I observe expectations – and a very high proportion of hearing – hearing. Below are my thoughts on the biggest moments so far.
The Chairman of the Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, the opening statement had a very clear message: These hearings are not just about Trump. They are about how the Presidency in our democracy works (and should function) – and about the checks and balances between the legislature and the executive, embedded in the Constitution.
"Our response to these questions will affect not only the future of this Presidency, but the future of the Presidency itself and what kind of behavior or misconduct the American people can expect from their Commander-in-Chief," Schiff said at one point.
In another, citing Trump's refusal of the administration to allow its top officials to testify before Congress, Schiff said that such a move "is not what the founders intended", adding: "The prospect of further corruption and abuse of power in this or that administration will be exponentially increased. "
In conclusion, Schiff asked," Is this what Americans should expect from their president now? If this is not unspoken behavior, what is it? Is the oath itself a job? " ̵
The founders twice and the Constitution three times – was to convey these hearings less as a partisan effort aimed at Trump and more as a necessary defense of the democratic principles on which the country was founded.
This is not about Trump or even Schiff saying he's a designated political party. This is how we want our government to work – not work.
It seems unlikely that Schiff's appeal to history would swing many people in the commission. Even before he begins to speak, Republicans have put signs behind the neighborhood, criticizing the procedure.
Devin Nunez turns it into 11
If Schiff tries to justify the history hearings, California, rap. Devin Nunes, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, tried to take the gonzo route.
He called the hearings a "pitiful end" to Democrats' attempts to overturn the election results in 2016.
He described the closed-door testimony offered by Ukraine as "a cult-like atmosphere".
He suggested that the whistle "is known to have a bias against President Trump."
He is being abused by "impersonation fraud".
He rejected. the investigation as a "Ukrainian continuation of low rents" of Mueller's investigation.
Nowhere can I say whether Nunes really, you know, refers to the July 25 transcript between Trump and Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky. Or the facts presented by witnesses summoned by House investigators.
Bill Taylor's opening statement is wow
Taylor, the highest-ranking American official in Ukraine, made a statement about the inaugural tour – full of details on the formation of a "irregular" canal (waterline) lawyer Rudy Giuliani) with Ukraine, who often contradicts his own regular channel and longstanding US policy in the region.
Taylor also exposed the extremely painful timeline of his interactions, including with National Security Advisor John Bolton, US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sundland and senior Ukrainian officials. During this time line, he repeatedly makes clear that there is not much quiet understanding that US military assistance to Ukraine is being withheld unless and until the country announces an investigation against Burisma Holdings, a Ukrainian natural gas company where Hunter Biden, the son of the former vice president sitting on board.
The geopolitical impact of Trump's approach to Ukraine
while the focus of Wednesday's hearing – from at least members of Congress – is what Trump (and his allies) have done about Ukraine and the Bidens, both Taylor and George Kent, State Department officials, have repeatedly voiced their concerns about the impact of the country's denial of military assistance.
Taylor noted that he had traveled to the Donbass region of eastern Ukraine and saw directly the impact of nearly $ 400 million of US military aid withheld on the country in the ongoing fight against Russian raids. Kent also tried to emphasize how critical Ukraine is – and America's support for Ukraine – in its continued efforts to curb Russia's progress in the region. (Russia annexes Crimea, Ukrainian Territory in 2014)
The real concern expressed by Taylor and Kent is a frightening reminder that the White House-based pressure campaign had consequences for these longtime diplomats not only for the real world Ukraine, and for the interests of the United States in the region, and in particular its relations with Russia.
In short: It wasn't just about Trump getting what he wanted from Bidens from Ukraine. That had real reviews in US geopolitics.