In a tense atmosphere between the political camps, the US Congress has held the first public hearing since the impeachment investigation began against US President Donald Trump. The US Ambassador to the US, William Taylor, and the diplomat George Kent, testified on Wednesday as witnesses. US media spoke of a “historical” event. Trump, in the presence of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House, said he was “too busy” to watch the hearing. “It's a witch hunt,” he said.
The main allegation is whether Donald Trump has been providing military assistance to Ukraine for its efforts to investigate corruption in Ukraine against Hunter Biden, the son of potential democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Trump would have abused his office to discredit a potential opponent. The Democrats have already collected ample evidence for this abuse from their point of view. The televised hearings should give every American the opportunity to see for themselves.
Here you can find the most important statements from the first public hearing for your reference.
+++ 21 clock: witnesses see credibility of diplomats scratched +++
Taylor and Kent agree that the credibility of diplomats gets damaged when leaders ask foreign governments to investigate rivals.
+++ 8:20 pm: George Kent attacks Trump +++
“Requesting Ukraine to investigate Biden has nothing to do with fighting corruption,” says diplomat George Kent. Trump had argued from the beginning that he was just trying to fight corruption in Ukraine. But Trump's alleged “anti-corruption campaign” refers to only one person. In addition, Trump has never raised corruption in previous public meetings with Ukrainian politicians.
+++ 20 clock: the question and answer session of the Republicans is over +++
Now that the Republicans have asked their questions to the witnesses, each member of the committee is now allowed to interview diplomats Bill Taylor and George Kent for five minutes.
+++ 19.50 clock: Republican Devin Nunes defends Trump +++
Republican Devin Nunes defends before the committee Donald Trump. Unlike Barack Obama, Trump is ready to deliver “more than blankets” to Ukraine, such as anti-tank missiles. Unlike Trump, Obama once actually refused to provide lethal military aid to Ukraine – but Obama provided much more than just “blankets.”
+++ 18:40: Republicans Meadows: “I find it difficult to stay awake” +++
Mark Meadows, one of Trump's closest allies, tells reporters on Capitol Hill that he does not believe that today's poll will have any impact on public opinion. It's hard for him to stay awake.
+++ 18.31 clock: Democratic questioning session is over +++
The Intelligence Committee closes the Democrats' 45-minute question and answer session. After a short break, the Republicans will be able to ask questions for 45 minutes.
+++ 18:15: Taylor: Trump cares more about the investigation of Biden than the Ukraine +++
Top diplomat Taylor talks about a conversation between the US Ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, which his adjutant was able to hear. He said that Trump is more concerned with the investigation of Biden than with Ukraine.
+++ 5:44 pm: Taylor: Never seen such an amalgamation of interests +++
Taylor on Demand: Never seen that a president's interest was so mixed up with US security interests.
+++ 17:42: What does the Ukraine for US security? +++
Taylor answers: US sees Russia and China as challengers. With the attack on Ukraine, Russia violated the peace order. “And if we do not meet that, then it will continue, and it will change our world, the world our children live in. Ukraine is at the forefront.”
+++ 17:18: On July 18, help for fighting Ukrainians stopped +++
In his opening statement, Taylor also reports on a conference call on July 18, five days before the phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. There, a finance official said that Ukraine's aid was put on hold, but she could not say why. Towards the end of an otherwise normal meeting, the voice of an OMB official (the person was not on screen) was heard, indicating that no additional security system spending on Ukraine would be approved until further notice , Taylor emphasized that he and other employees had been completely astonished. “The Ukrainians fought against Russians and counted not only on training and weapons, but also on the assurance of US support.All the OMB employees said was that the directive had come from the president to OMB's chief of staff “Taylor said.
+++ 17:35: The survey Taylor begins +++
The committee chairman Schiff begins the survey. He first assures himself that he has understood the details of Taylor's statement. The US embassy in Kiev reiterates its testimony – most notably that Trump almost exclusively engaged in a phone call to investigate Hunter Biden and Burisma, for which he worked in 2016, rather than Ukraine's security concerns. Taylor emphasizes on demand that war is still raging and people are dying in Ukraine.
+++ 16:58: US Ambassador in Kiev, William Taylor, complements his statement +++
Taylor reports new details on the phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Selensky on 25 July. Just last Friday, an employee reported to him that a day later, US Ambassador Sondland Trump had called in the presence of additional staff to report to the President of a meeting with diplomats in Kiev. Asked by a staff member, as the president thinks about Ukraine, Sondland has answered that Trump is more interested in investigating Hunter Biden, which his lawyer Giuliani should urge.
+++ 16:55: Kent allegations against Trump lawyer Giuliani +++
Over the years 2018 and 2019, he was increasingly struck by the efforts of Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and his associates, who had run a smear campaign against the Ukrainian ambassador to the US, Marie Yovanovitch.
+++ 16:48: Kent condemns Trump +++
Kent makes it clear that he wants to share his knowledge with the committee. He knew a lot first hand, some from reports of employees from hearings. He makes it clear that he considers it wrong and against the interests of US secrecy to involve another state for domestic affairs.
+++ 4:40 pm: Witness George Kent holds Statement +++
Currently speaking George Kent, a diplomat with great experience in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. He highlights his competence.
+++ 16:37: Committee members ask for the whistleblower +++
The committee members are asking for more witnesses and, above all, when the whistleblower in the Ukraine affair will appear before the committee. The chairman ship was the only one who knew who that person was. Schiff denies knowing who the whistleblower is and can not give an appointment for the time being. He leads over to this witness survey
+++ 16:34: The first witnesses are sworn +++
The first witnesses, Ukraine Ambassador William Taylor, and diplomat George Kent have taken their oath and will soon be interviewed by committee members.
+++ 16:32: Nunes: A method while still looking for the crime +++
Nunes further criticizes that this impeachment procedure is a procedure that is already taking place while one is still searching for the crime. The Democrats had shaken with the effort of the impeachment investigation confidence in many US government agencies. It will take decades to restore that confidence.
+++ 16:26: Republican Devin Nunes holds input statement +++
Devin Nunes speaks for the Republicans. The head of the Intelligence Committee charges the Democrats and the media he calls “corrupt” in the Ukraine affair, and recalls the investigation into Russia's involvement with Trump's campaign team, which, like the current impeachment, “hoaxes “had been. What is to be expected is nothing but a live theatrical performance.
+++ 16:20: Ship criticized the behavior of Trump +++
The Chairman criticizes Trump's behavior following the announcement of the affair and the disability of Congress, and asks if this is the behavior that the United States expects from its president. This question should be clarified by the procedure.
+++ 16.12 clock: ship reminds of the telephone script +++
Ship: Trump, in a scripted phone call, wanted the Ukrainian president to do him a favor by initiating investigations against Hunter Biden. But this was not in the interest of United States security.
+++ 4:04 pm: Adam Schiff opens the first Impeachment Hearing +++
Chairman Adam Schiff opens the hearing – and is immediately interrupted by the lawyer of the witnesses, as he presents the sequence of the hearing. But now he presents the facts again in detail.
+++ 15.58 clock: Donald Trump shoots sharply via Twitter +++
Donald Trump comments on the beginning of the hearing as usual for him via Twitter: “Millions of Americans will see what a partisan dizziness that is. (…) Why does the corrupt politician ship the cross-examination to a high-priced external lawyer? ever worked for me, what would a conflict be? “
+++ 15:48: an effect as in 1974 +++
Forty-five years ago, TV broadcasts of the Watergate affair had a tremendous impact. Public opinion changed rapidly, pressure on then-President Richard Nixon became so great that he resigned before he could be removed from office. Whether the TV hearings exercise such an effect again is, according to experts, but questionable. Alone, because the media landscape has changed enormously.
+++ 15:45: tension in Capitol Hill +++
In a quarter of an hour, the acting US Ambassador to Ukraine, William Taylor, will appear first for public consultation. The diplomat will appear at the invitation of the House Intelligence Committee. The tension in Washington is palpable.