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Politics Takeaways so far from House public impeachment hearings

21:15  13 november  2019
21:15  13 november  2019 Source:   msn.com

Top takeaways from George Kent's newly released impeachment inquiry testimony

  Top takeaways from George Kent's newly released impeachment inquiry testimony George Kent described a "campaign of lies" against former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, guided by Rudy Giuliani.Kent testified that Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani led a "campaign of slander" against former Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch that was "without basis, untrue, period." He said Giuliani was guiding a back-channel effort to get Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and the 2016 U.S. election, which he said was politically motivated.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wednesday’s start of public impeachment hearings in Congress marked the first time that the American public could watch Some key takeaways from the first public witnesses, George Kent and William Taylor: TRUMP PUSHED FOR BIDEN INVESTIGATION Hearings like this

WASHINGTON (AP) — The start of public impeachment hearings unfolding in Congress marks the first time the American public can watch and listen to the witnesses Here are some key takeaways from Wednesday’s hearing featuring the first public witnesses: George Kent and William Taylor.

WASHINGTON — The start of public impeachment hearings unfolding in Congress marks the first time the American public can watch and listen to the witnesses at the heart of the matter.

Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, center, listens as career Foreign Service officer George Kent, testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, during the first public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh): Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, center, listens as career Foreign Service officer George Kent testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill on Nov. 13, 2019. © Provided by The Associated Press Top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, center, listens as career Foreign Service officer George Kent testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill on Nov. 13, 2019.

In several hours of testimony, and even bickering among lawmakers, some memorable moments have emerged.

Here are some key takeaways from Wednesday’s hearing featuring the first public witnesses: George Kent and William Taylor.

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WASHINGTON, DC – The start of public impeachment hearings unfolding in Congress marks the first time the American public can watch and listen to the witnesses whose testimony is at the center of the Democrats’ investigation. In several hours of testimony, punctuated by occasional bickering among

WASHINGTON, DC – The start of public impeachment hearings unfolding in Congress marks the first time the American public can watch and listen to the witnesses whose testimony is at the center of the Democrats’ investigation. In several hours of testimony, punctuated by occasional bickering among

TRUMP PUSHED FOR BIDEN INVESTIGATION

Hearings like this one can be scripted affairs. But on Wednesday, there was one early surprise.

William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, revealed for the first time that his staff members overheard the president speaking on the phone to another diplomat about investigations.

Taylor said some of his staff members were at a restaurant with Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland on the day after the July 25 call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine's newly elected president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Sondland used his cellphone to call Trump from the restaurant and the staff members could hear Trump on the phone asking about “the investigations.” Taylor took that to mean investigations into the Bidens and the Burisma Group, the Ukrainian firm that had hired Hunter Biden as a director in 2014, he told lawmakers.

Read George Kent Full Opening Statement at the First Public Hearing in Trump’s Impeachment Inquiry

  Read George Kent Full Opening Statement at the First Public Hearing in Trump’s Impeachment Inquiry The U.S. State Department official with decades of experience in Ukraine policy appeared Wednesday morning before the House Intelligence Committee. Both officials have expressed alarm in previous closed-door testimonies about Trump’s conduct with regards to Ukraine — highlighting allegations that he pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival, Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, and used his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to subvert normal diplomatic channels in this pursuit.

The start of public impeachment hearings unfolding in Congress marks the first time the American public can watch and listen to the witnesses whose testimony is at the center of the Democrats’ investigation. In several hours of testimony, punctuated by occasional bickering among lawmakers

WASHINGTON (AP) — Wednesday’s start of public impeachment hearings unfolding in Congress marked the first time that the American public could watch and Some key takeaways from the first public witnesses: George Kent and William Taylor. Trump pushed for biden investigation.

Sondland told the president that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward, and after the call, one of Taylor’s staffers asked Sondland what Trump thought about Ukraine, he said.

Slideshow by photo services

“Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which (Rudy) Giuliani was pressing for,” Taylor said in his opening statement.

“I take it the import of that is that he cares more about that than he does about Ukraine?” Schiff asked Taylor.

“Yes, sir,” he responded sternly.

Taylor said he only learned about the call last Friday and didn’t know about it when he appeared for a closed-door deposition with House investigators conducting the impeachment inquiry.

LOFTY LANGUAGE

The witnesses — one a Vietnam War veteran and West Point graduate, the other a career foreign service officer whose family has served the country for generations — nodded to the history of the moment with language both lofty and personal.

Their phrasing laid bare the stakes of the proceedings even as some Republicans sought to minimize them, and their intentional references to serving under presidents of both parties were aimed at pre-empting Republican attacks on them as political partisans. That didn’t stop Rep. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the House intelligence committee, from deriding the witnesses as being part of a smear campaign, “star chamber” from within the civil service.

William Taylor, the top U.S. official in Ukraine, capped his opening statement with an ode to how Americans feel in their best moments about their country: "less concerned about what language we speak, what religion if any we practice, where our parents and grandparents came from; more concerned about building a new country."

For his part, George Kent singled out by first name and even nickname the impeachment witnesses who were born abroad, likening them to 20th century national security policy: Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski, both immigrants.

"Masha, Alex, and Fiona were born abroad before their families or they themselves personally chose to immigrate to the United States. They all made the professional choice to serve the United States as public officials, helping shape our national security policy, towards Russia in particular. And we and our national security are the better for it," Kent said.

“IT WAS CRAZY”

Crazy. Counterproductive. Illogical.

William Taylor was unsparing, and colorful, in his characterization of making military aid to Ukraine contingent on the country announcing investigations into the 2016 U.S. election and into Trump’s political rival Joe Biden.

He was presented with oversized images of a September text message exchange with two other envoys in which he said it would be “crazy” to not provide military assistance to the former Soviet republic for domestic political gain. Those text messages were the among the first documentary pieces of evidence to become public as part of the House impeachment inquiry, and established not only the possible contours of a quid pro quo but also laid bare diplomatic concerns about the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine.

Asked to elaborate, Taylor said, “It was counterproductive to all of what we had been trying to do. It was illogical, it could not be explained, it was crazy.”

Security assistance to Ukraine, he said, was not only critical to that country but also to America’s own national interests.

Week 2 Of Public Impeachment Hearings: Who's Testifying And When .
After a whirlwind first week of public hearings in the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump, the House Intelligence Committee is preparing to hear from a whopping eight more witnesses this week. Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, is sworn in to testify before a House Intelligence Committee hearing as part of the impeachment inquiry, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on Nov. 15.

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