Public hearings in the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump begin tomorrow. Damn right that's going to lead today's update. Tomorrow will see dual testimony from William Taylor, acting US ambassador to the Ukraine, and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs. Yes, they're testifying at the same time. No, I don't know why. The full schedule for tomorrow:
The hearing will begin at 10am Eastern.
From there, Democrat Adam Schiff, House Intelligence Committee chair, and Republican Devin Nunes, ranking member, will make opening statements followed by opening statements from Taylor and Kent.
Following opening statements, both Schiff and Nunes, and designated committee lawyers, will get 45 minutes each to question witnesses.
After that, each member of the committee will get five minutes each to ask questions, swapping between Democrat and Republican. There are 22 members of the committee, so that's—does math—110 minutes.
As of now, it's expected that things will wrap up between 2:30 and 4:30 Eastern.
To kick things off for tomorrow, House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff wrote a letter to House members today. The letter—which much of the above timeline comes from—gives both rules and context for impeachment hearings, restates the parameters of the questioning tomorrow, which is supposed to be tightly focused on the president's conduct in regards to Ukraine, and underscores that the inquiry "will not serve as venues for any Member to further the same sham investigations into the Bidens or into debunked conspiracies about 2016 US election interference that President Trump pressed Ukraine to undertake for his personal political benefit." We'll see how that goes. "Above all," Schiff wrote, "these hearings are intended to bring the facts to light for the American people." Here we go. (Source: original document)
Republicans wrote a letter of their own, an 18 page talking points memo sent to committee members. The letter outlines the main Republican strategy for defense, which appears to be—for real here—"the President's state of mind." According to Axios, the letter states that "to appropriately understand the events in question—and most importantly, assess the President's state of mind during his interaction with [Ukrainian] President Zelensky—context is necessary." I mean, sure? (Source: Axios)
Meanwhile today wasn't just about setting things up for tomorrow. We learned more about the timeline of the withheld Ukrainian aid from the transcript of Laura Cooper, deputy assistant secretary of defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. The New York Times reports that Cooper "testified that she and other Pentagon officials had warned the White House over the summer that continuing to deny Ukraine security assistance that had been approved by Congress could eventually cause the administration to run afoul of the law." Checks out. (Source: New York Times)
Finally, even as we teeter on the precipice of the very start of the open impeachment inquiry in the House, Republican Senator Richard Burr predicted that the impeachment trial in the Senate would last for "six to eight weeks."I'm sorry, what? "The day the [Senate] takes it up, we go into session six days a week from 12:30pm until 6:30pm," he said at an event at Wake Forest University yesterday. Six. To. Eight. Weeks. Please. God. Help. Me. Who needed a life anyway. I work for tips. Lolololololol. Cries. (Source: CNN)
What's coming next: This is it: Open impeachment proceedings begin tomorrow with the testimony of William Taylor and George Kent, followed by a second hearing on Friday with former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. This is only the third time in modern presidential history that this has happened. It's go time, let's see some hustle, and all that stuff.