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SKIRMISHING OVER THE RULES
BACK IN BUSINESS
Now it's the Republicans' turn. Ranking member Devin Nunes says, "I only have a few questions for you," and will likely yield the bulk of his 45 minutes to the committee's minority counsel, Steve Castor.
MEANWHILE, ROGER STONE...
While the hearing remains on break, word comes in from a Washington courtroom: longtime Donald Trump friend and political supporter Roger Stone has been found guilty on all counts. He'd been on trial on charges of lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstruction following remarks about the WikiLeaks email releases during the 2016 presidential campaign.
President Trump's tweet dispraging Marie Yovanovitch--sent as she testified this morning--has become a story unto itself. Intelligence Committee chair Adan Schiff branded it "witness intimidation" while Bay Area Democratic Congressman Eric Swalwell said, "We have strong evidence of obstruction of justice through intimidating a witness and tampering with a witness's testimony."
Chairman Schiff announces a break, saying House votes have been scheduled. Indications are it may be an hour or so before the hearing resumes.
WHAT EXACTLY DID THE PRESIDENT SAY?
A POWERFUL OPENING STATEMENT
Marie Yovanovitch ends her opening statement with a powerful plea to Americans to remember why people like her do what they do: to represent America abroad and advance our nation's interests. It should be played back to every high school civics class.
WHAT DOES DAN AYKROYD HAVE TO DO WITH THIS?
Well, like Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, he was born in Canada. And then, Doug recalled his Saturday Night Live bit from the 70's: "The Ambassador Training Institute". Here's the script.
THERE'S ALWAYS A LOCAL ANGLE
TWO VERY DIFFERENT VIEWS
START THE CLOCK
Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff (D-CA) gavels the hearing to order and begins reading his opening statement.
MEANWHILE, ELSEWHERE IN STATE DEPARTMENT NEWS
A story that might have been front-page news were it not for that OTHER front-page news in Washington: the State Department's Inspector General is recommending disciplinary action against a Trump Administration appointee who stands accused of keeping a list of career State Department employees not considered sufficiently supportive of President Trump's agenda. Read the report here.
AND WE'RE BACK!
It's an earlier start for the Friday morning session with former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. The Intelligence Committee is due to convene at 6 a.m. Pacific time. This means Doug Sovern had to set his alarm clock many hours before his normal wake-up time.
MORE ON FRIDAY
SAY IT LIKE THIS
MATTER OF INTENT
CALLING ABOUT CORRUPTION
BACK TO DEMOCRATS
LINE OF QUESTIONING
Central Valley Republican Rep. Devin Nunes gets 45 minutes to question the two witnesses. He uses the first three essentially repeating his opening statement.
MOMENT TO REVIEW
This photo from Getty Images shows Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee review their papers before top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, William B. Taylor Jr., and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George P. Kent testify before the House Intelligence Committee in the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill.
IT'S THE GOP'S TURN
INTRODUCING DAN GOLDMAN
So who's the guy asking the questions right now? Dan Goldman is counsel for the Democratic majority on the House Intelligence Committee. Here's his Twitter profile.
Inquiring minds want to know: did the overheard conversation (President Trump asking Ambassador Gordon Sondland about "the investigations") happen on speakerphone? Or is the president's voice so loud it can be heard in a Kiev restaurant? And do US diplomats routinely conduct calls with the president in such a way that others can overhear?
KEY NEW INFORMATION?
This new information is grabbing a lot of attention at this hour.
TRUMP AND THE BIDENS
IN HIS OWN WORDS
Read Ambassador William Taylor's opening statement here, courtesy of Politico.
LINES OF COMMUNICATION
So THIS is interesting. Photo tweeted by Peninsula Congresswoman Jackie Speier (presumably her hand-marked notation on prepared testimony of Ambassador William Taylor).
WHERE TO WATCH
'DIRECTIVE HAD COME FROM THE PRESIDENT'
LISTEN TO THAT
Doug and Susan Leigh Taylor and I all agree: Ambassador William Taylor has the baritone voice and cadence of a 1940's or 1950's radio news anchor.
TAYLOR STEPS INTO SPOTLIGHT
'PERCEPTION OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST'
STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE?
OK, off-topic. Probably shallow. But George Kent DEFINITELY pulls off the bow-tie-and-matching-pocket-square look.
NUNES SPEAKS UP
Just an observation: Intelligence Committee chair Adam Schiff is reading from his three-page prepared opening statement. But it doesn't sound like he's reading. His speech and debate teacher is smiling somewhere.
ALL EYES ON SCHIFF
As chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Los Angeles) will lead Wednesday's hearing with expected testimony from two witnesses about Trump's action and policy toward Ukraine.
BAY AREA WAKES UP TO HEARING
Cafes and bars around the Bay Area opened early and turned on television sets to watch the testimony in the House.
WHAT TO EXPECT: A CRASH COURSE IN FOREIGN POLICY
We're going to hear a whole lot about things involving Ukraine. A lot of people still call it "the Ukraine" (uncool since Ukrainian independence in 1991) and a lot of people still call the capital city "KIev"--also not cool because that's a transliteration of the Russian spelling, as opposed to "Kyiv", which is a transliteration of the spelling in Ukrainian. There's even a hashtag: #KyivNotKiev