Adam Schiff

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., questions Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire,as he testifies before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

After this mornings hearings provided us with a mash of video clips but little in the form of substance, we may finally get some this afternoon.

(check out that live blog for a mountain of videos, updates, and quick analysis on what we saw)

Finally, after Schiff has wasted a week trotting out witnesses that didn’t actually witness anything (and in the case of Yovanovitch wasn’t even there anymore), we will hear from two men who actually had direct contact with Donald Trump.

Will this be the bombshell the Democrats are hoping or will they end up backing up the assertion that there was no quid pro quo? Time will tell.

What we will see is Democrats having to do something besides heap praise on witnesses and actually ask real questions. They’ll also receive plenty of pushback on some of the assumptions and claims they’ve been making unchecked until now. I expect that to lead to some fireworks, so stay tuned to this post for ongoing updates, including videos as I get them.

UPDATE:

The hearings are already 15 minutes behind schedule because nothing can be done properly when government is involved. As soon as they finally start, I’ll get the opening statements up as they get posted.

UPDATE:

It’s finally started and apparently what we really needed was yet another Adam Schiff droning opening statement. You’d think with them being an hour late, they’d forgo this nonsense, but I guess not. Dude has to get his TV time.

UPDATE:

Nunes goes hard at Democrats and what their motivations are.

Also hits them for the fact that none of the witnesses being bandied about so far have pointed to any crime, much less “bribery,” which Schiff decided was the new terminology to use now. This came after polling voters to figure out the most damaging word to use. As you can tell, they are real serious people.

Next, Schiff introduces the witnesses, Volker and Morrison.

Morrison is giving his opening statement now, reiterating that he won’t be speculating today about matters he doesn’t know about. After the opening statements are done, we’ll get the two 45 minute sessions between Schiff, Nunes, and their counsels. The real fireworks will happen in the five minute sessions, where I expect some Democrats to get really testy no longer dealing with friendly witnesses.

UPDATE:

Kurt Volker is pushing back on the “unofficial channel” accusation he has received. Yovanovitch and Kent have continually complained Volker was leading a back-channel that subverted U.S. foreign policy, which of course makes no sense as the President sets foreign policy. Volker claims that’s not true and that he reported directly to the Secretary of State.

He’s also pointing out how strong Trump’s policy toward Ukraine has been, providing them with the tools they need to thwart Russian aggression, something the previous administration didn’t do.

Now, he’s hitting Rudy Giuliani, who will likely be the fall guy here. Volker is essentially saying Rudy was feeding the President bad information.

UPDATE:

Volker is hammering home that Biden was never mentioned in any of his conversations. He says he has no knowledge of any connection between aid and investigations. He rejects Schiff’s characterization of Volker being part of the “three amigos,” somehow undermining U.S. foreign policy.

He again testifies that Ukraine did not know about the aid until August 29th.

Now, we proceed to the questioning.

UPDATE:

Democrat counsel is doing the questioning now. We are covering a lot of old ground at this point. Volker continues to make the distinction between investigating Burisma and Biden, asserting the former is appropriate but the latter isn’t. Morrison says he does not feel anything on the call was illegal. He says he made recommendation to put the call on a more secure system because he felt it could be leaked and cause political turmoil (which it did).

On Volker’s distinction, I’m not sure he’s making much sense. He claims the Hunter Biden issue is separate from Burisma’s general corruption. How can he know that? In the end, he admits his only basis for that is his personal like and respect for Joe Biden. Fine, but that doesn’t Hunter wasn’t up to his eyeballs in shady dealings.

UPDATE:

Volker shoots down a favorite talking point of the left and Never Trump, namely that Trump asking for a public statement on the corruption investigations “proved” it was purely political. Volker says that wasn’t unusual and was more likely wanted to show seriousness about fighting corruption. In return, it would help convince Trump that Ukraine had turned a corner in their behavior.

UPDATE:

This just happened and seems to prove we are once again in a hearing with no point.

UPDATE:

Video of Nunes.

UPDATE:

This has been something every witness has been forced to admit.

UPDATE:

Morrison now testifying that Vindman was suspected of leaking and that he had concerns he was going out of the chain of command. Says Vindman should have come to him first before going to the lawyers, his brother, George Kent, and Eric Ciaramella.

Also testifies that Vindman had become frustrated that he wasn’t taken on a trip on Ukraine and was being limited in the Ukraine portfolio. Paints a picture of a disgruntled employee.

UPDATE:

The hearing is now in recess. When they come back, we’ll get the five minute rounds, which will include Jordan, Stefanik, and Ratcliffe. It’ll also be interesting to see how the Democrats treat two witnesses who aren’t necessarily “friendly” to the President, but who don’t back up the left-wing impeachment narrative.

UPDATE:

Some more clips from the hearing that are noteworthy, including Morrison testifying about Vindman’s actions and character.

And Buck Sexton is all of us right now.

UPDATE:

One final update and I’m gonna call this post.

There’s still some questioning going on, but I expect nothing else of note and there’s a lot of going in circles at this point.

Tomorrow, Gordon Sondland testifies and that’s basically Schiff’s last shot. These witnesses have been total flops at this point, perhaps even helping the President. Sondland is going to get grilled by Democrats as he’s the most overtly pro-Trump witness that will appear and the closest to the President’s thinking. If Schiff can’t pry out a quid pro quo from him, there’s nothing left and Democrats may not even secure the votes for impeachment at all.

I’ll have the live blog up at 9amEST tomorrow. Be sure to follow along.

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