Dems Public Impeachment Goes Live, GOP Says Nothing to See Here
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WASHINGTON, DC - The Democrats' public impeachment hearings go LIVE today in the House of Representatives, and they're being described as both "blockbuster" and "ho-hum," depending on your point of view.
The televised testimonies of two witnesses are taking place while Republicans attempt to have their own witnesses come forward.
The "he said, she said" elements central to this impeachment inquiry can be hard to follow and both sides are adding more fuel to the fire. Democrats released new transcripts from closed-door proceedings only hours before the new hearings. The president's allies' main contention remains that the evidence does not add up to impeachment.
The new transcripts are from October 23, the day Republicans dramatically stormed into a closed-door hearing when the Pentagon official in charge of Ukraine testified the president directed aid to Ukraine be frozen while he asked the country to investigate its internal corruption.
"There was no investigation and the aid flowed as it was supposed to," former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley says, maintaining that even if the president tried to pursue a quid pro quo – it didn't happen.
MY FAITH VOTES Calls for Prayer: Impeachment Process and Christians Call to Prayer Guide
Meanwhile, the impeachment hearings are now on full public display, broadcast live on networks, cable channels and the internet.
First up – acting US Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor who texted Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the EU, that it would be "crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign."
Then comes diplomat George Kent who said behind closed doors that the president's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani ran a "campaign of slander" and "lies" to oust former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
Later in the week, the House hears from Fiona Hill, the former national security council official who said in her testimony that former National Security Advisor John Bolton was so distraught over a July 10th White House meeting with Ukrainian officials that he abruptly ended a meeting in his office.
The public proceedings come after acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney admitted and then denied a "quid pro quo," saying it wasn't anything unusual. "We do that all the time with foreign policy," he said.
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) defends Trump saying, "The president asked for an investigation of possible corruption by someone who happens to be a political rival." Kennedy said Sunday President Trump's desire to withhold aid could be lawful.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) agrees, saying, "Foreign aid by law can only go out to countries that are not corrupt."
Paul echoed that assessment, adding that Republicans should be allowed to bring witnesses of their own to the circus.
"If you can't call Hunter Biden and if you can't call the whistleblower, that's not, that's sort of a sham, that's not even really a trial," Paul continued.
A big fish for Democrats in the impeachment inquiry is Mick Mulvaney. But Tuesday he said he would not comply with a subpoena.
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