The first public impeachment hearing was held on Wednesday, November 13th with two witnesses, acting U.S Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, and State Department official George Kent. Both testified how they grew increasingly concerned over the summer about how Ukraine was being urged to launch political investigations President Donald Trump wanted in exchange for either a White House meeting or military aid.
Vox report by Andrew Prokop.
Following the first public impeachment hearing, Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference on Thursday, November 14th saying that the testimony of acting U.S Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor, and State Department official George Kent was “devastating,” and that it “corroborated evidence of bribery” that President Trump himself has admitted to.
Axios report by Zachary Basu.
Today, November 15th, the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified in the impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump. She was “shocked and devastated” after learning that President Donald Trump had disparaged her in his July phone call with the Ukrainian President, while a tweet from the President attacking her during the impeachment inquiry hearing sparked a real-time response and new Democratic accusations of witness intimidation.
CNN Politics report by Jeremy Herb & Manu Raju.
Historic public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump start today, November 13th of 2019. Democrats will build a case to impeach the President, while Republicans will argue against impeachment.
The Democrats case to impeach include Trumps solicitation of election meddling from Ukraine, by starting an investigation into his campaign rival Joe Biden; in exchange for an invitation of President Zelensky to the White House and the release of military and security assistance to Ukraine among other charges.
The Republicans case against impeachment is that the inquiry was flawed, Donald Trump as President has vast foreign policy powers and was within his right to make such requests; and after all the military assistance was released to Ukraine.
CNN Politics report by Zachary Cohen, Clare Foran, Michael Warren & Zachary Wolf.
Last week it was reported that Michael Bloomberg was preparing a potential run for a 2020 bid. Earlier this week, Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is considering of joining the Democratic presidential primary. The late comers to the race are worried about the front runner, former Vice President Joe Biden not being able to secure the nomination and that Senator Elizabeth Warren or Senator Bernie Sanders could win the nomination. Bloomberg’s strategy is to go after Super Tuesday states by being able to use the vast amount of personal wealth he has to buy up advertising in those states. While Patrick could influence the results of the early states, and have significant support of the black voters if he was in the race.
Politico report by Marc Caputo & David Siders.
Usually by this time, the Democratic presidential primary field would narrow, but instead it looks like it may grow with Bloomberg and Patric considering a run for the nomination and they might not be alone.
Hilary Clinton said on BBC Radio 5 Live, “I will certainly tell you, I’m under enormous pressure from many, many, many people to think about it.” When she was asked about running again. She did follow up her comment with, “I, as I say, never, never, never say never. But as of this moment, sitting here in this studio talking to you, that is absolutely not in my plans.”
Politico report by Abbey Marshall.
LAST MONTH: There was no quid pro quo, and you won’t find any.
TODAY: There is quid pro quo, and what about it.
U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland appointed by President Trump revised his testimony to lawmakers in the House’s impeachment inquiry, saying in the latest version that the president’s dealings with Ukraine amounted to a clear quid pro quo.
The Hill report by Mike Lillis & Olivia Beavers.
Just over a month ago, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said “If you’re looking for a circumstance where the President of the United States was threatening the Ukraine with cutting off aid unless they investigated his political opponent, you’d be very disappointed. That does not exist.” Today after the transcript of the revised testimony from Sondland came out, Graham said “I’ve written the whole process off … I think this is a bunch of BS.”
Business Insider report by John Haltiwanger.
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham also said today that it was unclear to him whether it would be an impeachable offense if President Trump demanded a quid pro quo from Ukraine’s president.
The Hill report by Alexander Bolton.
Today may go down as a date that students in history class will be reading about in their history books. The House passed a resolution formalizing its impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The House of Representatives passed the resolution 232-196 with only two democrats voting no – Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey.
NPR report by Brandon Carter.
While there is a lot of talk today about the House vote formalizing its impeachment inquiry; we can’t forget that there is a heated Democratic primary race in full swing. With Iowa caucus less then a 100 days away new polls show Senator Elizabeth Warren as the most favorable, followed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg and then by Senator Bernie Sanders. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who was the former front runner is now polling in fourth place in Iowa.
The Hill report by Tal Axelrod.
In the first primary state of New Hampshire, Senator Bernie Sanders takes the lead in most recent poll with Senator Elizabeth Warren close behind him. In third place is former Vice President Joe Biden and in fourth place is Mayor Pete Buttigieg. Progressive candidates are surging to the top of the polls in these early voting states, while the more centrist candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris are losing their ground.
The Hill report by Jonathan Easley.
In the national polls, lesser know candidates with progressive ideas are rising. While the former Vice President Joe Biden still leads the national polls, followed by Senator Elizabeth Warren and then by Senator Bernie Sanders; a businessman Andrew Yang and Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard are gaining some ground. Yang is polling at 3%, the same as Senator Kamala Harrris in the national polls. While Representative Tulsi Gabbard is polling at 4% giving her a lead over Harris.
National Review report by Alexandra Desanctis.
Today there was another key witness that testified as part of the House impeachment inquiry; Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a highly decorated Army officer who is currently the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council. Vindman is a first hand witness who listened in on the July 25th Trump-Zelensky call. He raised concerns over the context of the call multiple times with his superiors. In his opening testimony he said, “I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine.” He then went on to say that any investigation into the Bidens would be interpreted as a partisan play.
NBC News report by Jonathan Allen & Phil Helsel.
President Trump is defending himself against the incriminating testimony by Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman by calling him a “Never Trumper.” While other Trump defenders are smearing Vindman with unsubstantiated claims, saying that he has dual loyalty and has been advancing Ukrainian interests over those of the United States.
The Intercept report by Robert Mackey.
Trump and his defenders attack on Vindman and his character triggered a backlash; with many Republican House and Senate members speaking out defending Vindmans service and patriotism. Vidman is a Purple Heart recipient and has served on active duty in the U.S. Army for more then 20 years and prides himself as a nonpartisan.
The Hill report by Morgan Chalfant & Brett Samuels.
The House impeachment inquiry hits a stumble as former Bolton aide Charles Kupperman, refuses to testify, his lawyers citing executive privilege. Democrats argued that Kupperman is now a private citizen and that failing to appear before Congress would lead to charges of contempt of Congress. Kupperman filed a lawsuit, leaving it up to the courts to decide.
The Hill report by Rebecca Klar & Mike Lillis.
As a response to the refusal of Charles Kupperman to testify, House set a vote for Thursday, 10-31-19 to formalize and establish parameters for the impeachment inquiry. This would prevent witnesses from refusing to testify, and the White House from withholding documents on claims of executive privilege.
The Wall Street Journal report by Natalie Andrews and Byron Tau.
The White House on the other hand is making a unsubstantiated claim that holding the vote now only proves that the Democrats were holding unauthorized impeachment proceeding. While Republicans are defending their position on the impeachment inquiry thus far.
Fox report by Alex Pappas.
Impeachment inquiry in the House continues this week. On Tuesday, October 22nd in a closed door deposition of Ambassador William B. Taylor it came to light that Donald Trump was contingent on Ukrainian aid to make a public pledge to investigate Bidens and 2016 election.
The Washington Post report of Ambassador William B. Taylor deposition by Rachel Bade, Anne Gearan, Karoun Demirjian and Mike DeBonis.
The Washington Post – Opening Statement of Ambassador William B. Taylor.
On Wednesday, October 23rd, House Republicans stormed a closed-door hearing of Laura Cooper, a Defense Department official who deals with Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia in protest of the House Democrats impeachment inquiry into Donal Trump.
CBS Report of the event by Stefan Becket, Grace Segers,. Kathryn Watson and Emily Tillett.
Meanwhile Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell urged Republicans to defend trump on process.
The Hill – In depth report by Alexander Bolton.
So it is clear that the Republicans cannot defend Trump on the substance, so they are choosing to defend him on the process. After a very incriminating testimony by Ambassador William B. Taylor, it may be the only option left for Republicans.