***LIVE UPDATES*** William Taylor, George Kent Testify in First Public Impeachment Hearing

Career Foreign Service officer George Kent, left, and the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine William Taylor, center, return from a break as they testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019, during the first public impeachment hearings of President Donald Trump's efforts to …
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The House Intelligence Committee is holding its inaugural public hearing of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

Congressional investigators will hear testimony from Acting Ambassador William Taylor, Chargé d’affairs at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, and George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the State Department.

**Follow live updates on this event from Breitbart News. All times in eastern.**

6:25 P.M. — Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) to Fox News when asked if he watched today’s hearing: “I wasn’t glued to the TV today. I was actually doing some important work on behalf of the people of America.”

6:24 P.M. — Michigan voters have no time for impeachment: 

6:09 P.M. — Andrew Weissmann, who served as one of special counsel Robert Mueller’s top prosecutors, claims President Trump made a “huge mistake” talking to the media about impeachment and denying having a telephone call with an aide to Sondland.

“He now can’t rebut it,” said Weissmann, now an MSNBC analyst.

“He has now said I don’t remember that phone call. So you’re going to have Sondland testifying to it. You’re going to have a staffer testifying to it,” he added. “If [Presideent Trump] doesn’t like their testimony, he’s going to have to say, ‘Oh, now I remember that I didn’t say that.’”

6:00 P.M. — The Department of Defense inspector general’s office has declined to investigate the department’s delay in providing military aid to Ukraine, according to NBC News.

5:55 P.M. — 2020 White House contender Andrew Yang (D) and his supporters ignored the topic of impeachment at a campaign event hosted by Silicon Valley entrepreneur and investor Sam Altman. 

5:54 P.M. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel (R-KY) reveals he didn’t watch today’s hearing: 

5:40 P.M. — 

5:31 P.M. — Even pro-impeachment Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI) was unimpressed with today’s hearing:

5:29 P.M. — Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) reacts to Day 1 of public impeachment hearings: 

5:24 P.M. —

4:48 P.M. — Dowd deleted his tweet about Stefanik amid accusations of sexism. Not very woke of him! 

4:36 P.M. — Stefanik blast’s today events: 

4:36 P.M. — Swalwell, appearing on MSNBC, responds to question about why House Democrats won’t compel Bolton to testify: “We’re not going to chase them into court.”

4:32 P.M. — President Trump calls today’s hearings a “sham” that “shouldn’t be allowed,” adding that he hadn’t watch it because of meetings his with Turkish President Recep Erdogan

4:31 P.M. — 

4:29 P.M. — Schiff runs to CNN to tell the network about his new theory before Sondland even testifies. 

4:28 P.M. — Jordan slams today’s hearing, calls it “a sad episode for the country.” 

4:26 P.M. — Schiff won’t say if he supports impeachment after today’s hearing. 

4:25 P.M. — Dualing press conferences from Jordan and Schiff have begun. 

4:24 P.M. — Starr reacts to today’s hearings, says there’s “no hope for impeachment” as “no crime was proven today”

4:22 P.M. — ABC News analyst Matthew Dowd is getting dunked on for his bad take on Stefanik’s impeachment hearing performance. 

4:15 P.M. — ABC News figures Jon Karl and Matthew Dowd concede President Trump’s support among GOP lawmakers remains strong after the first day of public impeachment hearings. 

“There is no sign of any erosion among Republican support for the fundamental question over whether or not Pres. Trump should be impeached for this,” says Karl. 

Dowd states: “What’s different from Donald Trump and Richard Nixon is Republicans started to deteriorate on Richard Nixon. That has not happened for Donald Trump. Until that happens, the fundamental nature of public opinion won’t change.”

4:08 P.M. — The Dow Jones hit a record-high after today’s impeachment inquiry, signaling Wall Street is unconcerned with Pelosi and Schiff’s inquiry. 

4:06 P.M. — CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin concedes it’s a “problem” that both Kent and Taylor had no “direct contact with the president.”

3:56 P.M. — Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) tweets after Day 1 of the public impeachment hearings: “The Democrats impeachment inquiry may be one of the greatest political stunts in history.”

3:53 P.M. — House intelligence panel votes 13-9 to table to a motion to subpoena the so-called “whistleblower” for a closed-door deposition.  

3:52 P.M. — Law professor Jonathan Turley issues a warning about the House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry: 

3:37 P.M. — Kent and Taylor’s testimonies have concluded and are excused from the hearing room. The panel will resume after a recess to take up a motion by Conaway to subpoena the so-called “whistleblower.”

3:36 P.M. — Schiff once again claims he does not know who the so-called “whistleblower” is. 

3:34 P.M. — Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has entered the hearing. 

3:31 P.M. — Nunes delivers his closing remarks: 

3:29 P.M. —

3:23 P.M. — Kent and Taylor testify they believe Giuliani sought dirt on a political opponent of President Trump and did not have U.S. national security interests at heart in his dealings with Ukraine. 

DEMINGS: “Was Mr. Giuliani promoting U.S. national interests or policy in Ukraine, Ambassador?”

TAYLOR: “I don’t think so, ma’am.”

DEMINGS: “Mr. Kent?”

KENT: “No, he was not.”
3:18 P.M. —

3:15 P.M. —

3:12 P.M. —

3:09 P.M. —  Jordan demands that the so-called “whistleblower” testify, says  he is”the guy who started it all,” adding that there are “435 members of Congress and only one gets to know who that person is.. only Chairman Schiff knows who the whistleblower is.”

3:05 P.M. — Jordan notes Trump administration’s holdup in military aid as a prudent: “Our president said time out. Time out. Let’s take a look at this new guy Zelensky to see if he’s the real deal.”

2:59 P.M. —

2:55 P.M. —

2:53 P.M. — Bizarre exchange between Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) and Taylor: 

2:51 P.M. —

2:45 P.M. — More from Meadows: 

2:42 P.M. — 

2:40 P.M. —  SWALWELL: “You described in your text message exchanges that engaging in a scheme like this is, quote, ‘crazy.’ Can we also agree that it’s just wrong?”

TAYLOR: “Yes.”

2:37 P.M. — Stefanik asks Kent about past testimony about his previous concerns about the appearance of a conflict of interest with Hunter Biden serving on the board of Burisma, noting it has a “poor reputation.”Kent once again confirms he raised concerns about the Ukraine firm.

2:36 P.M. — Presented without comment: 

2:33 P.M. —

2:24 P.M. — 

2:24 P.M. — Stewart to House Democrats: “If your impeachment is so weak that you have to lie to the American people about it, you have a problem.”

2:23 P.M. — Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) says in his opening remarks: “Welcome to year four of the impeachment of President Trump.”

2:16 P.M. —

Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH): Did the Obama administration provide lethal weapons to Ukraine?

Taylor: No.

Wenstrup: You said you’re “happy” with President Trump’s assistance, a “substantial improvement.”

Taylor: correct.
2:13 P.M. — KENT: “Rudy Giuliani’s smear campaign [against former Ambassador Yovanovitch] was prevalent in the spring of 2019.” 

2:12 P.M. — KENT: “You can’t promote anticorruption action without pissing off corrupt people.”

2:10 P.M. —  Jordan to Taylor: “What you heard did not happen. It didn’t happen.”

2:09 P.M. — Taylor on Giuliani in Ukraine: “It is not unusual to ask for people outside government…to help form the policies of the U.S. government. It is unusual to have a person put input into the channel that goes contrary to U.S. policy.”

2:05 P.M. 

2:01 P.M. Kent says he did not find Giuliani’s “particular engagement normal.”

1:57 P.M. — 

1:50 P.M. Exchange between Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) and Kent: 

1:42 P.M. Jordan grills Taylor: You’re their star witness? … I’ve seen church prayer chains that are easier to understand than this.”

“I’m not here to take one side or the other or to advocate any particular outcomes. Let me restate that second thing is that my understanding is only coming from people that I talk to,” Taylor replies. 

1:42 P.M. 

1:38 P.M. — Nunes yields his questioning time to  Jordan. 

1:35 P.M. 

1:34 P.M. — Schiff asks Kent if President Trump wanted Ukraine to probe Burisma regarding corruption between 2012 and 2014, prior to Hunter Biden serving on their board of directors. Kent replies he didn’t see that mentioned in the Trump-Zelensky call transcript. 

1:31 P.M. Impeachment hearing format shifts in a 5-minute question period for members.

1:29 P.M. — 

1:22 P.M. — 

1:18 P.M. — Kent confirms he reported his worries about Hunter Biden serving on Burisma’s board of directors to the office of the Vice President back in 2015, citing concerns about a perception of a conflict of interests as Joe Biden served as special envoy to Ukraine at the time. 

1:15 P.M. —

1:07 P.M. — Fox News Channel anchor Chris Wallace asserts Taylor’s testimony was “very damaging” to President Trump.

“I think that William Taylor was a very impressive witness and was very damaging to the president. First of all, as you pointed out, he took very copious notes at almost every conversation — when he put quotes in his opening statement, he said those were direct quotes from what was said. It also doesn’t hurt that he has a voice like Edward R. Murrow,” he said.

1:07 P.M. — Taylor testifies that Zelensky told him his July 25 call with President Trump was “fine.”

“I was happy with the call,” he added. 

1:03 P.M. —  Great question from author David Limbaugh: 

12:58 P.M. — Schiff interrupts Castor’s questioning by advising Taylor not to submit opinions that can’t be demonstrated by fact, prompting Ratcliffe to interject that most of the House Democrats’ questions were rooted in hearsay.

12:57 P.M. 

12:52 P.M. Nunes asks Taylor is Ukrainians found it inflammatory when then-President Obama was caught on hot-mic telling Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” to negotiate on the delicate issue of missile defense after the 2012 November election. 

“I don’t know, sir,” Taylor replies. 

12:50 P.M. 

12:44 P.M. The hearing has resumed after a 20-minute break with remarks from Nunes. 

12:41 P.M. — Rev. Franklin Graham slams the impeachment hearing in a Facebook post:

It’s a day of shame for America. The media is calling the Democratic-led impeachment inquiry “historic;” and it is—historically shameful. That our politicians would bring this kind of harm to our country over a phone call, with the world watching, is unbelievable. As Christians, as those who follow and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, let us pray throughout the day and all of these proceedings. Pray for our nation, pray for our leaders, and pray for President Donald J. Trump.

12:39 P.M. — 

12:37 P.M. — On Fox News, Ken Starr describes Taylor as “impressive,” but notes his testimony is based on “hearsay.”

12:34 P.M. — CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Major Garrett says Americans are likely having a tough time keeping up with the testimony. This is not something House Democrats want to hear from establishment media figures. 

12:26 P.M. President Trump on the impeachment hearing: “I’m too busy to watch it.”

12:22 P.M. Eric Trump mocks the impeachment hearings as a “clown show”  that is “horribly boring.”

12:20 P.M. — KENT: “I am not aware of any Ukrainian connection to [CrowdStrike].”

12:18 P.M. — Taylor’s aide who was present during Sondland’s phone call with President Trump is David Holmes, who is slated to testify behind closed-doors on Friday, reports CBS News.

12:15 P.M. Posted without comment: 

12:13 P.M. —  Important point from Rep. Mark Meadows: 

12:11 P.M. — Goldman asks Taylor about Bolton’s “drug deal” remark concerning Sondland and Mulvaney.

“I don’t know. I don’t know what Ambassador Bolton had in mind,” Taylor replies.
12:05 P.M. — 

12:02 P.M. — 

12:01 P.M. White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham blasts today’s hearings, tweeting: “This sham hearing is not only boring, it is a colossal waste of taxpayer time & money.” 

11:58 A.M Taylor to Schiff: “I got several questions from Ukrainians asking about the security assistance. It was very important to Ukraine. They had begun to hear from Ambassador Sondland that the security assistance was not going to come until the investigations were pursued.”

11:57 A.M. —

11:53 A.M. —

11:50 A.M. — House intel committee schedules two new depositions on Friday and Saturday: David Holmes and Mark Sandy, reports CNN. Holmes is an aide to Taylor.

11:46 A.M. — Taylor is asked if he ever saw U.S. military assistance conditioned on political help:

GOLDMAN: “Have you ever seen another example of foreign aid conditioned on the personal or political interests of the president of the United States?”

TAYLOR: “No, Mr. Goldman, I’ve not.”

11:43 A.M. — 

11:42 A.M. — Rep. Andy Biggs blasts the impeachment hearing: 

11:38 A.M. — House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) weighs in on the impeachment hearing: 

11:38 A.M. —

11:35 A.M. — Schiff questions Taylor about new information on his aide who heard President Trump over the phone inquiring about the “investigations.”

SCHIFF: “You understood that to mean Burisma and the Bidens?”

TAYLOR: “That is correct.”

11:32 A.M. — 

11:28 A.M. — 

11:25 A.M. —

11:24 A.M. —

11:19 A.M. —

11:17 A.M. —

11:15 A.M. — Republican National Committee Rapid Response Director Steve Guest flags key points about Taylor’s testimony: 

Reminder: Chargé d’affaires for Ukraine, Bill Taylor, is not a fact witness to the Trump Ukraine call.

Taylor was not on the July 25th call and he did not read the transcript until it was publically released for the world to see.

Furthermore, Taylor doesn’t have relationships with any of the players involved. He has previously testified that he did not have direct communication with President Trump, Rudy Giuliani or Mick Mulvaney. [Pages 107-108]

Yet even worse for Democrats’, Taylor’s closed-door testimony has undermined their phony narrative.

Taylor testified that at the time of President Trump’s call with Ukraine, the Ukrainians were unaware of the hold on the U.S. aid. [Page 119]

Taylor also testified that combatting corruption in Ukraine is a “constant theme” of U.S. foreign policy. [Pages 86-88]

11:14 A.M. — Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) weighs in on Taylor’s testimony: 

11:11 A.M. — Important note from Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) regarding Taylor’s testimony:

11:08 A.M. —

11:04 A.M. — Taylor describes what he claimed were two channels of U.S. policymaking with Ukraine, stating “one regular and one irregular.”

11:02 A.M. —

10:59 A.M. — Trump 2020 campaign is raising funds during the impeachment inquiry. The probe has been a boon for his re-election bid.  

10:56 A.M. — Taylor says: “The security assistance we provide is crucial to Ukraine…it is clearly in OUR national interest to deter further Russian aggression.”

“I believe that withholding security assistance for help with a political campaign would be crazy,” he adds. 

10:54 A.M. —

10:53 A.M. — Republican National Committee Rapid Response Director Steve Guest flags key points about Kent’s testimony: 

Kent is not a first-hand witness and much of his testimony is based off of second-hand knowledge. [Page 206-207]

Kevin Bacon has fewer degrees of separation to the Trump Zelensky call than George Kent.

That being said, his closed-door testimony revealed far more devastating pushback on the Democrat narrative than anything else.

Kent testified that it is appropriate for the State Department to look at the level of corruption in a country when evaluating foreign aid. [Page 103]

(Reminder: The Trump administration sent Ukraine lethal aid.)

Kent also testified that Hunter Biden being on the board of Ukrainian natural gas company Burisma while Joe Biden was VP was a conflict of interest. [Page 226-227]

And according to his testimony, when he raised corruption concerns with the Obama White House, he was rebuffed and was told “There was no further bandwidth to deal” with Hunter. [Page 226-227]

10:53 A.M. —

10:49 A.M. —

10:45 A.M. —Kent states that Ukraine is “on a path” to becoming a vital NATO partner. 

10:42 A.M. — More remarks from Kent on Ukraine: 

10:39 A.M. — Kent delivers his opening statement, stating: “For the past 5 years, we have focused our united efforts across the Atlantic to support Ukraine in its fight for the cause of freedom and the rebirth of a country free from Russian dominion and the warped legacy of Soviet institutions and post-Soviet behavior.”

Kent adds: “It was unexpected and most unfortunate…to watch some Americans, including those who allied themselves with corrupt Ukrainians in pursuit of private agendas, launch attacks on dedicated public servants. Those attacks undermined U.S. and Ukrainian national interests.”

10:35 A.M. — Schiff tells Jordan he does not know the name of the so-called “whistleblower.” Recall the so-called “whistleblower” contacted a House intel panel staffer prior to filing a complaint with the intelligence community inspector general. In early October, a panel official was forced to clarify Schiff’s Sept. 17th remarks in which he claimed: “[w]e have not spoken directly with the whistleblower.”

10:34 A.M. — Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) requests Schiff to allow for the so-called whistleblower to testify behind closed doors. 

10:29 A.M. — Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) asks Schiff when he will respond to the Republicans’ request to interview witnesses. 

10:29 A.M. — Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), a recent addition to the House intel panel, is seated next to Schiff. 

10:27 A.M. —  Nunes slams impeachment hearings as a “televised theatrical performance,” mockingly congratulates Taylor and Kent for passing the Democrats’ “star audition process.” He then calls the hearing a “low-rent Ukrainian sequel” to the Russia hoax. 

10:25 A.M. — Nunes says the name of DNC contractor Alexandra Chalupa was redacted from transcripts thus far.

10:23 A.M. — Nunes cites Schiff falling for a prank in which he expressed interest in nude photos of President Trump, saying: “We should forget about Democrats attempting to get nude Trump pics from Russian pranksters.”

10:21 A.M. — Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) calls the impeachment inquiry a continuation of the “spectacular implosion of their Russian hoax.”

10:19 A.M. — Schiff asks: “If this is not impeachable conduct, what is?”

10:18 A.M. — Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) is far from a fan of Schiff’s opening statement:

10:17 A.M. — Schiff falsely claims: “The facts in the present inquiry are not seriously contested.”

10:11 A.M. — Schiff claims President Trump’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, led a smear campaign of U.S. ambassador Marie Yovanovitch in a bid to help his plan to pressure Ukraine to aide the president’s re-election.

“Neither of these investigations were in the US national interest, and neither was part of the official preparatory material for the call. Both, however, were in Donald Trump’s personal interest,” says the California Democrat.

10:08 A.M. —

Ratcliffe interrupts Schiff’s opening statement to expose that there are no clear “rules of engagement.”

Read the exchange below:

SCHIFF: The committee will come to order. Good morning everyone. This is the first in a series of public hearings the committee will be holding as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry. Without objection, the chair is authorized to declare a recess of the committee at any time there is a quorum present.Here’s how the committee will proceed for this hearing. I will make an opening statement, and then Ranking Member Nunes will have the opportunity to make a statement. Then we will get to witness statements and then to questions. For audience members, we welcome you, and we respect your interest in being here; in turn we ask for your respect as we proceed with today’s hearing.

RATCLIFFE: Mr. Chairman?

SCHIFF: It is the intention of the committee to proceed without disruptions.

RATCLIFFE: Mr. Chairman, bef–may I make a parliamentary in–inquiry?

SCHIFF: The gentleman will state the inquiry.

RATCLIFFE: Mr. Chairman, this is our first hearing under these new set of rules. House Resolution 660 gives you the discretion to allow yourself and the Ranking Member periods of extended questions of up to 45 minutes each before other members are allowed to ask questions. If possible we would like to know the rules of engagement before we get started. Have you made a decision yet as to how many 45 minute rounds you will allow yourself and the Ranking Member?

SCHIFF: I have not. As we informed the minority yesterday we will see how the first period goes and how much material we are able to get through. At that point the chair will announce the period. If there is a period of the second round, which may be up to 45 minutes or we will go straight to five-minute questions by members.

10:00 A.M. — Breitbart News senior editor-at-large Joel Pollak is out with the definitive op-ed on the case against impeaching President Donald Trump.

Key points below:

The President’s Phone Call with the Ukrainian President Was Legal, Necessary, and Also Praiseworthy

The Claim that the President Was Soliciting a Bribe Fails to Meet Any of the Elements of Bribery 

There Was No ‘Quid Pro Quo,’ But It There Were, It Would Have Been Perfectly Legal

The President Has Not Committed Abuse of Power, Which Is Not Sufficient Cause for Impeachment Anyway

Impeachment Should Involve the Actual Commission of a Crime, Not Disputes over Policy and Opinion

The Impeachment Effort is the Result of an Attempted Coup, and the Evidence Is Fruit of a Poisoned Tree

9:57 A.M. — As always, Schiff is basking in the establishment media spotlight ahead of today’s first public impeachment hearing.

9:45 A.M. — The New York Post’s Wednesday edition mocks the House Democrats’ impeachment probe, featuring House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) in clown outfits and features the all-caps headline: “GUILTY! NOW FOR THE TRIAL.”

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