A three day, nine witness impeachment hearing blitz comes to a conclusion on Thursday, as lawmakers will hear from a former Russia expert on the National Security Council, and a Foreign Service Officer who currently works at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, as Republicans and Democrats continue to consume these proceedings like people living on different planets.
After Wednesday's testimony with Ambassador Gordon Sondland, this session will feature Fiona Hill, who worked on the National Security Council until this July, and David Holmes, who overheard Sondland's phone conversation with President Trump, in which Mr. Trump reportedly asked about Ukraine announcing investigations sought by the President.
Here's the latest on the impeachment hearings:
4:20 pm. The hearing is over. Here's my story.
Fiona Hill says Rudy Giuliani's work in Ukraine was nothing more than a "domestic political errand" for President Trump https://t.co/2E6rZWiO8q— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) November 21, 2019
4:15 pm. As Rep. Adam Schiff D-CA ends this impeachment hearing, he appeals for Republicans to look at the evidence, and support this effort to remove President Trump from office.
"Where is Howard Baker?" Schiff asked, reaching back to Watergate, and invoking the GOP Senator from Tennessee who asked the famous question, "What did the President know and when did he know it?"
3:20 pm. GOP lawmakers continue to go after Holmes, and he continues to stand his ground on the Sondland-Trump phone call. At one point, Rep. Mike Conaway R-TX demanded that Holmes never talk in the future about calls like the Sondland-Trump call. Holmes fired back, saying that Sondland should not have held the call in public like he did, and defended going up the chain of command to report it.
2:50 pm. It's always good to have a bit of levity at a hearing like this.
Fiona Hill asked about story in which, after a schoolboy set her pigtails on fire, she put out the fire and then finished a test.— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 21, 2019
"It had some very unfortunate consequences. Afterwards, my mother gave me a bowl haircut. So for the school photograph...I looked like Richard III." pic.twitter.com/3Zr7e1XtwK
2:25 pm. Unlike Jordan and Ratcliffe, Rep Mike Turner R-OH doesn't give Holmes a chance to answer his criticism, accusing Holmes of using 'anecdotal' evidence about the Sondland-Trump call to embarrass the Ukraine leader
2:15 pm. It's been a very interesting last half hour. GOP lawmakers have tried to undercut the testimony of Holmes about the Sondland-Trump phone call - but Holmes has held his own.
RATCLIFFE: So to be clear, when Trump received word that Zelensky had agreed to the investigations [on the July 25 call with Sondland], he said, 'good, what about Sweden'?— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 21, 2019
HOLMES: Yes. pic.twitter.com/5cnELNgsuw
.@Jim_Jordan, David Holmes and @repadamschiff spar mid-testimony:— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) November 21, 2019
SCHIFF: "Mr. Jordan you may not like the witness' answer, but -- "
JORDAN: "There wasn't an answer -- this is filibuster."https://t.co/DK0UMQylhS pic.twitter.com/C2YAW7pF2A
1:45 pm. The 45 minutes are up for the GOP. Fiona Hill forcefully pushed back on a series of GOP lines of questioning, as she bluntly said there was no reason to have anyone in the White House involved in the Giuliani effort in Ukraine, which she labeled a 'domestic political errand'
FIONA HILL under GOP questioning drops this bomb— Kelly O'Donnell (@KellyO) November 21, 2019
"I had a bit of a blow-up with Amb. Sondland...." I was upset with him because he wasn't fully telling us about the meetings he was having..." HILL Sondland was on separate track "He was involved in a domestic political errand"
Fiona Hill on Ambassador Sondland: "He was being involved in domestic political errand. And we were being involved in national security foreign policy and those two things had just diverged…I did say to him…I do think this is all going to blow up. And here we are." pic.twitter.com/u73XO2cxyz— CSPAN (@cspan) November 21, 2019
1:10 pm. The White House has provided a statement on today's hearing denouncing the proceedings. As you read this statement, one should remember that the White House has prevented a number of officials from testifying before this investigation.
1:00 pm. The hearing has resumed with Republicans asking 45 minutes of questions. Rep. Nunes starts by asking Hill & Holmes if they met with Alexander Chalupa, Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr, or Glenn Simpson. All 'no' answers. Then, Nunes pressed Hill on the Steele Dossier. She says she was sent a copy of it a day before it was published by BuzzFeed in early January of 2017.
12:30 pm. The hearing won't resume for about another 30 minutes. Various photographers are using their expensive equipment to stake out their spots.
11:05 am. The 45 minutes of questions are now over, and there is a break, with House votes coming soon. My best guess? The hearing does not resume for another 60-90 minutes.
10:50 am. Meanwhile, Giuliani's name keeps coming up repeatedly. Fiona Hill recounts her conversation with John Bolton, who said of Giuliani and his work in Ukraine:
"Rudy Giuliani was a hand grenade that was going to blow everyone up."
Hill finishes by saying, "that's where we are today."
Fiona Hill says John Bolton called Giuliani a "hand grenade that was going to blow everyone up," adding he meant Giuliani was pushing "issues and ideas that would probably come back to haunt us. And, in fact, It think that that's where we are today." https://t.co/3BHb2I9OBT pic.twitter.com/Cx5K3DU1at— ABC News (@ABC) November 21, 2019
10:40 am. More from Holmes on the Trump phone call. Holmes said, “I've never seen anything like this in my foreign service career.”
Holmes just recounted the conversation he overheard between Trump and Sondland:— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) November 21, 2019
"You heard President Trump ask Ambassador Sondland ‘Is [Zelenskiy] going to do the investigation?’”
“He said ‘Oh yeah, he’s gonna do it. He’ll do anything you ask’” pic.twitter.com/NKYYD2RyR6
10:25 am. Fiona Hill makes a very direct jab at Republicans over the issue of people trying to switch the blame for 2016 election interference to Ukraine, and away from Russia. It should spark some interesting Q&A with the GOP.
Fiona Hill on belief that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against— CSPAN (@cspan) November 21, 2019
our country and Ukraine did: "This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves."
Watch LIVE: https://t.co/VrY3X3Pq1m pic.twitter.com/OzcVlqg9mg
10:15 am. Here is the video of Holmes talking about the Sondland-Trump phone call.
David Holmes: "I then heard President Trump ask, “So, he’s gonna do the investigation?” Ambassador Sondland replied that “he’s gonna do it,” adding that President Zelenskyy will do “anything you ask him to.”— CSPAN (@cspan) November 21, 2019
Watch #ImpeachmentHearing LIVE here: https://t.co/VrY3X3Pq1m pic.twitter.com/62Y0iUH6M5
10:05 am. Holmes has been going for almost 40 minutes. A big chunk of his testimony was describing how he overheard Sondland talking on the phone with President Trump, as they sat at a table at a restaurant in Kyiv.
9:50 am. In his testimony, Holmes is going through familiar testimony that Rudy Giuliani was pressing Ukraine for investigations sought by President Trump. Holmes backs up the quid pro quo assertion of Sondland that Giuliani was conditioning a White House visit on those probes.
9:25 am. Schiff and Nunes give their opening statements. Nunes starts by calling the hearings "bizarre" and denounces what he labels a "carousel of accusations" against the President
9:10 am. The hearing has started a few minutes late. There will be a break at some point for votes on the House floor later this morning. The House and Senate are ready to leave town today for a Thanksgiving break. At this point, we don't know when the next public impeachment hearing will be scheduled by this panel - or if there will be another.
8:55 am. Fiona Hill's opening statement is out. The Russia expert has a message aimed at Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee.
8:40 am. President Trump has no public events on his schedule until 3:30 pm. He has been on Twitter expressing his frustration with the impeachment investigation.
I never in my wildest dreams thought my name would in any way be associated with the ugly word, Impeachment! The calls (Transcripts) were PERFECT, there was NOTHING said that was wrong. No pressure on Ukraine. Great corruption & dishonesty by Schiff on the other side!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2019
8:15 am. I'm back in the room at the Ways and Means Committee. Reporters are arriving a bit more slowly today. But the still photographers are already here staking out their spots from the initial photos as the witnesses arrive for testimony.
7:50 am. The morning papers on the front step about the impeachment hearings.
7:45 am. If you missed the end of the Gordon Sondland hearing on Wednesday, members of the public audience gave him a standing ovation, and extended applause as he left the hearing room. There was a similar reaction last Friday for ex-Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
7:30 am. The news from the evening hearing evidently did not sit well with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), as more than an hour after the hearing ended, Jordan tweeted out his skepticism about Cooper's testimony, and the discovery of her staff.
Really? Suddenly a staffer for a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense remembers an email saying Ukraine inquired about assistance in July.— Rep. Jim Jordan (@Jim_Jordan) November 21, 2019
MEANWHILE Ambassador Volker and Ambassador Taylor both testified that Ukraine didn’t know aid was delayed until the end of August.
7:25 am. The day after the July 25 phone call, a group of top U.S. officials gathered in Washington to meet about military aid to Ukraine. The number three official in the State Department testified last night that a White House budget official made clear aid to Ukraine was on hold - under orders from the President.
Under Secretary Hale told me that President Trump himself requested the hold on Ukrainian military aid.— Rep. Terri A. Sewell (@RepTerriSewell) November 20, 2019
This aid is critically important not only to Ukrainian national security, but also American security and interests across the globe. pic.twitter.com/5aEDcb6qaF
7:15 am. The biggest piece of news to come out of last night's impeachment hearing was about when Ukraine officials found out that U.S. aid was being delayed. Pentagon official Laura Cooper said her staff had uncovered emails which showed Ukraine embassy officials in Washington asking what was going on with U.S. aid money. Those emails were sent on - July 25. Why is that important? That's the same day President Trump had his phone call with the leader of Ukraine.
Few people thought Laura Cooper would be a bombshell witnesses, but her timeline -- that she says staffers alerted her to after her deposition transcript came out -- means Ukrainians knew about aid situation on day of Trump-Zelensky call. Undercuts big GOP defense they didn't.— Karoun Demirjian (@karoun) November 20, 2019
7:00 am. If you missed the Sondland hearing on Wednesday, you missed one of the more unique hearings in some time on Capitol Hill. Sondland sharpened his previous testimony, accusing Rudy Giuliani of a quid pro quo in which he pressed Ukraine to announce investigations backed by President Trump, in exchange for a White House meeting with the President.
When the hearing began, the top Republican said Sondland would be smeared - presumably by Democrats. But it was GOP lawmakers who scrapped with the Ambassador over his testimony, where he all but said that President Trump had ordered a hold on aid to Ukraine, in order to get the government to announce investigations of Hunter Biden, and the conspiracy theory that Ukraine - and not Russia - had interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections.
Nunes at start: "Ambassador Sondland, you are here today to be smeared."— Jamie Dupree (@jamiedupree) November 20, 2019
Ironically, it was GOP lawmakers who ended up blasting Sondland.
"Do you know what made up testimony is?" thundered Rep Mike Turner R-OH.
A wrap of impeachment hearings Day 4.https://t.co/7xtMorDcsU