4 Key Moments From First Public Hearings Of Impeachment Inquiry

As House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) banged his gavel, a monumental day in a historic impeachment inquiry got underway Wednesday. A bow-tied Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent and solemn Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor raised their right hands and the first public hearing of the inquiry began.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://talkingpointsmemo.com/?p=1261767
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The primary Republican agitator was Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), an unusual choice for lead pitbull… She tends to have a more restrained temperament than the likes of ranking member Nunes or Jordan.

Trying to make it seem that Schiff is not being fair to the Republican lady.

When it was the Republicans’ turn, Ranking Member Devin Nunes (R-CA) sought to guide the discussion away from the heart of the issue, diving down rabbit holes like CrowdStrike or the fake Hunter Biden conspiracy. Nunes and GOP staff attorney Steve Castor largely chose to ignore the witnesses and expound on their own conspiracy theories, checking in with Taylor or Kent every now and again to maintain the facade of the questioning format.

Is there a way to give them some kind of electrical shock (especially Jordan when he goes off on one of his tirades) every time they pull their bullshit? Nunes would have been a smoking char just by the end of his opening statement.


I liked the stenographer. They’re always the coolest people in the room. Especially on Perry Mason.


The point that I’m not hearing being made, and maybe it’s because I’m not spending too much time on the TV coverage, is that the aid was released and Zelensky got his meeting AFTER the WB came forward internally.
So yeah, the admin attempts to bury the complaint and uses the intervening time to try to cover up the quid pro quo. That isn’t exactly exculpatory, right?


Ms. Riga,
“release his taxes” ??

I’m guessing Rep. Stefanik has called for Trump to release his tax returns, as “release his taxes” makes no sense.



Check Josh’s recent post in Editors’ Blog. It just happened. Schiff had mentioned it in his superb opening statement, too.


Gym, put on a jacket. You look and sound like every idiot wrestling coach, ever.


(1) Tayler saying that his aide (David Holmes) heard Trump asking about getting the goods for his extortion scheme on cell phone call on 7/26 with Sondland, Sondland then saying that Trump only cares about getting the goods on Biden, not Ukraine.

(2) Announcement that first OMB person is coming in to testify on Saturday. Mulveney had them all blockaded, and that stonewall is now (evidently) broken. I expect this will (a) link Trump to withholding the aid, and (b) show that the hold was released either because Bolton had ordered it out, directly contrary to the hold, or Trump/Mulvainey knew they had been caught when the WB compliant was sent to congress on 9/9.

(3) respond to Jordon’s scream that “person who started it all” come testify, with Welch saying “Trump is welcome to come sit and answer questions”

(4) Kore… (can’t spell it)'s comment at the end on the time line - House learns of the whistler-blower on 9/9, aid released on 9/11. That was one of their two defenses, and just blow out of the water.

(5) Tayler’s answer to the question about what would happen if a military officer held back aid until he got a personal benefit, and his answer that they would be court marshaled. I expect that quote will get some serious air-time.

These are the key takeaways IMHO.

P.s. both witnesses were great. My SO said they understood for the first time why Ukraine mattered.


Jim Jordan was so unhinged and antsy one wonders if he peed in his jockstrap.


Now that Gym is all high-and-mighty I’m sure he’s got people to do that for him.


I live next door to NY-21 (in NY-19, Delgado) and Stefanik is the next piece of GOP trash to be taken out upstate. She’s awful. tough district though, last Dem got 42-43% in 2018




It was a gift from:


NonSEnse. What are libtards hiding fRom? Why nO whistlE blowwEr? Why hide The chaLupa?


Sondlond’s inexperience as an Ambassador is coming back to bite Trump. I have to think a more seasoned diplomat would not have taken such a call on a cellphone, in a public setting, then talked freely about it with others. I hope Trump really enjoys that million dollars Sondland gave his Inauguration, because it’s costing him much more than that.


Having listened to almost all of today’s hearings, I hope all the Rethugs get a splendid night’s sleep. They may also consider getting another attorney to represent them; he was lame.


Well he doesn’t have a lot to work with. He might not have learned to be quite as shameless as the elected Republicans. And he might want to maintain a shred of self-respect (although being involved with Nunes and Jordan in trying to protect Trump eats away at that very quickly).

Not defending him, mind you. Just sayin’.
He can fuck off as far as I’m concerned.


I want to make a point about “timeline”. Anything argument about cause and effect must, naturally, adhere to a chronological timeline or it’s just nonsense. After all, the cause has to come before effect.

The Rs, however, feel no such need to adhere to the timeline, established or fantasy, for any of their arguments, not accept any cause and effect even when the timeline establishes it with a high degree of certainty based on circumstantial evidence. So, in the R way of thinking, the release of aid had nothing to do with the whistleblower complaint being made known to those who could release that aid. And Zelensky agreeing to an interview where he would announce the demanded investigations, scheduled before the aid was released, and cancelled immediately after the release, has nothing to do with the release or the hold.

Meanwhile, the Rs enforce timeline when it suits their argument, such as Zelensky not knowing Trump had officially put a hold on the aid prior to the July 25th phone call. That may be true, based on literal cause and effect, but knowing about an official hold, and knowing that the aid should be forthcoming, has not been received yet, and could be held hostage to what Trump wanted was DEFINITELY a known possibility on the July 25th phone call. Any reasoning person in their position would KNOW about that potential leverage even if it wasn’t made plain to them either directly or through channels or via media reports.

So the Rs argue that the damning timeline and certain of events are completely coincidental circumstantially, but participants are completely ignorant of everything that isn’t explicitly established in that timeline.

The Ds need to respond in kind. Explicitly state that Trump telling Sondland that there’s “no quid pro quo”, which happened after Trump learned about the whistleblower complaint, was explicitly an attempt to cover his ass since the quid pro quo (aka extortion attempt) was made plain prior to that when they thought nobody was watching.

And, Schiff has to make it plain that Trump’s attempts to help his own election prospects via the extortion was ALSO designed to help his Republican allies, which is THEIR motive to allow him every benefit of the doubt even when the circumstantial evidence is overwhelming. They wouldn’t be so deferential if a Democrat president had done 1/10th of what Trump did with Ukraine.