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Analysis after Marie Yovanovitch's impeachment testimony

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch gave public testimony Friday regarding the circumstances of her abrupt ouster from her post.
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Chelsea Stahl / NBC News

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Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch gave public testimony Friday regarding the circumstances of her abrupt ouster from her post as part of the House impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

Catch up quickly:

5 things we learned from Yovanovitch's public testimony

Trump defends attacking Yovanovitch after Dems accuse him of 'witness intimidation'

Analysis: The devastating day Trump's presidency came into sharp focus

  • Also: A fate worse than firing — humiliation. "All we have is our reputations," Yovanovitch said.

Yovanovitch says Trump admin kneecapped her diplomatic efforts

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Live Blog

First open hearing drew 13 million TV viewers

About 13.8 million people tuned in to the first day of impeachment hearings, according to media analytics company Nielsen, indicating strong interest from the general public in the proceedings. 

Wednesday’s hearing was the first of at least five days of open hearings. Its audience was about the same as former special counsel Robert Mueller drew in July, though smaller than the approximately 20 million people who watched Brett Kavanaugh's hearing. That hearing also aired across ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. (NBCUniversal is the parent company of NBC, MSNBC and NBC News.)

Unlike Bill Clinton, Trump is unable to compartmentalize impeachment

WASHINGTON — The previous American president who was impeached talked Thursday about the current American facing impeachment.

And here was Bill Clinton’s advice to President Trump: don’t forget about focusing on your day job.

"Look, you got hired to do a job. You don't get to — every day's an opportunity to make something good happen," Clinton told CNN’s Jake Tapper. "And I would say, 'I've got lawyers and staff people handling this impeachment inquiry and they should just have at it. Meanwhile, I'm going to work for the American people.' That's what I would do."

But here’s what Trump has been doing:

“While we are creating jobs and killing terrorists, the radical left, Democrats [are] ripping our country apart. They are trying to overthrow American democracy and erase the votes of tens of millions of Americans,” he said last night at his rally in Louisiana.

Get First Read's take.

Trump rips Pelosi ahead of impeachment hearing

Yovanovitch arrives for hearing

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch arrives to testify to the House Intelligence Committee, on Nov. 15, 2019, on Capitol Hill.Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP

Posters are up

The posters on tripods on the Republican side of the dais read:

  • “I have never seen a direct relationship between investigations and security assistance.” Ukrainian foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko November 14, 2019.

Trump also mentioned the statement in a pair of overnight tweets

  • 95 days since Adam Schiff learned the identity of the whistleblower.
  • “I’m concerned if we don’t impeach this president, he will get re-elected.” Al Green

The number of chairs in the audience for members of Congress has been cut in half, from the about 70 on Wednesday to about 35 today. There are now seats reserved for a House staff with credentials.

OPINION: Republicans' Sixth Amendment impeachment objection has ominous implications

Not every constitutional law question has two sides. We don’t lose sleep, for example, over how many senators represent each state (two), or whether representation in the House must be proportional (yes), or whether the president really has to be at least 35 years old at the time he is sworn in (he does). Much of the time, the text of the Constitution is clear beyond any reasonable dispute — leaving no room for even the most compelling policy arguments that the text should be understood to mean something else.

But you wouldn’t know this from the latest legal objection to the ongoing House impeachment proceedings — that they violate the president’s Sixth Amendment right to confront the witnesses against him.

The right to confront is one of nearly a dozen different individual rights protected by the Sixth Amendment. Those rights apply, per the first four words of that provision, “[i]n all criminal prosecutions.” Thus, federal criminal defendants today have a panoply of protections all designed to ensure the fairness of their trial — ranging from the right to a speedy and public trial to the right to the assistance of counsel in their defense. But only in criminal cases. 

Read the full piece.

Trump on Yovanovitch: 'I don't know much about her'

Budget official expected to defy White House, testify in impeachment inquiry

A top official at the Office of Management and Budget indicated Thursday he is willing to testify in the House impeachment inquiry, his attorney said.

Mark Sandy would be the first employee from the OMB to defy the White House and appear before Congressional investigators. The White House has urged administration officials not to comply with what they are calling a sham investigation.

“If Mr. Sandy is subpoenaed, he will testify this Saturday,” Barbara Van Gelder, an attorney at Cozen O'Conner, said in an email.

Sandy is considered a critical witness who can provide insight into the withheld security aid to Ukraine, which is at the basis of the impeachment inquiry opened by House Democrats.

Read the full story here.

Here's what Yovanovitch said during her October deposition

Key details from Yovanovitch's Oct. 11 deposition closed-door testimony:

  • Said she was a victim of false claims promoted by right-wing media outlets that she'd been badmouthing the president and had presented Ukrainian officials with a "do not prosecute" list.
  • When she asked him for advice on how to deal with the campaign against her, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, told her she should tweet out support or praise for Trump if she wanted to save her job. "He said, 'You know, you need to go big or go home,'" Yovanovitch said, adding that she declined to take his suggestion because it would not have been appropriate for an ambassador.
  • A top State Department official, John Sullivan, told her she was being removed on the president's orders because he'd lost confidence in her, even though she had "done nothing wrong." "He added that there had been a concerted campaign against me, and that the department had been under pressure from the president to remove me since the summer of 2018," Yovanovitch said.
  • She was "surprised and dismayed" when she found out the contents of the president's July 25 call with his Kyiv counterpart.

How to watch the impeachment hearing: Day 2 schedule, witnesses and more

The first public presidential impeachment hearings in over 20 years will continue on Friday with Yovanovich's testimony.

The hearing is slated to start at 9 a.m. ET Friday, an hour earlier than the first hearing on Wednesday, which featured testimony from diplomats Bill Taylor and George Kent. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., will make an opening statement, followed by an opening statement by the ranking member on the committee, Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and then a statement from the witness.

Here's how to watch the hearing.

Who is Marie Yovanovitch?

Here's what you need to know about the longtime diplomat:

  • She was born in Canada after her parents fled Nazi and communist regimes, and moved to Connecticut when she was 3 years old.
  • Her nickname is Masha.
  • She's a graduate of Princeton, where she studied the former Soviet Union.
  • Yovanovitch has been a foreign service officer for 33 years, and served in six presidential administrations — four Republican and two Democrat.
  • She's been appointed ambassador three times — twice by Republican George W. Bush and once by Democrat Barack Obama. She was ambassador to Kyrgyzstan from 2005 to 2008 and ambassador to Armenia from 2008 to 2011. She was U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from August 2016 until her abrupt removal in May.