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Adam Schiff ends his #ImpeachmentHearing opening statement with this: "Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of country America was to become. 'A republic,' he answered, 'if you can keep it.' The fundamental issue raised by the impeachment inquiry into Trump is, can we keep it."
Devin Nunes is talking about Trump nudes again
Nunes accuses *Democrats* of fostering a "cult-like atmosphere"
that look when you're listening to Devin Nunes
Republicans grind things to a halt with procedural objections before the witness questioning even begins
Mike Conaway and Jim Jordan try to make the proceedings all about the whistleblower even though the whistleblower's complaint has been broadly and independently corroborated
Democrats colluded with Russia to defeat Hillary Clinton. Checks out.
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent explains that he raised concerns about Hunter Biden's role on the board of a Ukrainian natural gas company during the Obama years. He then talks about how he became aware of Giuliani's shadow foreign policy earlier this year.
Acting US Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor: "As the committee is aware, I wrote that withholding assistance in exchange for help for the domestic political campaign in the United States would be crazy. I believed that then, and I believe it now."
TAYLOR: "Sondland also told me that he now recognized that 'I had made a mistake' by earlier telling Ukrainian officials that only a WH meeting with Zelensky was dependent on a public announcement of the investigations. In fact... everything was dependent on such an announcement"
NEW: Taylor discloses that his staff overheard phone call in which Trump asked Sondland about investigations into the Bidens in July

Taylor's staff member says Sondland told them that "Trump cares more about the investigations into the Bidens" than anything else re: Ukraine
Trump just posted 10 retweets within a span of moments. Must've been a break in his meeting.
The typing icon next to Sondland's name is a nice touch
DEMOCRATIC COUNSEL DANIEL GOLDMAN: In your decades of service, have you ever seen another example of foreign aid being conditioned on the political interests of the president?

TAYLOR: No I have not.
Goldman gets Kent to explain why what Trump wanted Ukraine to do amounted to political favors for him, not goals in the national interest of the United States
TAYLOR: "It's one thing to leverage a meeting in the White House. It's another thing, I thought, to leverage security assistance -- security assistance to a country at war, dependent on both the security assistance and the demonstration of support. It was much more alarming."
This text, which was sent just before the fateful July 25 phone call between Trump and Zelensky, indicates that Trump was using a White House visit as leverage to get political favors from the Ukrainian government
Kent debunks Trumpworld's argument that Joe Biden's dealings in Ukraine were somehow corrupt
The hearing has resumed after a break and Devin Nunes is pushing conspiracy theories
Taylor has no idea how to respond to the conspiracy theories Republican Counsel Steve Castor is alluding to here. Yikes!
Kent subtly throws shade at Castor as Castor tries to get him to substantiate Trumpist conspiracy theories about Hunter Biden and Burisma
This does not seem to be going well for Republicans 😬
What in the heck did Devin Nunes just try to say here?
lol Jim Jordan seems to be impersonating an auctioneer
what is even happening here
.@jahimes calls out Republicans for their incessant deflections and conspiracy-mongering
Kent explains a key point: Despite what Republicans would have you believe, Biden's policy in Ukraine was all about *rooting out corruption,* not encouraging it.
John Ratcliffe's defense of Trump rests on Zelensky saying he didn't feel pressured during the fateful July phone call. But because Ukraine depends on the US for support, this isn't the devastating counterpoint he thinks it is.
😬
Jim Jordan's defense of Trump now rests on disbelieving one's senses
.@RepAndreCarson: In all of your combined decades at the State Department, have you ever before seen an instance where an ambassador was forced out by the president following a smear campaign orchestrated by his allies?

KENT and TAYLOR: I have not.
.@RepBradWenstrup accuses the Obama administration of colluding with Russia to .... hurt Ukraine? As opposed to Trump, who he absurdly portrays as Ukraine's staunch ally. It doesn't make much sense.
Adam Schiff points out that buying into @RepBradWenstrup's conspiracy theory about Obama would require time travel
Taylor on Mulvaney saying "get over it" to people worried about the politicization of foreign policy: "If we're talking about political influence meaning attempts to get information that is solely useful for political campaigns ... we should not get used to that."
Rep. Will Hurd (R) didn't push Infowars-style conspiracy theories or suggest that Obama was colluding with Putin which illustrates why this is his last term in Congress
Schiff throws some serious shade at John Ratcliffe after Ratcliffe asks him if he wants to "engage in a colloquy"
Jim Jordan is out here offering some historical fiction about Trump's purported good faith concerns about corruption in Ukraine. (The word "corruption" never appears in the White House summary of the Trump-Zelensky phone call.)
"I'd be glad to have the person that started it all come in and testify. President Trump is welcome to take a seat right there" -- a nice burn from @PeterWelch
Programming note -- I am going to peel away from the #ImpeachmentHearing to cover the Trump-Erdogan press conference
Taylor confirms that the only time in his 50-year career he sent a direct cable to the Secretary of State was the one he sent to Pompeo expressing concern about Trump's Ukraine dealings. Kent says that he believes the cable was received by Pompeo.
.@RepBradWenstrup is still pushing the conspiracy theory that the real scandal is the Clinton campaign colluding with Ukraine
I don't see how President Obama bounces ba-- oh wait
case closed, you guys
.@CongressmanRaja highlights the timeline of aid to Ukraine being released. It happened two days after the whistleblower's complaint was brought to Congress' attention, which suggests the Trump administration was trying to cover its tracks after it got caught.
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