There has been a lot of drama in the first public impeachment hearings this morning. My colleague, Bonchie, covers some of the action in Impeachment Updates: Devin Nunes Comes Hard In His Opening Statement, Adam Schiff Makes A Ridiculous Claim and there will be more updates later in the day.

One thing that has become pretty obvious, is that Bill Talyor was very interested in doing damage to President Trump and to his administration. He’s the guy who sent Ambassador Sondland the text saying that Ukraine policy was being subordinated to domestic politics. (Sondland told him that was not the case, but the Democrats are just interested in Taylor’s question, not the answer.) He also seems to have been a copious note-taker, particularly of those things that could conceivably hurt the administration and which took place under circumstances where there is no way of challenging the notes.

The hot story from Bill Taylor’s opening statement is about a phone call where Taylor was not present that allegedly involved Ambassador Sondland and President Trump and it is being pimped by the media, this is the Jake Tapper edition.

This is what he’s referring to:

Read Taylor’s complete opening statement.

I know that all the True Conservatives who just seem to live for a positive mention by Jake Tapper on Twitter or retweet by him will be eating this up, but the story is silly. Under any other circumstances, a staffer claiming to have heard what a remote participant on a telephone call said in a private phone call would be laughed at. If this is true, we can easily identify the staffer because they have ears the size of radar dishes. Via NBC:

Taylor did not identify the aide who informed him about the incident, but a source familiar with the matter told NBC News that it is David Holmes, the State Department official just added to the calendar to testify in closed session Friday.

Holmes is the counselor for political affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine. As Wednesday’s hearing got under way, two officials working on the impeachment inquiry told NBC News that Holmes’ deposition had been scheduled.

This kind of nonsense would not be allowed before any committee that still had a sense of shame. That it happened is wildly improbable from the mere physics of the scenario. It can’t be proven or disproven. It is extremely unlikely that a casual question like “what does President Trump think about Ukraine” would generate an answer both disparaging of the President and on the exact subject which the staff claims to have overheard on a phone call to which they were not a party. It seems equally unlikely that this memory would suddenly crystallize in the mind of the aide as being significant only last Friday.

The saving grace in all of this is that Adam Schiff and the press are discrediting themselves thoroughly and with a ferocity that neither Trump nor anyone on the right could ever pull off. That is a good thing because that, as they say, will be a gift that keeps on giving.

streiff
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