The Volker and Morrison hearing has concluded. It lasted roughly 5 hours. That’s roughly 9.5 hours total today between the two impeachment inquiry hearings.
As the hearing ended, Volker approached the dais to shake hands with several members. He specifically called to Rep. Heck to thank him for giving him time to answer.
Schiff delivered a fiery closing statement, reminding everyone of the facts gathered from witnesses so far and arguing that it points to an abuse of power.
In one of his most animated moments so far, Schiff cast the pressure campaign on Ukraine as Trump using corruption as a pretense to open an investigation into the Bidens, saying that Republicans are more upset that “somebody blew the whistle” and not potential abuse of power by the president.
He said efforts to withhold a meeting and aid on the condition of opening an investigation into a political opponent should be “repugnant to every American.”
In the final hours of the impeachment hearing, Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., asked Volker about the president’s attacks on Yovanovitch and Vindman, as well as Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.
Volker said it was "not appropriate" for Trump to publicly chide Yovanovitch and Vindman.
Volker also said that McCain was "an honorable man and very much a war hero." Trump repeatedly targeted McCain before the senator died last year.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., sought to portray the 55-day hold on Ukrainian security assistance as a nothing-burger on Tuesday, by asking the two witnesses if anyone had bribed or extorted Ukraine or committed treason.
“Did either of you ever have any evidence of quid pro quo?” Stefanik asked. “Any evidence of bribery?”
“Any evidence of treason?” she continued.
The witnesses said no to all three questions.
As the third day of impeachment hearing wears into its 11th hour, the audience section of the hearing room for the public has dwindled. About a couple of dozen members of the public are here. No lawmakers are in their section of the audience.
During his questioning, Rep. Chris Stewart, R-Utah, argued that no political candidate is immune from investigation if they are suspected of unethical or criminal activity.
Volker responded, “I don’t think anyone should be above the law.”
Stewart seems to be arguing that Trump, without evidence, was trying to see if the Bidens were committing a crime in a foreign country. However, Volker stated that there are “channels for doing that” as well as treaties that can be triggered if an American commits a crime abroad.
This defense -- that no one is above the law -- is aimed at defending probing the Bidens. However, the president’s own lawyers have argued in court filings that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime. Trump's legal team made this point while attempting to block New York City prosecutors from obtaining the president's tax returns. A judge then ruled against Trump.
On Tuesday's episode, Article II host Steve Kornacki talks to NBC News correspondent Leigh Ann Caldwell about the testimony provided by Pence aide Jennifer Williams and Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council.
The two discuss Williams and Vindman’s response to the July 25 phone Trump-Ukraine call (which both were on) and the Republican strategy to discredit Vindman and elevate the focus on the identity of the whistleblower. They also talk about the Democratic strategy to allow the witnesses to tell their stories.
Download the episode here.
Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, complained furiously that the whistleblower did not deserve “absolute right” to anonymity and that he was angry that Schiff keeps accusing House Republicans of trying to out the whistleblower. Republicans have repeatedly asked questions about who might have known about the July 25 call before it went public. Conaway also pointed out that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has said in a dear colleague letter that the whistleblower would need to talk directly to the Intelligence Committee.
“This is about leveling the playing field between our two teams,” Conaway said.
Schiff responded dryly, saying he would enter the whistleblower statute — and ranking member Nunes’ comments on the importance of anonymity for whistleblowers — into the congressional record. He did not acknowledge Pelosi’s letter.
Several members of Trump’s White House, re-election campaign and his family trashed Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman on Tuesday as he testified publicly that the July 25 phone call between Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart was “improper.”
Dan Scavino Jr., who serves as assistant to the president and director of social media at the White House, suggested that Vindman has dual loyalty to Ukraine after Vindman confirmed that he was offered a position as defense minister in Ukraine three times.
Scavino tweeted, “#ICYMI: Lt. Col. Vindman was offered the position of Defense Minister for the Ukrainian Government THREE times! #ImpeachmentSHAM."