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November 21, 2019
Watch the full hearing:
On the third consecutive day of public hearings before the House Intelligence Committee, two witnesses testified in one joint hearing.
Here's what you need to know -
THE DETAILS:
WHERE: Longworth House Office Building, House Ways and Means Committee Room 1100.
WHEN:
First Hearing - 9:06am ET until 4:18pm ET.
WHO: Fiona Hill, a former National Security Council senior director for Europe and Russia, and David Holmes, counselor for political affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.
THE HEARING:
OPENING STATEMENTS:
TO BEGIN: Fiona Hill, the former National Security Council senior director for Europe and Russia, opened her testimony to the committee saying , "Based on statements and questions I've heard, some of you on this committee appear to believe that Russia and its security services did not conduct a campaign against our country and that perhaps... Ukraine did. This is a fictional narrative that has been perpetrated and propagated by the Russian security services themselves."
IN RESPONSE: Both Ranking Member Nunes (R-CA) and Rep. Elise Stefanik
(R-NY) responded to Hill's opening comments on Russian involvement in the 2016 election by providing a copy of the 250-page report Republicans on the committee produced regarding Russian interference in 2018.
A CALL: David Holmes described the phone call he overheard between Ambassador Sondland and President Trump, noting that Sondland told the President that President Zelensky would do "anything [Trump] asks him to."
ON RUDY GIULIANI: During questions from Democratic Counsel Daniel Goldman, Hill recounted a discussion she had with former National Security Advisor John Bolton where Bolton said, " Rudy Giuliani is a hand grenade that is going to blow everybody up." Goldman then asked, "Did you know what he meant by that?" Hill responded, "Actually, I did... In fact, that's where I think we are today."
ON AMBASSADOR SONDLAND: During questions from Republican Counsel Steve Castor, Hill said of Ambassador Sondland, " He was being involved in a domestic political errand and we were being involved in national security foreign policy and those two things had just diverged... I did say to [Sondland]... I do think this is all going to blow up. And here we are."
ON THE OVERHEARD CALL: Republican members of the committee showed skepticism of the details Holmes recounted about a phone call he overheard, but was not explicitly on, that stands at the center of his testimony. Rep. Mike Conway (R-TX) questioned Holmes on the number of people he communicated with about what he had overheard.
BOTH WITNESSES agreed that the removal of Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch was part of a smear campaign. Hill added it was within the president's rights to appoint a political ambassador, but that the treatment of Yovanovitch was " unnecessary ."
ON EVIDENCE: Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) used his time to say he " has not found evidence proving the president committed bribery and extortion, " before leaving the committee room.
ON PARTISAN DIVISION: Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) said " coups create division and it's time for this phase of the publicly announced and proclaimed Democrat coup to end." Hill requested to respond, adding, "I think what Dr. Wenstrup said was very powerful," and that "this has put a huge cloud over this presidency and also over our whole democratic system."
IN CLOSING: Chairman Schiff closed the day with remarks lasting 20 minutes - 8 minutes longer than his opening statement - and ending with, " we are better than that. "
FROM THE PRESIDENT:
VIA TWITTER: The President commented in real-time on the impeachment inquiry hearings through the social media platform at least 13 times .
UPCOMING:
NOTE: There are no public testimonies in the impeachment inquiry scheduled for the week of November 25-29.
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