Live Impeachment Hearings

Reopened October 2019 - includes archived threads from pre-2019

Live Impeachment Hearings

Postby toucana on November 13th, 2019, 11:17 am 

Day 1

Live impeachment hearings have begun in Congress. For those not located in the USA, a CNN Live feed of the proceedings is currently available on:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ulWTJUQsVY
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Re: Live Impeachment Hearings

Postby charon on November 13th, 2019, 11:45 am 

But the real question is whether it has the slightest chance of succeeding...
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Re: Live Impeachment Hearings

Postby jocular on November 13th, 2019, 1:45 pm 

charon » November 13th, 2019, 11:45 am wrote:But the real question is whether it has the slightest chance of succeeding...

It is an important question but not necessarily the "real" question.

There are other reasons for taking this path whether or not it is ultimately successful in removing the present stain from the office of the Presidency.
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Re: Live Impeachment Hearings

Postby Serpent on November 13th, 2019, 1:52 pm 

It's already succeeding. You can't ask for a better witness than Bill taylor: he's accurate, articulate and careful.
No sane, reasonable and honest American can spin these revelations in any way other than what it actually is.
If a majority of the senate is none of the above, the sl......g won't be removed from the highest office in the land, and then we'll see how many of the voters - well, actually, the electoral college - approve of this kind of behaviour in the person representing them to the world. If the majority of Americans approve of the sl......g, then they deserve him. (In which case, God help the minority!)
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Re: Live Impeachment Hearings

Postby TheVat on November 13th, 2019, 5:31 pm 

George Kent is as good a witness as Taylor. Very sharp, dedicated, career diplomat. Don't let that crooked bowtie fool you. And Taylor brought some new material, since his last appearance before the closed hearings a few weeks ago - the phonecall between Sondland and Trump seems particularly damning. In courts, people are convicted on hearsay frequently - Taylor's testimony makes clear why this is the case. If you're in the right place and know the right people, you can connect dots very credibly. I just hope the people are watching. And that they realize this: attempted extortion is still a crime. It doesn't have to succeed. And it's still a betrayal of the public trust i.e. our confidence that our President will act only in our national interest when dealing with foreign leaders and governments and not his own personal interest.

The questioners did a good job of bring out the fact that Trump never, despite GOP claims, had any real interest in corruption overall in Ukraine. He wasn't holding any aid money back in 2017 or 2018, on that hook. His only interest was in obtaining fictitious dirt on the Bidens, when he knew that Joe was likely to be his rival in 2020. So, all of sudden, in 2019, vital military assistance is being withheld. Hmm. Curious, that.

Rep. Welch, of Vermont, got in a nice quip. Check it out, if you have time. Jim Jordan doesn't really ask a question with his time slots, just rants on and on like a partisan hack revisiting his Irrelevant Innuendo Greatest Hits. At some point, most viewers are going to realize that the guy who just spends all his time on partisan attacks and trying to resuscitate long-debunked conspiracy theories (like Jordan or Nunes) probably has nothing of real substance to add, or a real question to ask of the witnesses. Of course, substantive questions are going to get them answers they really don't like.

In a way, this all reveals the advantages of closed-door hearings (ironically enough). There's no camera to play to, no electorate to bullshit, so things move along much more quickly and get to the important points.
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Re: Live Impeachment Hearings

Postby Serpent on November 13th, 2019, 6:12 pm 

In fact, Kent was probably the better witness. At the time of that post, I hadn't heard him yet.
Later on, I was working in another room, and I could easily tell which party each cross-examiner was: the Republicans kept making speeches at their base - which I suppose is why they wanted it made public; that, and to set witnesses up for the most extreme components of that same base to attack. I have no doubt that's a serious threat. They also kept 'withdrawing' irrelevant and accusatory questions, once their imaginary jury had had its titter at the witnesses' expense.
Schiff did well to give them a chance to respond. Did well in general, I thought: kept the proceedings calm, on point and on time.
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Re: Live Impeachment Hearings

Postby toucana on November 16th, 2019, 6:03 am 

In other news this Friday:-

Long-time Trump adviser Roger Stone was convicted on all seven felony charges he was facing in Washington DC.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-50438196

The charges included five counts of lying to Congress, one count of witness intimidation, and one count of obstructing a Congressional investigation. Witness tampering carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The other counts can carry five years each.

Meanwhile over in Congress, chairman Adam Schiff interrupted the public hearing of former Ukraine ambassador Marie Yovanovitch to read out a hostile Tweet against the ambassador just posted by president Trump, and accused him of witness intimidation against a sitting witness.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-50428537

The ambassador subsequently received a standing ovation from the public gallery at the end of her testimony.

Republican sources are saying that this week’s public impeachment hearings are ‘boring’ and that Trump was ’too busy to watch them’, in spite of tweeting about them up to 60 times a day.

https://www.businessinsider.com/republicans-dismiss-impeachment-hearings-as-boring-2019-11?r=US&IR=T
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Re: Live Impeachment Hearings

Postby Serpent on November 16th, 2019, 9:25 am 

Republican sources are saying that this week’s public impeachment hearings are ‘boring’ and that Trump was ’too busy to watch them’, in spite of tweeting about them up to 60 times a day.

Well, they're partly right. The parts where they kept standing up to read irrelevant old newspaper articles and praise Trump's foreign policy (!!!?) and complain that they'd been "interrupted" while interrupting others - yes, those bits were quite tedious.
They have nothing; they know they have nothing, but they're trying to mount the defense their leader demand. May Something have mercy on their deeply mortgaged souls!
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Re: Live Impeachment Hearings

Postby toucana on November 20th, 2019, 11:24 am 

So just now this Wednesday 20th November, ambassador Gordon Sondland told Congress in his opening statement that the Ukraine aid quid pro quo was offered on the express instructions of president Trump.

https://edition.cnn.com/politics/live-news/impeachment-hearing-11-20-19/index.html

Sondland's statement implicates everyone, president Trump, vice president Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Rudy Guliani. "Everyone was in the loop, it was no secret" said the statement.

As president Trump supposedly said back in May 2017 when Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel - "OMG - This is terrible. I'm f*ked. This is the end of my presidency".

Be interesting to see how the GOP committee members try to spin this one.
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Re: Live Impeachment Hearings

Postby Serpent on November 20th, 2019, 1:21 pm 

Seems like a "nice guy", don't 'e? Though not a note-taker.
I'm forming a picture in my head of the Trump insiders, in their power-bubble. We're running the world now! When we say jump, heads of state ask "which hoop, sire?" I believe they really felt invincible - reminiscent of John Dean's testimony, back in the day.
In the end, I expect good ol' ubiquitous Rudy to carry the people's sins into the wilderness. (Maybe he always knew that was to be his role?)

What struck me today is none of the people involved in these hearings seem to give so much as a passing thought to how they're trashing the international credibility of a friendly government - in fact, the first half-way decent administration Ukraine has had in decades. President Yang will have to do some major damage control!
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Re: Live Impeachment Hearings

Postby toucana on November 22nd, 2019, 6:35 am 

So how did they do ?


Lt.- Colonel Alexander Vindman A+
Reminded a visually impaired ranking member Devin Nunes that a military officer appearing in uniform was entitled to be addressed by the rank clearly inscribed on the name card in front of him, and not as ‘Mr. Vindman’.

Fiona Hill A++
Took a baseball bat to the half-witted cockamamie conspiracy theories peddled by GOP members who tried to argue that Ukraine not Russia had meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Russia happens to be Fiona Hill’s specialised subject. She doesn’t need to phone a friend, take a 50-50 option, or ask the audience. She has an eidetic memory and a perfect mastery of her subject. The GOP were scared of her to the point where they stopped even trying to ask her any more questions.

Ambassador Gordon Sondland C+
On his third attempt at trying to square his testimony with reality, ambassador Sondland decided that he really would like to go back to his former career as a hotelier, as opposed to spending the next seven years in a federal penitentiary after being convicted of perjury and obstruction charges. Once he began telling the truth, he apparently found it rather hard to stop. “Yes there was a quid pro quo, “The instructions came from president Trump”, and “It was no secret. Everybody was in the loop” etc. The real gem is that Sondland was originally called as a minority witness. He was someone the Republicans wanted to appear in the live hearings, because they thought he would deliver testimony that could be used to exonerate Trump.

David Holmes B+
Provided a matter-of-fact validation of the content of the unfortunate cell phone call placed by ambassador Sondland on 26 July from the public terrace of a restaurant in Kiev to president Trump in the White House. As all three of the major telcos in Ukraine are either owned or controlled by Russia, the committee might just as easily have asked Russian intelligence for a recording and transcript of that call (It would have probably been easier than trying to subpoena the documents from the White House). The most interesting part of his testimony was watching the interrogators trying to keep on top of exactly which euphemism they were supposed to be using at any given moment to capture Sondland’s expressive use of the vernacular. Was it ‘Blank’ - ‘Expletive Deleted’ - ‘Fig’ - or simply ‘A** and ’S**t’ ?

Marie Yovanovitch A+
The former US ambassador to Ukraine described her 30 year career as a diplomat in such quiet and compelling terms that one critic called her “the person you would ring if you were locked up in a police cell and had only one phone call”.
- “Would you not agree that the president is entitled to dismiss whoever he pleases?” they asked .
- “Yes” she replied “But I don’t understand why he needed to smear my reputation”.
- “That wasn’t the question I asked” said a confused GOP hack before abruptly standing down.
Ambassador Yovanovitch received a standing ovation from the public gallery when she finished her testimony.

Ambassador William Taylor A+
His opening resumé described an education at West Point, military service in the 101st Airborne regiment in Vietnam, and an unblemished 50 year career in the State department, before he was recalled from retirement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to become acting ambassador to Ukraine. The substance of his testimony systematically dismantled and shredded every single impeachment defense the White House had to offer. President Trump was apparently so furious with Mike Pompeo for hiring someone of such unimpeachable integrity, that he suffered a conniption bad enough to land him in Walter Reed Army Medical Centre for the weekend with chest pains and hyperventilation issues.

George Kent B+
A senior State department expert on Ukranian affairs who by all accounts was wearing the most impressive and snazziest bow-tie on display. His oversize water bottle was also voted MVP by the NYT. George Kent methodically identified Rudy Giuliani as the ‘patient zero’ in the infection that had contaminated the body politic of American foreign policy in Ukraine.
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Re: Live Impeachment Hearings

Postby Serpent on November 22nd, 2019, 12:07 pm 

Fiona Hill was magnificent!
I particularly relished the moment, after they stopped asking questions and started making mean, irrelevant, rambling speeches, when she crushed that attacker - Wenstrup?
I have literally never before seen a Republican blush. It made my whole week.
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Re: Live Impeachment Hearings

Postby TheVat on November 22nd, 2019, 1:52 pm 

I am positively smitten by that Durham coal miner's daughter and her lovely north country accent and her poise, intelligence, steely determination to get the facts right and brook no nonsense, and the way she reminds me of someone in one of those early Anglo-American portraits by Gilbert Stuart - like one of George Washington's cuter cousins. Fiona for President! (we need to change that silly American birth law)
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Re: Live Impeachment Hearings

Postby toucana on November 22nd, 2019, 8:37 pm 

Axios has published an interesting bar chart of of reactions to the televised live hearings.

https://www.axios.com/trump-impeachment-hearings-marie-yovanovitch-75a3ccf4-2e7a-4d57-b2a4-899d4842d6ac.html

The chart is based on interactions on Facebook (reactions comments and shares), and Twitter (retweets and likes).
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