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
- Including stirring testimony, a GOP strategy and how Russia benefited ...
Trump defends attacking Yovanovitch after Dems accuse him of 'witness intimidation'
- “I have the right to speak. I have the freedom of speech just as other people do,” Trump told reporters.
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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Lots of signs today
Nunes accuses Democrats of trying to 'overthrow a president'
Ranking member Devin Nunes, D-Calif., pivoted his opening statement away from Trump’s alleged actions and made it about the Democrats' “daylong TV spectacle” to “fulfill their Watergate fantasies.” He accused the Democrats of trying to “overthrow a president” on shaky, secondhand information because they lost the 2016 election.
He described the impeachment process so far as "being like some sort of strange cult" with "secret" depositions. Over 40 Republican members have been able to attend the closed-door hearings.
Nunes also read out loud from the White House summary, released earlier Friday, of Trump's first call with Zelenskiy in April.
Nune’s opening statement, nearly identical to the one he made at the start of Wednesday's hearing, sets the foundation for what the GOP’s argument will be during the hearing — this should be about the whistleblower and his or her motivations, not Trump.
ANALYSIS: Republicans blasted 'hearsay' impeachment testimony. But they were in Congress, not court.
One of the Republican themes during Wednesday's impeachment hearing was that the witnesses — Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, a senior State Department official — were not credible because they were relaying, in some instances, second-, third- or even fourth-hand information.
In court, such testimony might be barred as “hearsay” — defined as an out-of-court statement that a party offers as evidence to prove the truth of the matter being asserted. Hearsay is generally inadmissible. But hearsay is a rule of evidence, applying only to court proceedings, and even then with so many exceptions that it's often admissible anyway.
First, hearsay is admissible in many government settings, including administrative proceedings, parole hearings, and preliminary hearings in a criminal case; a congressional hearing is not even a court, so it’s not governed by the rule of evidence that makes hearsay inadmissible.
Read the full analysis here.
Schiff lauds Yovanovitch in opening statement
House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., used his opening statement to laud today’s witness, Marie Yovanovitch, the ousted U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, as a lifetime diplomat who had valiantly tried to fight corruption in the country.
He praised Yovanovitch for her 33 years of service in the Foreign Service and for her efforts to take on graft there, reiterating several details that she herself shared during her closed-door testimony last month.
“In April 2019 the United States Ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, was in Kyiv when she was called by a senior State Department official and told to get on the next plane back to Washington. Upon her return to D.C., she was informed by her superiors that although she had done nothing wrong, she could no longer serve as ambassador to Ukraine because she did not have the confidence of the president,” Schiff said.
“In her time in Kyiv, Ambassador Yovanovitch was tough on corruption, too tough on corruption for some, and her principled stance made her enemies,” Schiff said.
Read the full statement:
And they're off
Schiff gaveled in the second public impeachment hearing at 9:06 a.m.
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.
Trump rips Pelosi ahead of impeachment hearing
Yovanovitch arrives for hearing
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.