The closed doors of the Trump impeachment investigation are swinging wide open. The nation and the world will have the chance to see and hear for themselves for the first time about President Donald Trump’s actions toward Ukraine and consider whether they are, in fact, impeachable offenses.It’s a remarkable and historic moment, even for a White House full of them.All on TV, committee leaders will set the stage as two seasoned diplomats, William Taylor, the former infantry officer now charge d’affaires in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary in Washington, telling the striking, if sometimes complicated story of a president allegedly using foreign policy for personal and political gain ahead of the 2020 election.PGlmcmFtZSBzcmM9J2h0dHBzOi8vY2RuLmtuaWdodGxhYi5jb20vbGlicy90aW1lbGluZTMvbGF0ZXN0L2VtYmVkL2luZGV4Lmh0bWw/c291cmNlPTE2dmFVRVl2bGpOQ2RCZlhxSndXMnVpRDVFMS1ZeGplTjZhbU9wNG9sUF9ZJmZvbnQ9RGVmYXVsdCZsYW5nPWVuJmluaXRpYWxfem9vbT0yJmhlaWdodD02NTAnIHdpZHRoPScxMDAlJyBoZWlnaHQ9JzY1MCcgd2Via2l0YWxsb3dmdWxsc2NyZWVuIG1vemFsbG93ZnVsbHNjcmVlbiBhbGxvd2Z1bGxzY3JlZW4gZnJhbWVib3JkZXI9JzAnPjwvaWZyYW1lPg==Watch the testimony live in the video player aboveFollow along below for updates: (all times eastern) 10:05 a.m.Bill Taylor and George Kent enter the impeachment hearing room to begin the day’s testimony. Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe, of Texas, interrupts House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff’s opening statement with a parliamentary inquiry to clarify the rules of engagement of the hearing. 10:10 a.m.Chairman Schiff begins his opening statement by giving a history of how the Trump impeachment inquiry came to be. He describes the Ukraine phone call, the original whistleblower complaint and the previous closed-door testimonies.”Although we have learned a great deal about these events in the last several weeks, there are still missing pieces,” Schiff said. “The president has instructed the State Department and other agencies to ignore Congressional subpoenas for documents. He has instructed witnesses to defy subpoenas and refuse to appear. And he has suggested that those who do expose wrongdoing should be treated like traitors and spies.”Schiff asks if the House finds that Trump abused his power, invited foreign election interference or tried to coerce an ally to investigate a political rival, “must we simply get over it?”That had been the message of White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney in a press conference last month, when he said it was normal for the U.S. to place conditions on foreign aid.Schiff adds: “Is that what Americans should now expect from their president?”10:20 a.m.Rep. Devin Nunes, Ranking Member of the Intelligence Committee begins his opening statement, slamming the credibility of the impeachment inquiry. Nunes brings up Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and calls the impeachment proceedings a “carefully orchestrated media smear campaign” and accuses the Democrats of waging a “scorched earth war against President Trump.” “It seems you agreed witting or unwittingly to participate in a drama,” Nunes said. “But the main performance, the Russia hoax, has ended. And you have been cast in the low rent Ukrainian sequel.”The California Republican said impeachment proceedings should be halted until Democrats can answer three questions:”First, what is the full extent of the Democrat’s prior coordination with the whistleblower? And who else did the whistleblower coordinate this effort with?””Second, what is the full extent of Ukraine’s election meddling against the Trump campaign? “And third, why did Burisma hire Hunter Biden and what did he do for them?”Nunes said the hearings are “an impeachment process in search of a crime.10:30 a.m. Bill Taylor and George Kent are sworn in by Chairman Schiff. After the witnesses are sworn in, New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik interrupts for a parliamentary inquiry, asking when six of witnesses the GOP has asked to testified will be called to appear. One of those witnesses is Hunter Biden. Schiff says three of the people on that request list are scheduled to appear before Congress next week. Stefanik says those three are Democratic witnesses. Rep. Mike Conaway, of Texas, and Rep. Jim Jordan, of Ohio, request the original whistleblower to be called before Congress to testify behind closed doors. 10:40 a.m. George Kent presents his opening statement at the impeachment hearing. Kent tell the committee that he does not believe the U.S. should ask other countries to engage in “selective, politically associated investigations.”Kent says such “selective actions” undermine the rule of law regardless of the country.”As I stated in my closed-door deposition last month, you don’t step into the public arena of international diplomacy in active pursuit of principled U.S. interests without expecting vigorous pushback, including personal attacks. Such attacks came from Russians, their proxies, and corrupt Ukrainians…That tells me that our efforts were hitting their mark. 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 advancing U.S. interests in Ukraine. In my opinion, those attacks undermined U.S. and Ukrainian national interests and damaged our critical bilateral relationship.”Kent ends his opening remarks by defending fellow impeachment witnesses Alexander Vindman, Marie Yovanovitch and Fiona Hill, all of whom have come under attack from Republicans, with some questioning their patriotism. “It is my honor to serve with these patriotic Americans,” he said. 10:55 a.m.Bill Taylor begins his opening statement. Bill Taylor begins his opening statement.Taylor mentions new information on Trump’s Ukriane call which Taylor says he learned only last week.Here’s what he said:”Last Friday, a member of my staff told me of events that occurred on July 26. While Ambassador Volker and I visited the front, this member of my staff accompanied Ambassador Sondland. Ambassador Sondland met with Mr. Yermak.Following that meeting, in the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv. The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about “the investigations.” Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for. At the time I gave my deposition on Oct. 22, I was not aware of this information. I am including it here for completeness.As the Committee knows, I reported this information through counsel to the State Department’s Legal Adviser, as well as to counsel for both the Majority and the Minority on the Committee. It is my understanding that the Committee is following up on this matter.”Taylor tells House lawmakers that he noticed there were two policy channels operating with Ukraine, a “regular” and an “irregular” one.Taylor says the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was guiding requests through the irregular channel.Taylor says it slowly became clear to him that conditions were placed on Ukraine’s new president.He had to order investigations into possible Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, and also look into Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.Taylor said that during a July 18 conference call, a staff person from the Office of Management and Budget said there was a hold on aid for Ukraine but “could not say why.””Towards the end of an otherwise normal meeting, a voice on the call — the person was off screen — said that she was from OMB and her boss instructed her not to approve any additional spending on security systems for Ukraine until further notice.”Taylor said he and others “sat in astonishment” after hearing this directive.”Ukrainians were fighting Russians and counted on not only the training and weapons but also the assurance of U.S. support. All that the OMB staff person said was that the directive had come from the president to the chief of staff to OMB.”11:35 a.m.At the conclusion of Taylor’s opening statement, questioning is allowed to begin. Chairman Schiff has been given 45 minutes for questions. Ranking member Nunes has been given the same amount of time. Schiff begins his questioning, by asking for more information in the revelation that Taylor said a member of his staff heard President Trump ask EU Ambassador Sondland over the phone about “the investigations” into Biden. Taylor again says he said he understood that call to mean the president was more concerned with the investigations into the Bidens and Burisma and that those investigations took precedence over other matters involving Ukraine. 11:45 a.m.Schiff moves part of the questioning to Daniel Goldman, the investigations chief for Schiff, who asks Taylor about his Sept. 9 text message to Ambassador Sondland where Taylor said, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” “I meant that…because of the importance of security assistance, that we had just described and had a conversation with the Chairman, because that was so important that security was so important for Ukraine as well as our own national interests,” Taylor said.Taylor said Wednesday that withholding that assistance for no good reason other than help with a political campaign “made no sense.”In his opening statement, Taylor said, in a Sept. 1 call, Sondland told him that “everything was dependent, including security assistance” on a public announcement by Zelensky of investigations of the Bidens and Burisma.Goldman asked Taylor more clarity on that portion of his statement. “I understood that to mean that President Trump, through Ambassador Sondland, was asking for President Zelensky to very publicly commit to these investigations, that it was not sufficient to do this in private, that this needed to be a very public statement.”Asked why it needed to be in public as opposed to a private support of the investigation, Taylor said he had “no further information on that.”George Kent is asked several questions by Goldman regarding the Bidens. While earlier he said he had raised concerns in 2015 that Hunter Biden being on the board of Burisma could raise questions about a conflict of interest he maintained that there is no evidence either Biden did anything wrong or illegal. “I did not witness any efforts by any U.S. official to shield Burisma from scrutiny,” he said in the statement.Goldman pressed Kent whether he was aware of the allegations of wrong-doing against Biden. Kent said he was. Goldman asks if there was any factual truth to the allegations of misconduct by the Bidens. Kent replied: “None whatsoever.”12:20 p.m.The Democrats round of questioning has concluded. After a short recess, Republicans will take their turn to question the witnesses. 12:45 p.m.Ranking Member Devin Nunes begins the GOP’s questioning of the witnesses. Steve Castor, the GOP Oversight Committee’s Chief Counsel, attempts to ask Taylor a question before Schiff cuts in: “I just want to be clear, ambassador, if you’re able to verify the things that counsel has asked you in the prerequisite of the question, that’s fine. Otherwise in questions from the majority or the minority that assumes facts not in evidence before you, you should be cautioned about that,Ratcliffe then jumps in:”Chairman, I sat here through the first 45 minutes and literally had an objection to almost the foundation of every question that Mr. Goldman asked regarding facts not in evidence, leading,” he said, referring to Democratic questioner Goldman.Castor asks whether Taylor or Kent were involved with the preparation for the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky to which both said no. Kent explained: “We work for the Department of State in an embassy overseas. Preparation for a presidential phone call, that responsibility lies with the staff of the National Security Council. My understanding having never worked at the National Security Council is that National Security staff write a memo to the president and none of us see that outside of the National Security staff.”1:30 p.m.Schiff opens the floor to questions from other House members. Each person will get five minutes to ask the witnesses questions. Nunes says Trump “would have a perfectly good reason for wanting to find out what happened” if there were indications that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election.National security officials have told Congress they don’t believe Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.1:45 p.m.Ratcliffe questions Taylor on whether when Zelensky told reporters during an October press conference there was no pressure from President Trump to investigate the Bidens or Burisma. Taylor says he has “no reason to doubt” what Zelensky said.

The closed doors of the Trump impeachment investigation are swinging wide open.

The nation and the world will have the chance to see and hear for themselves for the first time about President Donald Trump’s actions toward Ukraine and consider whether they are, in fact, impeachable offenses.

It’s a remarkable and historic moment, even for a White House full of them.

All on TV, committee leaders will set the stage as two seasoned diplomats, William Taylor, the former infantry officer now charge d’affaires in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary in Washington, telling the striking, if sometimes complicated story of a president allegedly using foreign policy for personal and political gain ahead of the 2020 election.

Watch the testimony live in the video player above

Follow along below for updates: (all times eastern)

10:05 a.m.

Bill Taylor and George Kent enter the impeachment hearing room to begin the day’s testimony. Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe, of Texas, interrupts House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff’s opening statement with a parliamentary inquiry to clarify the rules of engagement of the hearing.

10:10 a.m.

Chairman Schiff begins his opening statement by giving a history of how the Trump impeachment inquiry came to be. He describes the Ukraine phone call, the original whistleblower complaint and the previous closed-door testimonies.

“Although we have learned a great deal about these events in the last several weeks, there are still missing pieces,” Schiff said. “The president has instructed the State Department and other agencies to ignore Congressional subpoenas for documents. He has instructed witnesses to defy subpoenas and refuse to appear. And he has suggested that those who do expose wrongdoing should be treated like traitors and spies.”

Schiff asks if the House finds that Trump abused his power, invited foreign election interference or tried to coerce an ally to investigate a political rival, “must we simply get over it?”

That had been the message of White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney in a press conference last month, when he said it was normal for the U.S. to place conditions on foreign aid.

Schiff adds: “Is that what Americans should now expect from their president?”

10:20 a.m.

Rep. Devin Nunes, Ranking Member of the Intelligence Committee begins his opening statement, slamming the credibility of the impeachment inquiry.

Nunes brings up Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, and calls the impeachment proceedings a “carefully orchestrated media smear campaign” and accuses the Democrats of waging a “scorched earth war against President Trump.”

“It seems you agreed witting or unwittingly to participate in a drama,” Nunes said. “But the main performance, the Russia hoax, has ended. And you have been cast in the low rent Ukrainian sequel.”

The California Republican said impeachment proceedings should be halted until Democrats can answer three questions:

  • “First, what is the full extent of the Democrat’s prior coordination with the whistleblower? And who else did the whistleblower coordinate this effort with?”
  • “Second, what is the full extent of Ukraine’s election meddling against the Trump campaign?
  • “And third, why did Burisma hire Hunter Biden and what did he do for them?”

Nunes said the hearings are “an impeachment process in search of a crime.

10:30 a.m.

Bill Taylor and George Kent are sworn in by Chairman Schiff.

Top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, William B. Taylor Jr. (R), and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George P. Kent (L) are sworn in prior to providing testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 13, 2019 in Washington, D.C. In the first public impeachment hearings in more than two decades, House Democrats are making a case that President Donald Trump committed extortion, bribery or coercion by trying to enlist Ukraine to investigate political rivals in exchange for military aid and a White House meeting that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky sought with Trump.

Win McNamee/Getty Images

Top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, William B. Taylor Jr. (R), and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George P. Kent (L) are sworn in prior to providing testimony to the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill November 13, 2019 in Washington, D.C. 

After the witnesses are sworn in, New York Republican Rep. Elise Stefanik interrupts for a parliamentary inquiry, asking when six of witnesses the GOP has asked to testified will be called to appear. One of those witnesses is Hunter Biden.

Schiff says three of the people on that request list are scheduled to appear before Congress next week. Stefanik says those three are Democratic witnesses.

Rep. Mike Conaway, of Texas, and Rep. Jim Jordan, of Ohio, request the original whistleblower to be called before Congress to testify behind closed doors.

10:40 a.m.

George Kent presents his opening statement at the impeachment hearing.

Kent tell the committee that he does not believe the U.S. should ask other countries to engage in “selective, politically associated investigations.”

Kent says such “selective actions” undermine the rule of law regardless of the country.

“As I stated in my closed-door deposition last month, you don’t step into the public arena of international diplomacy in active pursuit of principled U.S. interests without expecting vigorous pushback, including personal attacks. Such attacks came from Russians, their proxies, and corrupt Ukrainians…That tells me that our efforts were hitting their mark. 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 advancing U.S. interests in Ukraine. In my opinion, those attacks undermined U.S. and Ukrainian national interests and damaged our critical bilateral relationship.”

Kent ends his opening remarks by defending fellow impeachment witnesses Alexander Vindman, Marie Yovanovitch and Fiona Hill, all of whom have come under attack from Republicans, with some questioning their patriotism.

“It is my honor to serve with these patriotic Americans,” he said.

10:55 a.m.

Bill Taylor begins his opening statement.

Bill Taylor begins his opening statement.Taylor mentions new information on Trump’s Ukriane call which Taylor says he learned only last week.

Here’s what he said:

“Last Friday, a member of my staff told me of events that occurred on July 26. While Ambassador Volker and I visited the front, this member of my staff accompanied Ambassador Sondland. Ambassador Sondland met with Mr. Yermak.

Following that meeting, in the presence of my staff at a restaurant, Ambassador Sondland called President Trump and told him of his meetings in Kyiv. The member of my staff could hear President Trump on the phone, asking Ambassador Sondland about “the investigations.” Ambassador Sondland told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward.

Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine. Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for. At the time I gave my deposition on Oct. 22, I was not aware of this information. I am including it here for completeness.

As the Committee knows, I reported this information through counsel to the State Department’s Legal Adviser, as well as to counsel for both the Majority and the Minority on the Committee. It is my understanding that the Committee is following up on this matter.”

Taylor tells House lawmakers that he noticed there were two policy channels operating with Ukraine, a “regular” and an “irregular” one.

Taylor says the president’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, was guiding requests through the irregular channel.

Taylor says it slowly became clear to him that conditions were placed on Ukraine’s new president.

He had to order investigations into possible Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, and also look into Joe Biden’s son Hunter, who sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

Taylor said that during a July 18 conference call, a staff person from the Office of Management and Budget said there was a hold on aid for Ukraine but “could not say why.”

“Towards the end of an otherwise normal meeting, a voice on the call — the person was off screen — said that she was from OMB and her boss instructed her not to approve any additional spending on security systems for Ukraine until further notice.”

Taylor said he and others “sat in astonishment” after hearing this directive.

“Ukrainians were fighting Russians and counted on not only the training and weapons but also the assurance of U.S. support. All that the OMB staff person said was that the directive had come from the president to the chief of staff to OMB.”

11:35 a.m.

At the conclusion of Taylor’s opening statement, questioning is allowed to begin.

Chairman Schiff has been given 45 minutes for questions. Ranking member Nunes has been given the same amount of time.

Schiff begins his questioning, by asking for more information in the revelation that Taylor said a member of his staff heard President Trump ask EU Ambassador Sondland over the phone about “the investigations” into Biden.

Taylor again says he said he understood that call to mean the president was more concerned with the investigations into the Bidens and Burisma and that those investigations took precedence over other matters involving Ukraine.

11:45 a.m.

Schiff moves part of the questioning to Daniel Goldman, the investigations chief for Schiff, who asks Taylor about his Sept. 9 text message to Ambassador Sondland where Taylor said, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”

“I meant that…because of the importance of security assistance, that we had just described and had a conversation with the Chairman, because that was so important that security was so important for Ukraine as well as our own national interests,” Taylor said.

Taylor said Wednesday that withholding that assistance for no good reason other than help with a political campaign “made no sense.”

In his opening statement, Taylor said, in a Sept. 1 call, Sondland told him that “everything was dependent, including security assistance” on a public announcement by Zelensky of investigations of the Bidens and Burisma.

Goldman asked Taylor more clarity on that portion of his statement.

“I understood that to mean that President Trump, through Ambassador Sondland, was asking for President Zelensky to very publicly commit to these investigations, that it was not sufficient to do this in private, that this needed to be a very public statement.”

Asked why it needed to be in public as opposed to a private support of the investigation, Taylor said he had “no further information on that.”

George Kent is asked several questions by Goldman regarding the Bidens.

While earlier he said he had raised concerns in 2015 that Hunter Biden being on the board of Burisma could raise questions about a conflict of interest he maintained that there is no evidence either Biden did anything wrong or illegal.

“I did not witness any efforts by any U.S. official to shield Burisma from scrutiny,” he said in the statement.

Goldman pressed Kent whether he was aware of the allegations of wrong-doing against Biden.

Kent said he was.

Goldman asks if there was any factual truth to the allegations of misconduct by the Bidens.

Kent replied: “None whatsoever.”

12:20 p.m.

The Democrats round of questioning has concluded. After a short recess, Republicans will take their turn to question the witnesses.

12:45 p.m.

Ranking Member Devin Nunes begins the GOP’s questioning of the witnesses.

Steve Castor, the GOP Oversight Committee’s Chief Counsel, attempts to ask Taylor a question before Schiff cuts in: “I just want to be clear, ambassador, if you’re able to verify the things that counsel has asked you in the prerequisite of the question, that’s fine. Otherwise in questions from the majority or the minority that assumes facts not in evidence before you, you should be cautioned about that,

Ratcliffe then jumps in:”Chairman, I sat here through the first 45 minutes and literally had an objection to almost the foundation of every question that Mr. Goldman asked regarding facts not in evidence, leading,” he said, referring to Democratic questioner Goldman.

Castor asks whether Taylor or Kent were involved with the preparation for the July 25 call between Trump and Zelensky to which both said no.

Kent explained: “We work for the Department of State in an embassy overseas. Preparation for a presidential phone call, that responsibility lies with the staff of the National Security Council. My understanding having never worked at the National Security Council is that National Security staff write a memo to the president and none of us see that outside of the National Security staff.”

1:30 p.m.

Schiff opens the floor to questions from other House members. Each person will get five minutes to ask the witnesses questions.

Nunes says Trump “would have a perfectly good reason for wanting to find out what happened” if there were indications that Ukraine meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

National security officials have told Congress they don’t believe Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election.

1:45 p.m.

Ratcliffe questions Taylor on whether when Zelensky told reporters during an October press conference there was no pressure from President Trump to investigate the Bidens or Burisma.

Taylor says he has “no reason to doubt” what Zelensky said.

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