WASHINGTON D.C. (WDTN) – The first day of House impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump has concluded. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff of California helmed the proceedings.
UPDATE: 2:31 P.M.: Ohio Congressmen Jim Jordan and Mike Turner asked heated questions of house impeachment witnesses Ambassador William Taylor and State Department employee George Kent, aiming about their general knowledge of any alleged offenses committed by Trump
Jordan said repeatedly that Taylor had met with Ukranian President Volodymyr Zelensky three times, but Taylor never informed Zelensky of aide being held up by the White House during those meetings.
“You said, my clear understanding is (Ukraine) wouldn’t get the money until they did the investigations (into Joe Biden’s son Hunter and the Ukraine energy company he worked for Burisma),” Jordan said. “But (Zelensky) didn’t do a press conference, he didn’t tweet about it, and you just told a ranking member of Congress that he didn’t do an interview on CNN. You had three face-to-face meetings, and it didn’t come up.”
Jordan made a point of questioning Taylor about not discussing with Zelensky on the withholding of aid. He also questioned how Taylor came to know this was occurring in a sentence from his deposition.
“We have six people having four conversations in one sentence,” Jordan said. “Yet you say this is where you get your clear understanding. I’ve seen church prayer chains easier to understand than this.”
Turner pressed Taylor and Kent on the veracity of their testimony.
“I find it odd you’re testifying in an impeachment hearing against the president yet you haven’t met with him,” Turner said. “If this were in a court and covered by the 6th Amendment, words and hearsay wouldn’t be permitted, and that’s what made the most of your testimony.”
Taylor said his information on the White House demanding quid pro quo came from people he had talked to in the White House.
Democrats asked about the “regular and irregular channels” that the White House was communicating with Ukraine. Kent said Rudy Giuliani acted as the irregular channel and pushed for one US official to be pulled out of the country regularly on Fox News.
Democrats said the witnesses were often relying on second-hand testimony because the State Department was refusing to turn over documents to the House and wasn’t cooperating in a full capacity.
California Rep. Eric Swalwell asked if the State Department had told either of them to not appear for testimony. Taylor and Kent said they were told not to appear, but were then subpoenaed later and had to appear under legal obligation.
The first day of President Donald Trump’s impeachment hearings began with a volatile back and forth between House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (Ca.) and local Congressman Jim Jordan.
Schiff stated the name of the whistleblower central to the impeachment complaint, who is said to be a CIA employee who worked in the White House by the New York Times, would not be allowed to be named by Congressional members during questioning during today’s hearing.
“We will do everything necessary to protect the whistleblower’s identity,” Schiff said. “And I’m disturbed to hear members of the committee who have in the past voiced strong support for whistleblower protections, seek to undermine those protections by outing the whistleblower.”
Jordan then questioned Schiff, stating he was the only member of Congress who knew the identity of the whistleblower.
“You are the only member who knows who that individual is,” Jordan said, stating Schiff and his staff had questioned the whistleblower themselves. “We would like that opportunity. When might that happen in this proceeding today?”
“As the gentleman (Jordan) knows, that is a false statement,” Schiff fired back. “I don’t know the identity of the whistleblower. You’ll have an opportunity after the witnesses have testified to make a motion to subpoena any witness and compel a vote.”
Today’s hearings began with testimony from George Kent, a senior State Department official in charge of Ukraine and William Taylor, the top US ambassador to Ukraine.
Democrats would question witnesses for 45 minutes followed with Republican questions for 45 minutes. The hearings are airing live on WDTN.com.
The House of Representatives approved an impeachment inquiry into Trump on Oct. 31.