NOTE: In a conventional case, it is reasonable to criticize the government for not calling witnesses who observed events firsthand, as in a conventional trial the government's subpoenas can't be ignored. That argument is *100% invalid* where the White House is ignoring subpoenas.
NOTE2: Impeachment isn't a criminal case—the standard of proof is lower, the process to which one is entitled is different, the penalties are far lower than in a criminal case—so *even if* the White House *weren't* ignoring subpoenas, nonpercipient witnesses would be appropriate.
NOTE3: My point: from the first moments of this impeachment hearing, the Republican "defense" of Trump will be factually and legally illegitimate. These witnesses can offer credible information on government processes, whether or not they were firsthand witnesses to *all* events.
NOTE4: The upshot is that you don't get to *ignore subpoenas* and then *complain about the quality of the testimony*. The quality of today's testimony will be extraordinarily high, yet any complaint Republicans might make about it they have only themselves and Trump to blame for.
NOTE5: All this is separate from the fact that Trump's own words *will* be part of these impeachment proceedings—indeed a *substantial* part. So, too, will the words of people who received orders and counsel they were told came directly from Trump, which fact Trump hasn't denied.
You can follow @SethAbramson.
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