Things That Matter

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About What Happened On Day Two Of The Impeachment Inquiry Hearings

We have just wrapped up the first week of what is expected to be a 10-day inquiry into President Donald Trump’s controversial dealings with Ukraine. After more than a month of closed-door depositions, the American public is getting a first-hand opportunity to hear directly from three key witnesses in the probe. As more public and private hearings are still being scheduled, testimonies this week kicked off the next step in the Democrats’ investigation into President Trump’s attempts to have Ukraine spy on his political rivals.

On Wednesday, Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent testified in a joint hearing in front of the House Intelligence Committee. On Friday, it was former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch that would be testifying. She used the hearing as an opportunity to tell her side of the story in which she says she was a victim of a smear campaign led by President Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. Yovanovitch described how President Trump had tarnished a reputation after 33 years of serving the U.S. and left her “shocked” and “appalled.” 

It’s just the second hearing but this first week has already revealed various details into President Trump’s dealings in Ukraine. 

Friday’s hearing proved to be filled with as much drama as Wednesday with Yovanovitch placed on center stage. She was praised by both Democrats and Republicans who thanked her for her service to the U.S never casting doubt on her testimony. However, that didn’t stop Republicans from attacking Democrats for the way they’ve handled these impeachment proceedings. House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) stood by having Yovanovitch testifying saying that her long years of service to the country warranted her testimony. 

Yovanovitch spoke at length about her removal as ambassador to Ukraine and was then “attacked” by Trump and Giuliani.  She recounted how she felt threatened by President Trump and fellow associates when she read the transcript of the July 25 phone call with Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky. 

“It was a terrible moment,” Yovanovitch told the House Intelligence Committee on Friday. “A person who saw me actually reading the transcript said that the color drained from my face. I think I even had a physical reaction. I think, you know, even now, words kind of fail me.”

The transcript between the two leaders shows that Trump told Zelensky that Yovanovitch was “bad news” and Zelensky said he agreed “100 percent.” The heartfelt testimony was felt throughout the room as she recounted the emotions that went through her mind as she read the transcript for the first time.

President Trump would get involved in the hearing even though he wasn’t there. 

One of most shocking moments from Friday’s hearing came from someone that wasn’t even in the room. In the middle of Yovanovitch’s testimony, President Trump took to Twitter to further attack her. 

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad,” he wrote on Twitter. “She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”

The critique was attacked by Rep. Schiff, Democrats and even some Republicans, who labeled the tweets as witness intimidation. The real-time tweets gave Schiff an opportunity to ask Yovanovitch about it and her reaction. 

“Ambassador, you’ve shown courage to come forward today and testify, notwithstanding the fact you were urged by the White House or State Department not to, notwithstanding the fact that as you testified earlier the president implicitly threatened you in that call record. And now the president in real time is attacking you,” Schiff told Yovanovitch. 

“What effect do you think that has on other witnesses willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing,” Schiff asked.

“It’s very intimidating,” Yovanovitch said. “I can’t speak to what the president is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating.”

When later asked about the tweets, President Trump said he wasn’t trying to intimidate Yovanovitch but just trying to speak his mind on the issue.  “I want freedom of speech,” Trump told reporters as he spoke about what he called an “unfair process”. 

As the hearings wrapped on Friday, Yovanovitch was met with resounding applause and cheers after testifying for almost 7 hours. The moment marked the ending of what was surely an eventful week in Washington.

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As The Impeachment Trial Heats Up, Trump’s Defenders Start To Crack Under Pressure

Things That Matter

As The Impeachment Trial Heats Up, Trump’s Defenders Start To Crack Under Pressure

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On Dec. 18, just before Christmas, a gift arrived at the House of Congress, two articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump. After what seemed like an eternity of “will Trump ever be impeached?” the moment some Americans have been calling for finally came to fruition. Yet, the moment of justice against Trump was quickly fogged when Republicans began to attempt to derail the proceedings. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made it perfectly clear that articles of impeachment presented from the House chamber to the Senate chamber would be dismissed because no Republican would ever vote to impeach Trump. Then something magical happened. People started talking.

Almost a month after the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump, Rep. Nancy Pelosi finally sent the articles of impeachment to the Senate floor on Jan. 15 to begin the impeachment trial.

Credit: @speakerPelosi / Twitter

It took a while for Rep. Pelosi to get those articles of impeachment to the Senate, but many believed she had a strategic plan. After all, Sen. Mitch McConnell said he wouldn’t allow any witnesses or hear any new evidence. So, Rep. Pelosi must have had a plan, right? 

“In an impeachment trial, every Senator takes an oath to ‘do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws.’ Every Senator now faces a choice: to be loyal to the President or the Constitution,” Pelosi said in the letter, according to NPR. Rep. Pelosi also said she didn’t expect a fair trial. She proceeded, anyway. 

Democrats also announced they would have impeachment managers. Speaker of the House Pelosi named seven diverse lawmakers, including one Latina. 

Credit: @AlexNBCNews / Twitter

The seven lawmakers were picked because they have a legal background or expertise and also have served in Congress for decades. 

What’s remarkable about this diverse group of impeachment managers is that, as the New York Times notes, when President Bill Clinton had his impeachment trial in 1999, the impeachment managers back then were 13 white men. This time around, Trump is getting Rep. Adam B. Schiff, House Intelligence Committee chairman and lead manager, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Zoe Lofgren, chair of the House Committee on House Administration, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Val Demings, member of the Intelligence and Judiciary committees, Rep. Jason Crow, member of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Sylvia Garcia, member of the House Judiciary Committee. 

On the same day that the trial got underway — and the managers were sworn in, along with Chief Justice John Roberts, who will preside over the trial  — new revelations against Trump and others came roaring out of the TV.

Credit: @revsusanrussell / Twitter

If you’ve been keeping up with the impeachment process, you should know that Trump’s being impeached for asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden’s son for corruption. That’s what all of this is about, Trump asking for personal favors to get dirt against a politician who is seeking to run for office. Trump has said many times that request was not a favor. Now, at least one person involved in the Ukraine exchange of information is throwing Trump and many others under the bus. If you need a full refresher of the entire mess, click here

Lev Parnas, an associate of Trump’s lawyer Rudi Giuliani, told multiple journalists that Trump’s request to get dirt on Biden was known by all.

Credit: @cnnbrk / Twitter

“Because of my Ukrainian background and my contacts there, I became like Rudy’s assistant, his investigator,” he told the New Yorker. “I don’t do anything on my own. I don’t lobby people. I go get information. I set up a meeting. I make sure that the call went right. I make sure the translation is done right.”

“President Trump knew exactly what was going on,” he told Rachel Maddow, “He was aware of all my movements … I wouldn’t do anything without the consent of Rudy Giuliani or the president.”

Even people who once said they never met Parnas, including Rep. Devin Nunes, finally admitted to having known Parnas.

Credit: @jennyrachelpal / Twitter

Just last month, Rep. Nunes said he wasn’t sure who Parnas was and added that he would never speak to random people. However, like many people connected to the scandal, Nunes has now admitted that he has talked to Parnas. Rep. Nunes went on Fox News to say that he did look back at his records and realize he had talked with him. 

“I didn’t remember the name. But I did remember going back, looking at where I was at the time. Because you know you can do that now,” he said, according to CNN. “You actually know where you physically are. Checked it with my records, and it was very clear. I remember that call, which was very odd, random. Talking about random things. And I said, ‘Great, you know, just talk to my staff’ and boom, boom, boom. Which is normal, standard operating procedure.”

Seems like the impeachment trial is just heating up and more information is casting doubt on Trump and his most ardent defenders.

READ: Kellyanne Conway Is Convinced That Americans Think the Impeachment Process is a Sham

Here’s What You Can Expect Now That President Trump Has Been Impeached By The House Of Representatives

Things That Matter

Here’s What You Can Expect Now That President Trump Has Been Impeached By The House Of Representatives

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Last night, the House of Representatives voted to impeach the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. The historic votes on two articles of impeachment make President Trump the third president to ever be impeached in the U.S. He is also the first Republican president and the first president in his first term to ever be impeached. Here’s how it went down.

Last night, President Trump held a rally in Battle Creek, Michigan while the House of Representatives voted to impeach him.

Credit: @realDonaldTrump / Twitter

Representatives voted on two articles of impeachment last night. The first was for abuse of power related to his asking Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden to benefit his reelection efforts. The second article fo impeachment was for obstruction of Congress related to him telling staffers that were subpoenaed to testify to ignore the subpoenas and not testify. Both articles passed with a majority of the votes officially impeaching Trump.

Impeachment does not mean that Trump will be removed from office, however, the impeachment will follow him forever.

Credit: JoaquinCastrotx / Twitter

In order for President Trump to be removed from office, there needs to be a 2/3 vote in the Senate following a trial on the articles of impeachment. While it is unclear if the Senate will hold a legitimate trial, the vote for impeachment is going to follow Trump the rest of his life. He will forever be marked in history books as an impeached president.

There was a lot of celebration from people on social media that the House of Representatives voted to defend free and fair elections in the future.

President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine have jeopardized the sanctity of U.S. elections and has tarnished the reputation of the nation in the world. By asking Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a political opponent to benefit his reelection is a clear attack on democracy.

However, some people have questions about what impeachment means if he is not removed from office.

Credit: @Carmen_Carrera / Twitter

A simple impeachment is not enough to get a president out of office. However, impeachment is something that will never disappear. His place in the history books will be one of impeachment for corruption and attempting to influence a U.S. election with foreign assistance.

The next step would be a trial in the Senate to determine if the presidnet is removed from office.

The Constitution states that the Senate has the responsibility to hold a trial to determine if the articles of impeachment warrant removing the president from office. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already let the country know that a legitimate trial is not likely.

“I’m not an impartial juror. This is a political process. There’s not anything judicial about it,” McConnell told reporters according to NPR. “The House made a partisan political decision to impeach. I would anticipate we will have a largely partisan outcome in the Senate. I’m not impartial about this at all.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi mentioned that the articles of impeachment would be withheld from the Senate.

Credit: @kurtwichenwald / Twitter

Pelosi told reporters that the House would not be appointing impeachment managers and sending the articles to the Senate. Pelosi is withholding the articles until they had a better idea of what the trial would look like. Some people are calling for Pelosi to use the same tactic that McConnell used against President Obama when it came to appointing Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

Other people have an issue with the pressure on Nancy Pelosi to act while the Senate ignores the will of the American people.

Credit: @BreeNewsome / Twitter

The Senate has refused to call witnesses for a legitimate trial on the impeachment. Polls show that the American people want a full and thorough investigation into the president’s dealings with Ukraine. It is to the benefit of the country to have a full and legitimate investigation to bring all of the facts forward.

President Trump reacted to the impeachment news by deflecting and trying to downplay the historic votes to impeach him.

“They happen to have a small majority, and they took that small majority and they forced people,” the president told reporters according to NBC. “Many of those people were like Jeff, where they didn’t want to vote that way,” he added. “But it doesn’t feel — to me, it doesn’t feel like impeachment.”

Trump’s cries that the impeachment proceedings are disenfranchising voters is furthering the argument that the Electoral College has done the same.

Credit: @Fedelm / Twitter

Hillary Clinton beat President Trump in the popular vote by 2 million votes. The Electoral College has undercut the popular vote in several elections benefiting Republicans every time. It is something that Americans have become more and more frustrated with since votes are not being counted appropriately.

In the face of a hostile Senate threatening to give President Trump a pass, Pelosi stands firm in her decision to move forward with impeachment.

What do you think about the current impeachment process?

READ: The House Is Getting Ready To Vote On The Articles Of Impeachment And Here’s What That Means