Analysis after Fiona Hill and David Holmes' impeachment testimony

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Thursday marked the fifth day of public hearings in the House's impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, featuring testimony from one current and one former Trump administration official.

Fiona Hill, a former top Russia expert for the White House, and David Holmes, a senior diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, testified at a hearing before the House Intelligence Committee which started around 9 a.m. ET and, after a lengthy break for some House votes, ended around 4 p.m. ET.

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Trump campaign rips 'sham impeachment circus'

Tim Murtaugh, Trump 2020 communications director, criticized Democrats after Thursday's hearing.

"Two more witnesses and two more whiffs by Democrats in their sham impeachment circus," he said. "Let’s remember that Nancy Pelosi promised she would not proceed with impeachment unless it was a bipartisan endeavor, which it clearly is not."

Witnesses depart

Former White House national security aide Fiona Hill, center left, and David Holmes, top right, a U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, leave after testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill on Nov. 21, 2019, during a public impeachment hearing of President Donald Trump's efforts to tie U.S. aid for Ukraine to investigations of his political opponents.Julio Cortez / AP

Jordan lashes out at Democrats after hearing

After the hearing wrapped, Jordan answered several questions about the hearings and what comes next. On what happens going forward he said, “frankly I don't know where it goes next or what they got planned. We just have to wait and see.” 

Jordan also said, "I think the American people see through it, they see that the facts are on the president's side, and they know this process is going entirely unfair."

He continued to attack Democrats and the process by saying, "Democrats have never got over the fact that this new guy who's never been in this town, never been in politics. This new guy came in here and has shaken this place up, and that drives them crazy. They've never accepted the will of 63 million Americans they never accepted the fact that Donald Trump won an electoral college landslide. And they are trying to do everything they can. It was first FBI investigation and it was the Mueller investigation. Now it's this."

Hearing concludes

The Fiona Hill and David Holmes impeachment inquiry hearing concluded at roughly 4:18pm after nearly 5.5hours of testimony. 

Schiff closes with searing criticism of Republicans who 'cower' to Trump and Watergate comparison

Closing what is, at the moment, the last scheduled public hearing in the House Intelligence Committee's impeachment inquiry, Schiff took direct aim at his Republican counterparts, slamming them for “gratuitous” attacks on witnesses like Hill, Holmes and, before them, Vindman.

“They don’t question the facts,” Schiff said. “So why attack?”

And, raising his voice, he ripped Republicans for falling in line behind Trump — especially when it comes to his refusal to stand up to Russia.

“They’ll show indignation today, but they will cower when they hear the president questioning the very conclusions our intelligence community has reached” on Russian interference in the 2016 election, Schiff said.

Later, he summarized the case his party has attempted to build against Trump. He discussed everything from Trump’s attacks on Yovanovitch to how, “in all the companies in all the world, Rudy Giuliani just happened to be interested in this one” — referring to Burisma, the Ukrainian gas company on whose board Hunter Biden sat.

“That’s absurd,” Schiff said. 

Over his lengthy statement, he also compared Trump’s defense to how Richard Nixon defended himself during the Watergate scandal.

“This is the ‘I’m not a crook' defense,” Schiff said, referring to Trump’s “no quid pro quo” statements.

In closing, Schiff said that “this president believes he is above the law.”

“In my view there is nothing more dangerous,” he added.

“We are better than that,” he exclaimed — and adjourned the hearing.

GOP goes MIA

Ranking member Nunes questions witnesses as Chairman Schiff listens

Rep. Devin Nunes questions witnesses as Schiff listens during the House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry hearing in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 21, 2019.Andrew Harrer / Pool via Reuters

Nunes closes with summary of yearslong effort to oust Trump

The Steele dossier. The Russia investigation. And many other things.

In his closing statement, Nunes reached back to the 2016 campaign and brought up every which way he felt Democrats and "Never Trumpers" have made efforts to beat Trump in recent years.

That included, not least of all, the ongoing impeachment inquiry and the whistleblower complaint that helped prompt it. Nunes called the latter a “pretext” for Trump’s political opponents “to do what they’ve been trying to do for years.”

“Oust him from office,” Nunes said. 

“What you’ve seen in this room over the last two weeks is a show trial,” he added, the “result of political operations and dirty tricks.”