Trump Impeachment Hearing: Diplomat Will Talk

Diplomat Bill Taylor's aide is scheduled to be deposed by the House Intelligence Committee.

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Marie Yovanovitch just arrived on Capitol Hill

Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was ousted from her post earlier this year, just arrived on Capitol Hill for her testimony.

The hearing, in front of the House Intelligence Committee, will begin at 9 a.m. ET.

How Republicans could push back on Yovanovitch’s testimony

Former US Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was ousted in April, is scheduled to testify this morning.

She is a career diplomat who was abruptly pulled from Kiev last spring after a personal order from President Trump. He made the decision after a months-long public campaign against Yovanovitch, led by his attorney Rudy Giuliani and others in the right-wing media.

Marie Yovanovitch
Marie Yovanovitch

But prepare for Republican pushback: While she might have a compelling story to tell about her personal experience, Yovanovitch wasn’t around for any of the other events that are part of the impeachment inquiry — including Trump’s controversial phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in July.

House Republicans are planning to highlight that Yovanovitch doesn’t have firsthand knowledge of Trump’s conversations with Zelensky or his interest in having Ukraine announce investigations into his political rivals, including Biden.

She left her post in May — two months before the critical phone call with Zelensky — and before the Ukrainians learned that there was a holdup in the $391 million package of US military aid.

Here’s how this morning’s impeachment inquiry hearing will work

Today’s impeachment inquiry hearing with Former US Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch kicks off at 9 a.m. ET.

The format will largely follow that of Wednesday’s hearing — the first public one in the impeachment inquiry.

US Capitol
US Capitol

Here’s a rundown of how we expect this morning to play out:

  • The first round of questions: Both the chairman of the committee, Rep. Adam Schiff of California, and the top ranking Republican member, Rep. Devin Nunes, also of California, will evenly divide 90 minutes of questioning at the start of the hearing. They can take as much consecutive time as they want, so long as the other side is provided equal time out of that 90 minutes. So expect each to take 45 minutes.
  • House lawyers: While Schiff and Nunes will speak and may interject from time to time, the resolution makes clear that this will be a staff-led questioning, as each member can delegate his time to counsel on the committee.
  • For the Democrats: On the Democratic side, the opening lines of questioning will be spearheaded by Daniel Goldman, a former federal prosecutor with the Southern District of New York who joined the committee in March and led the questioning in the closed-door depositions.
  • For the Republicans: On the GOP side, it will be Steve Castor, the chief investigative counsel for the House Oversight panel who has been detailed over to the House Intelligence Committee, along with his boss, Rep. Jim Jordan.
  • Members’ questions: At the conclusion of 90 minutes, the rest of the panel’s members will each have five minutes to question the witnesses.

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