Adam Klasfeld @KlasfeldReports Reporter, @CourthouseNews: NYC+Int’l. RTs=What's it to ya? adam[at]adamklasfeld[dot]com PGP Fingerprint: F427 EE3B 6F05 E5D5 785B 775B 2C74 683C 219D 91DC Nov. 13, 2019 2 min read

Now back to impeachment coverage with @BBuchman_CNS for @CourthouseNews.

Good morning from Washington.

Live thread to follow.

Rep. Schiff explains how the committee will proceed. He'll make a statement, then Nunes.

Schiff: "In 2014, Russia invaded a United States ally: Ukraine."

He gives an overview of regional history up to the election of Ukrainian President Zelensky, a political neophyte. Schiff says the inquiry asks whether: "Trump sought to exploit that ally's vulnerability"

"If President Trump did either," Schiff adds the inquiry will ask "whether this abuse as compatible with the office of the presidency."

"It will affect the future of the presidency itself," he says.

Schiff slams Mulvaney for his statement: “We do that all the time with foreign policy," answering a question about a quid pro quo.

"The video of that confession is plain for all to see," Schiff said.

Toward the close of his statement, Schiff asks a number of questions: "Must we simply get over it? Is this what Americans should now expect from heir president?"

"If his is no impeachable conduct, what is?"

Nunes' statement goes full anti-media and echoes coup rhetoric now common in GOP.

Nunes calls the impeachment probe a "carefully orchestrated smear campaign."

He says that the Democrats rejected GOP witnesses.

"Notably, they are trying to impeach the president for inquiring about Hunter Biden's activities," without allowing him to be called, he says.

Nunes: "The Democrats cooperated in Ukrainian election meddling."

There is no evidence that the Ukrainian government interfered in U.S. elections, as every witness testifying confirmed. The claim would exonerate the Kremlin of the attacks found by U.S. and int'l authorities.

Nunes tells today's witnesses, Ambassador Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent, that they passed "Star Chamber auditions" and calls the inquiry a "televised theatrical performance staged by the Democrats."

A full bore attack on U.S. diplomats.

Schiff responds to point of order accusing him of preventing lines of inquiry.

The congressman replies that he only prevented exposing the identity of the whistleblower.

George Kent, who privately testified about a "campaign of slander" by Rudy Giuliani against a U.S. ambassador for Trump, hits a similar note his opening statement.

He knew that smears against U.S. diplomats "came from the Russians, their proxies and corrupt Ukrainians."

"It was most unfortunate to watch some Americans," he adds, participate in those attacks.

Bill Taylor now up: "My sole purpose is to provide facts as I know them."

He calls it a privilege to serve is country for more than 50 years.

"Ukraine is a strategic partner of the United States, important for the stability of our country as well as Europe."

"Even as we sit here today, Russia is attacking Ukrainian soldiers," he says.

"The security assistance that we provide is crucial to Ukraine's defense," he continues, adding that he observed that on a visit last week.

Referring to his text message "I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign," Taylor says: "I believed it then, and I believe it now."

"It is this security assistance that is at the heart of the controversy" discussed today, he says.

Taylor: "I worried about the role of Rudy Giuliani."

You can follow @KlasfeldReports.


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