Donald Trump impeachment updates: Tantrums, amnesia, accusations and everything else you need to know about the hearings
The impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump kicked off on Wednesday. It was a day when the entire US remained glued to the TV. There were happenings of all sort and we bring them to you in snippets.
Wednesday, November 13, was an extraordinary day both for America’s politicians and common people as the public impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump started.
The president has been accused of trying to influence the government of Ukraine to undermine a domestic political opponent in Joe Biden. It has also been alleged that Trump sought Kyiv’s cooperation in lieu of military aid.
The hearing, which was playing out on live television and social media, provided the entire country and the world a close-up look at the high-profile probe against the planet’s most powerful man.
Here we bring together some interesting updates related to the first day of the impeachment hearing:
Republicans want whistleblower to appear before people of America
As the impeachment hearing unfolded against President Trump on Wednesday, the Republicans were also vocal over bringing to the fore the whistleblower on whose allegations the entire inquiry was positioned.
Ohio Representative and ranking member of the House Oversight Committee Jim Jordan said the whistleblower at the heart of the impeachment probe is “one witness” that should be brought before the people of America.
Jordan said he wanted to know who the whistleblower is - a CIA officer assigned to the White House. Jordan had also complained earlier that the witnesses testifying publicly for the first time did not have the first-hand knowledge of the charges and did not speak to Trump either.
Adam Schiff, the Democrat who is leading the probe, refuted the Republicans’ allegations that he had met the whistleblower. Schiff, the House intelligence chair, also said earlier that the whistleblower will not testify in public.
‘We’re going to impeach this corrupt president’
Minnesota Congresswoman Ilhan Omar reacted to the impeachment hearing, saying every report and testimony eventually tell what Trump thinks about himself: “He’s above the law”.
The ‘Squad’ member also said that it is up to Congress to show him that he is not. In the tweet in which the Somali-born reacted, she added: “We’re going to impeach this corrupt president.”
Michigan Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, another member of the ‘Squad’, on the other hand, retweeted a tweet that lampooned Trump’s controversial conversations with various important figures, including the president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky.
'Don’t fight a war that you can’t win': Piers Morgan reminds Democrats
As the first impeachment hearing against Trump happened on Wednesday, November 13, Piers Morgan expressed little faith in favor of the Democrats’ mission to see the end of the president.
In a piece he penned for Daily Mail, Morgan cited past war generals to say that it is foolish to enter a war that can’t be won. Even in the political field, the same principle holds true, Morgan said, citing Frank Underwood in House of Cards saying: “Choose your battles wisely. Do not start a war you know you’re gonna lose."
But the mantra hasn’t been always followed, thanks to, according to Morgan, ego and hubris.
“There have been leaks, counter-leaks, anonymous media reports and myriad deposition transcripts, all of which has led to an increasingly febrile atmosphere. But today, it will all explode into the public consciousness in front of the world’s TV cameras, with every twist and turn faithfully, and doubtless hysterically, recounted in real-time by salivating mainstream and social media,” he wrote about the hearing.
Criticizing the Democrats, Morgan said they marched into the Congress casino to throw down all their chips on taking Trump down but in their effort, they have only raised the bar “to potentially ruinous stakes” - not for the president but for them.
Trump’s amnesia: 'Never had any talk with EU envoy over Ukraine investigations’
President Trump looked to have a moment of amnesia on the first day of the impeachment hearing. He denied when asked if he had asked a US envoy about the “probe” in Ukraine a day after he had a call with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky, on July 25.
The existence of the call was brought into the open on Wednesday by US Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor. He said that one of his staffers overheard Gordon Sondland, the Amercian envoy to the European Union, speaking to Trump over the phone on November 26.
The staff member could hear the president asking about “the investigations," the ambassador testified.
Trump, when asked about the same at a press conference, said: “I know nothing about that, first time I've heard it. The one thing I've seen that Sondland said was that – he did speak to me for a brief moment and I said no quid pro quo under any circumstances. And that's true.”
AP News reported citing an official that the staffer that Taylor referred to is David Holmes -- a political counselor at the embassy in Kyiv. He has been invited to testify before Congress on November 15.
President Trump took a subtle dig at the two veteran diplomats testifying in the impeachment hearing just before the session began on Wednesday. He tweeted “NEVER TRUMPERS” before the hearing began but did not elaborate.
While testifying, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent and Acting US Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor were asked about the same during the hearing of the House Intelligence Committee and they denied it.
Kent said he has served under three Republican and two Democratic presidents during a long service tenure of 27 years, adding that he served “whatever president is duly elected” and abided by their foreign policy decisions.
Taylor said: “No sir” when asked the question by Democratic Representative Eric Swalwell.
Kent also testified that the president’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani was hurting the US’ interests in Ukraine with politically motivated investigations.
NEVER TRUMPERS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 13, 2019
Nunes accuses Democrats of trying to get Trump’s nude photos
House Intelligence ranking member Devin Nunes, a Republican from California, led the defense of Trump during the hearing. He counter-attacked the Democrats saying they were so desperate to discredit Trump that they not only tried to show him as a Russian agent in the 2016 election but also get his nude photos.
Attacking the impeachment procedure as an unfair one, Nunes said in his statement: “We should forget about them reading fabrics of Trump-Russia collusion from the Steele dossier into the congressional record. We should also forget about them trying to obtain nude pictures of Trump from Russian pranksters who pretended to be Ukrainian officials.”
New York Post makes a mockery of the impeachment process:
The New York Post made a mockery of the opening of the impeachment hearings against Trump by likening it to a circus. Its front cover depicted the investigation as a comical process in the circus where the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, who is leading the hearings has been shown as a ringmaster.
White House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who announced the formal launch of the inquiry on September 24, was shown as a clown.
Dog therapy at Capitol Hill to help Congress members de-stress:
The Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) brought a group of trained dogs to the Capitol Hill on Wednesday to help the Congress members de-stress themselves during an exhausting impeachment hearing session, People reported.
PIJAC teamed up with Pet Partners, a body that registers therapy animals for animal-assisted interventions, to bring the certified canines to the Capitol Hill over three years ago and it was a successful event. Since then, the Congress members eagerly await to get close to the dogs every two years to tame their nervous energy.
‘Squad’ member AOC says Trump’s ‘own fingerprints all over the crime scene’
New York Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez lashed out at Trump over the impeachment, saying the latter abused the power of the government to extort Ukraine to undermine the 2020 elections.
“Today’s hearings put Trump’s own fingerprints all over the scene of the crime. It left no room for him to pin this on anyone else, but plenty to drag others down with him,” she said in a tweet.