After a grueling day of testimony Wednesday, Thursday brings us testimony from former National Security Council Russia expert Dr. Fiona Hill and foreign service officer David Holmes. Hill’s opening statement makes clear that this will be another day when Republicans take a beating from the facts, even though we’ve seen there’s no day of testimony so bad that they won’t try to declare victory.
Daily Kos will be following the proceedings all day.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 7:17:12 PM +00:00
Ratcliffe asks Holmes about what Trump said after he talked about investigations in Ukraine … then claims that the most important part of the conversation was that Trump said “Good, what about Sweden.” Ratcliffe, like Jordan, trying to paint Holmes as a liar.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 7:19:43 PM +00:00
Holmes was clearly thrown by Ratcliffe's questioning ... as in Ratcliffe insisting that "Good, what about Sweden?" was the most important part of the call between Trump and Sondland was so ridiculous, that it was hard to think of anything reasonable to say in response.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:02:59 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
And we’re back with Nunes beginning his questioning of Hill and Holmes.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:07:14 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Not surprisingly, Nunes starts by asking Holmes about … Chalupa! And Nellie Ohr. And a whole string of names related to the 2016 conspiracy theory that Hill exploded this morning.
Now he’s asking about Hill meeting Christopher Steele, who used to have the same role as the Russia expert in British intelligence. Then asks a series of questions about the “Steele dossier,” because there is no bottom to Nunes’ attempts to make everything fit his skewed views.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:09:42 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Hill says she was surprised to learn about the July 25 call because she did not believe that a full agenda for a discussion was in place. Says she learned about the hold on assistance on July 18, a day before she left.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:11:11 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Hill, like others, praises Volker — which doesn’t mean Volker wasn’t completely lying about his failure to connect the dots between Burisma and Biden.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:14:01 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Hill recounts her meeting with Sondland from her perspective, recounting again Sondland’s claim that he had been put in charge of Ukraine by Trump.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:16:46 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
GOP council Castor asks Hill if she was comfortable with how things were going in Ukraine when she left her position in July, and seems surprised that she says she was not. Hill again talks about the divergence between the traditional group pursuing U.S. interest and the irregular group chasing down political favors — a point that Sondland tried to deny on Wednesday.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:21:25 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Hill talks about how she had previously opposed providing javelin anti-tank weapons out of a belief that Ukraine wasn’t in a position to use them well. Holmes testifies that the javelin missiles aren’t deployed at the front lines currently, but are used to as a deterrent.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:23:02 PM +00:00 · Laura Clawson
David Holmes is making clear in the most polite way that Nunes is asking him completely irrelevant questions. It’s fun, as much as anything can be fun when Devin Nunes is speaking.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:24:14 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Nunes presses Holmes on the “black ledger,” which was a document that included information on the under the table payments that were made to Paul Manafort. Nunes is clearly put off when Holmes states that these documents are not only valid, but have been used in criminal proceedings. This ledger has been dismissed as a political document created to harm Trump in right-wing conspiracy theories.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:30:39 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Nunes coming back to the 2015 request for an investigation into Burisma — the investigation which was blocked by Shokin, the guy who Joe Biden asked to be removed.
Nunes continues to ask the witnesses things that he knows they do not know about from anything other than newspaper accounts.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:33:17 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Ukrainian officials expressing criticism of Trump is not "election meddling" and not at all connected to the conspiracy theory that Trump (and Nunes, and Barr) have been pushing which is based around the idea that Ukraine conspired with the DNC to fake the hacking.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:38:07 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Hill says she was upset with Sondland for not coordinating with people — and makes it absolutely clear that Sondland was coordinating on “domestic political policy” while she was carrying out diplomacy. This is some key testimony that will get revisited.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:41:15 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
What Nunes is saying here is little short of a confession, that Trump was concerned about “2016 election interference and Burisma” — in other words, in investigations into Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. Nunes is now defending Trump’s use of the government to extract political advantage.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:46:45 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Hill makes it clear that her “concerns” about Vindman that Republicans had been playing up, were concerns that he wasn’t political enough for what was becoming a “highly charged political environment”, but was more focused on facts and policy. Says that Vindman was “justifiably alarmed” by the political aspects of the demands on Zelensky.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:50:18 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Schiff follows up by asking Hill about charges against Vindman that he might have “divided loyalties.” She does an admirable job of defending not just Vindman but other immigrants involved in U.S. government service.
Hill, Vindman, Yovanovitch — Immigrants, they get the job done.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:51:20 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:55:00 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Hill: “By this point it was clear that Burisma was code for the Bidens, because Mr. Giuliani was laying it out there.”
This was Hill talking about the statement by Sondland, who claimed he did not know what Burisman meant.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:58:29 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Jordan yells at Holmes to ask why Ambassador Taylor didn’t talk about the lunch where Sondland talked with Trump.
Except Taylor wasn’t at the lunch.
Jordan is clearly accusing Holmes and Taylor of lying. Or at least making enough of a flurry that he can later make that claim to Fox.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 6:59:21 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Answer turns out to be that the day it happened, William Taylor was on the front lines between Ukraine and Russia — how unhandy of him.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 7:02:31 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Jordan shouting at Holmes is peak Jim Jordan. Note that Jordan was seriously interested in yelling at Holmes for his evening appearance on Fox, but not interested in allowing Holmes to give an answer.
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 7:06:09 PM +00:00 · Joan McCarter
Thursday, Nov 21, 2019 · 7:11:40 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner
Asked about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election, Hill has with her two articles that Nunes pointed out—but also says that she, as part of her job, collected documents showing that 50+ countries said bad things about Trump.