Trump 'cared more about investigations of Biden' than Ukraine policy, says impeachment witness – live – The Guardian,

Trump 'cared more about investigations of Biden' than Ukraine policy, says impeachment witness – live – The Guardian,

Republican representativeChris Stewartopened his questioning ofBill TaylorandGeorge Kentby welcoming Americans to “year four of the impeachment of President Trump.”

Yamiche Alcindor(@ Yamiche)

Rep. Chris Stewart summing up the GOP defense of President Trump: “Welcome to year four of the impeachment of President Trump.”

November 13, 2019

This echoes a common line of argument amongRepublicans: thatDemocratshave been determined to impeachTrumpsince day one and are searching for any reason to justify his removal from office.

However, in reality, many HouseDemocratsonly came around to supporting an impeachment inquiry in the immediate weeks beforeNancy Pelosiformally launched the investigation at the end of September.

Trump‘s press secretary is trumpeting efforts byRepublicanson the House intelligence committee to paintBill TaylorandGeorge Kent’stestimony as the result of hearsay, emphasizing that neither ever spoke with the president.

Stephanie Grisham(@ PressSec)

Rep Turner rightly points out that the first 2 “star” witnesses in this impeachment sham have never even spoken to@ POTUS. Think about that: in a Presidential impeachment hearing, the dems witnesses have never even spoken w President Trump. This country deserves so much better.

November 13, 2019

However, a number of commentators responded to Grisham’s argument by noting that the White House has tried to block the testimony of officials who regularly speak to Trump.

Chris Hayes(@ chrislhayes)

There are lots of people who * have * spoken to Trump that could testify: Mulvaney, Bolton, but the White House has ordered them not to. ​​

November 13, 2019

RepresentativeMike Turner‘s combative questioning ofBill TaylorandGeorge Kentrepresented quite a reversal from a September hearing with the acting director of national intelligence, during which the Republican congressman expressed concern aboutTrump‘s Ukraine call.

Kaitlan Collins(@ kaitlancollins)

Reminder that Rep. Mike Turner, who just questioned Taylor moments ago, said this Sept. 26 after reading the transcript: “I want to say to the President : This is not OK. That conversation is not OK..I think it’s disappointing to the American public when they read the transcript. “

November 13, 2019

RepresentativeMike Turner, a more moderate Republican on the House intelligence committee, just grilledBill TaylorandGeorge Kentand dismissed their testimony as the result of hearsay.

The combative performance by one of the more mediumRepublicanson the committee demonstrated once again that the likely eventual vote on articles of impeachment againstTrumpwill almost certainly fall along party lines.

Rachael Bade(@ rachaelmbade)

) Truly remarkable. Rep. Mike Turner, a moderate and defense / foreign policy guru, is telling both witnesses that their testimony is hearsay and wouldn’t be allowed in a court of law.

Guys, Rs are NOT going to vote for impeachment …

November 13, 2019

Bill Taylorhas had to repeatedly emphasize his nonpartisan position while taking questions from the Republican members of the House intelligence committee.

RepresentativeJohn Ratcliffe, whomTrumppreviously planned to nominate as director of national intelligence, asked Taylor andGeorge Kentwhether they believed anything impeachable had occurred.

“I’m not here to do anything having to do with, to decide about impeachment,” Taylor said. “That is not what either of us are here to do. This is your job. ”

CBS News(@ CBSNews)

Taylor tells Rep. John Ratcliffe: “I’m not here to do anything having to do with, to decide about impeachment. That is not what either of us are here to do. This is your job.”

(November) , 2019

Taylor: I’m not a ‘star witness for anything’

Jim Jordanbelittled the testimony ofBill Taylorand expressed bafflement that his Democratic colleagues consider the longtime diplomat to be their “star witness.”

Taylor responded by again emphasizing he was not testifying to help the political fortunes of either party. “I don’t consider myself a star witness for anything,” Taylor said. “I’m not here to take one side or the other.”

CBS News(@ CBSNews)

Taylor: “I don’t consider myself a star witness for anything … I’m not here to take one side or the other”

(November) , 2019

Taylor, who currently serves as the acting US ambassador to Ukraine, was first nominated to the post in Kyiv by former Republican presidentGeorge W Bush.


Jim Jordan, aTrumpally, echoed Republican messaging by trying to paintBill Taylor‘s knowledge of a potential quid pro quo as relying on secondhand information.

However, this argument may fall apart next week, when a number of people who do have direct knowledge of the pressure campaign on Ukraine – namelyGordon SondlandandAlexander Vindman– testify publicly.

That said, Jordan appears to have succeeded at his short-term goal of creating a clip of Taylor acknowledging he did not listen to Trump’s Ukraine call or discuss a potential announcement of investigations with the Ukrainian president. It seems likely that exchange will play on Fox News tonight.

The Democratic and Republican counsels have concluded their questioning, and the hearing has moved on to five-minute questioning from each member of the committee.

RepresentativeJim Jordan, one of the president’s closest allies , is now pressingBill Tayloron his testimony that Ukraine’s military aid was tied to public announcements of investigations intoJoe Bidenand the 2016 election.

The Republican counsel appeared to be trying to getBill Taylorto justify theTrump administration‘s odd decision-making structure around Ukraine policy, prompting looks of bafflement of bemusement from the longtime diplomat.

Evan McMurry(@ evanmcmurry)

) Taylor: “It’s a little unusual for the US ambassador to EU to play a role in Ukraine policy.”

GOP counsel: “Okay. It might be irregular, but it’s certainly not outlandish. “

(November) , 2019

Republican counsel press witnesses on Hunter Biden

The counsel for Republican members of the House intelligence committee,Steve Castor, is pressingBill TaylorandGeorge KentonHunter Biden‘s qualifications to join the board of the Ukrainian company Burisma.

Given their decades of experience in public service, Taylor and Kent are unsurprisingly unfamiliar with the resume of Biden, the son of former vice presidentJoe Biden.Kent and Taylor responded to a number of Castor’s questions about Biden’s qualifications by simply saying, “I don’t know.”

ABC News Politics(@ ABCPolitics)

NEW: “I believe that companies build their boards with a variety of reasons, not only to promote their business plans,” George Kent says when asked if he thinks Hunter Biden was added to the board of Burisma potentially for protection purposeshttps: //

(November) , 2019

Kent has testified he raised concerns in 2015 about the appearance of a conflict of interest in the younger Biden’s work for Burisma, but he emphasized he had seen no evidence of US officials hesitating to examine the company because of Biden’s role on the board.

Adam Gabbatt

Adam Gabbatt

AsBill Taylorbegan his testimony this morning, there was aa stark difference in the coverage on Fox News and elsewhere. A box appeared next to Taylor onscreen, nominally giving background information on the acting US ambassador to Ukraine.

Intriguingly, that background information was sourced fromDonald Trumpand the GOP’s criticism of Taylor.

“President Trump dismissed Taylor as a‘ never Trumper ’,” Fox News informed its viewers. It added: “White House called Taylor’s closed-door testimony‘ triple hearsay ’.”

Fox News offered less information on the actual substance of Taylor’s testimony: in which he said he had a “clear understanding” that the release of US aid was tied to Ukraine investigating theBidens. Specifically, it offered no information.

Danielle Misiak(@ DanielleMisiak)

) fox’s graphic for bill taylor vs. msnbc’s graphic

you already know how this is gonna play fiaMJY

(November) , 2019

Other than that, Fox News has so far done its best to present Bill Taylor’s testimony as un- explosive.

As the rest of the media has marveled at Bill Taylor’s statement that Trump “cared more about investigations of Biden” than Ukraine policy, and that a Taylor staffer overheard a Trump phone call where the president asked about “the investigations ”, much of Fox News’ coverage has adopted a“ nothing to see here ”approach.

Across televis ion news coverage, CNN, ABC and MSNBC have repeatedly changed their chyrons to represent the latest revelations from Taylor andGeorgeKent‘s testimony, Fox News has kept its own on-screen text staunchly neutral: “TAYLOR AND KENT TESTIFY IN FIRST IMPEACHMENT HEARING.” It was also the only channel to cut to an adbreak asAdam Schiffbegan questioning the two officials.

Ari Fleischer, a former press secretary forGeorge W Bush, criticized the questioning of the lawyer speaking for the Republican members of the House intelligence Committee.

Ari Fleischer(@ AriFleischer)

Whatever the GOP counsel is doing, it’s not working. I don’t undertand where he’s going.

November 13, 2019

Updated (at 2.) PM EST

Republicans resurrect baseless conspiracy theory about Ukraine

Republicanson the House intelligence committee appear to be using their questioning time to add credibility to the baseless conspiracy theory that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 election. (The US intelligence community has thoroughly confirmed that Russia interfered in the election.)

Melanie Zanona(@ MZanona)

) Nunes & the GOP are focusing on the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that it was Ukraine that interfered in the 2016 election.

The reason?Republicansare trying justify why Trump would withhold aid from Ukraine .. they say he had a right to push to root out corruption.

(November) , 2019

But it is worth noting that Republicans have not yet sought to counterBill TaylorandGeorge Kent‘s testimony outlining a months-long campaign byTrump‘s allies to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations intoJoe Bidenand the 2016 election.

Mike Memoli(@ mikememoli)

) Republicans are not using their time to challenge the statements made about apparent Trump efforts to pressure Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election.

Instead, they’re asking about what they see as efforts by Ukraine to interfere in the 2016 election.

(November) , 2019

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