Olivia Beavers (@Olivia_Beavers) November 13, 2019
Mr Schiff insists that he does not know the identity of the whistleblower and is committed to protecting their anonymity.
.@Jim_Jordan to Chairman Schiff: "Of the 435 members of Congress, you are the only Member who knows who the whistleblower is, and your staff is the only staff who has had a chance to talk with that individual.
"We would like that opportunity. When might that happen?" pic.twitter.com/UBzmorAbOR
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) November 13, 2019
'A televised theatrical performance': First glimpse of the Republican counter attack
Top Dem on committee Adam Schiff is boiling down their Ukraine scandal narrative at start of the hearing. "Insidious", "extraordinary", "terrible", "breathtaking" and "odious" among the words he uses to describe what happened.
— Ben Riley-Smith (@benrileysmith) November 13, 2019
Now the Republicans have their say, with an opening statement by Devin Nunes, the most senior Republican on the committee. Mr Nunes says "what we will witness today is a televised theatrical performance".
Mr Nunes also lashes out at the two officials testifying before the committee, Mr Taylor and Mr Kent, congratulating them for passing the Democrats’ "audition" and the “low rent” sequel to the Russia Investigation.
Representative Matt Gaetz, a key Trump ally in Congress, summarises their defence strategy:
Schiff’s dirty tricks will not change the facts:
✅There was no conditionality on aid
✅Both leaders say there was no pressure
✅At the time of the call, Ukrainians weren't aware of any delay on aid
✅The aid was delivered by Trump without an investigation#ImpeachmentHearings
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) November 13, 2019
First public impeachment hearing begins
Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the Intelligence Committee, has opened the first public hearing.
A somber Mr Schiff begins by making his own opening statement outlining the events that unfolded in the run-up to the impeachment investigation. “There are still missing pieces," he says.
Mr Schiff says that during Mr Trump’s "infamous" phone call with the Ukrainian president, "Trump complained that the US relationship with Ukraine had not been ‘reciprocal’."
Mr Trump went on to push for Mr Zelenskiy to "do us a favour", requesting that Ukraine investigate Joe Biden and his son Hunter’s dealings in the country. He also asked Mr Zelenskiy to look into a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, rather than Russia, had interfered in the 2016 presidential election.
"Neither of these investigations were in the US national interest," said Mr Schiff. "Both, however, were in Donald Trump’s personal interest, and in the interests of his 2020 re-election campaign."
Mr Schiff references Congress’ impeachment investigation into former Republican president Richard Nixon – but omits to mention the most recent impeachment hearings in US history – those into the behaviour of Democrat president Bill Clinton.
Look out for Jim Jordan
Nick Allen writes:
The Republicans have made a last minute substitution on to the committee.
It’s Jim Jordan, a congressman from Ohio, who is one of Mr Trump’s staunchest defenders in Congress. A fellow Republican stood down voluntarily to let him on.
Mr Jordan is a former college wrestling champion who is widely known as Mr Trump’s "attack dog."
He may use the hearing to push for an outing of the whistleblower who set this whole impeachment ball rolling.
Lookout for fireworks when he gets his turn to speak.
It looks to me like Mr Jordan has had a hair cut ahead of his big TV moment.
Behind the scenes on Capitol Hill
Ben Riley-Smith, US Editor, from inside the room where the hearings will take place:
The scene is set here in Room 1100 of the Longworth Building, the biggest room the House Intelligence Committee could find to hold today’s momentous public hearings. At the front is a semicircle of desks where the Democrat and Republican committee members will sit, facing a room packed with rows of chairs and desks for members of the public and press.
At the centre of the room is a single desk with two names — Ambassador Taylor and Mr Kent, the two witnesses who will be appearing today, with black microphones near both empty chairs. The room is as ornate as you would expect for the centre of American democracy. A vast chandelier with around 20 fake candles is hanging overheard. Oil portraits of former congressmen, each more than a meter tall, hang on the walls.
The Republicans have brought props. Behind their section of seats are three huge posters propped up, which presumably they hope will be picked up by the television cameras which will be broadcasting live to the nation. One quotes the Democratic congressman Al Green saying "I’m concerned if we don’t impeach this president he will get re-elected" – a favourite quote of the GOP. They believe that comment – and, they hope, this hearing – will underscore their argument that impeachment is a political push to unseat a sitting president before he can face re-election.
Bill Taylor arrives to testify
Bill Taylor, the charge d’affaires for Ukraine, has arrived on Capitol Hill to deliver his public testimony. He is the first official the Democrats have chosen to call – hoping his strong record of bipartisan public service will make him a powerful first witness.
Trump hits out at Democrats
Mr Trump began the day by attacking leading Democrats and quoting Fox, his favourite cable news network.
“Nancy Pelosi cares more about power than she does about principle. She did not want to go down this road. She realizes this is a huge loser for Democrats. The Founders envisioned the worst people being in politics, yet they couldn’t envision this. You have these people taking…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2019
His latest tweets decries "never Trumpers", referencing his claim that the impeachment process is politically-motivated.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2019