First public hearing in the Trump impeachment inquiry
Republican Rep. Mike Conaway just called for the whistleblower to be subpoenaed to be interviewed in the inquiry.
"I seek to make a motion we actually subpoena the whistleblower for a closed-door secret deposition, so the questions appropriately asked the whistleblower by our side and your side may be asked," Conaway said, addressing Chairman Adam Schiff.
He added: "I would prefer rather than it be your single decision, that you the committee speak to that."
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan followed up on Conoway's request and accused Chairman Schiff of being the "only member" who knows the whistleblower's identity. Schiff called this a "false statement."
See the moment:
White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham says President Trump is in the Oval Office in meetings this morning and is “not watching” today’s impeachment hearing.
“He’s in the Oval in meetings,” she said. “Not watching. He’s working.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik, a Republican from New York, asked House Intelligence Committee when the witnesses that the Republicans requested will be called.
"Mr. Chairman, when can we anticipate a response to our November 9th letter requesting certain individual witnesses to be called?" she asked.
The Republicans had requested a number of witnesses, including the whistleblower and Hunter Biden.
"The gentlewoman should be aware three of the witnesses the minority called are scheduled for next week," Schiff said.
Stefanik said those are Democratic witnesses.
Watch the moment:
As the first public impeachment inquiry hearing kicks off, there’s still a long line of people waiting to get in.
Many are are on their phones, watching the proceedings — but some forgot headphones, so House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff’s voice is bouncing along the corridor outside the hearing room, too.
Rep. Devin Nunes, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, criticized Democrats in his opening remarks today, accusing them of orchestrating a smear campaign against President Trump.
He said Democrats went after Trump following the special counsel Robert Mueller's report and now Ukraine.
"We're supposed to take these people at face value when they trot out a new batch of allegations, but any one familiar with the Democrat's scorched Earth war against President Trump would not be surprised to see all the typical signs that this is a carefully orchestrated media smear campaign," he said.
Nunes continued: "For example, after vowing publicly that impeachment requires bipartisan support, Democrats are pushing impeachment forward without the backing of a single Republican."
GOP Rep. Devin Nunes addressed the first two witnesses — diplomats George Kent and Bill Taylor — who are about to testify in a public impeachment hearing:
"It seems you agreed witting or unwittingly to participate in a drama. But the main performance, the Russia hoax, has ended. And you have been cast in the low rent Ukrainian sequel."
House Intelligence Committee ranking member Devin Nunes, a Republican from California, insisted Congress must get answers to three questions before they hold impeachment inquiry hearings.
He added that the Democrats "are determined to avoid asking" these questions.
The questions Nunes wants answered:
- "First, what is the full extent of the Democrat's prior coordination with the whistleblower? And who else did the whistleblower coordinate this effort with?"
- "Second, what is the full extent of Ukraine's election meddling against the Trump campaign?
- "And third, why did Burisma hire Hunter Biden and what did he do for them?"
Republican Rep. Devin Nunes is giving an opening statement before questioning starts in the first public impeachment hearing.
Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, stuck to the script in his opening statement, using direct quotes from key Trump officials who are involved in the Ukraine controversy.
For example, he quoted key excerpts from President Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
This is a very different approach than what he did at the last public hearing about the Ukraine scandal, in late September, when he presented a dramatized version Trump’s infamous call with Zelensky. He exaggerated Trump’s actions, which gave Trump an opening to attack him. Trump has said that Schiff’s actions were treasonous or even impeachable, even though there is no procedure for members of Congress to be impeached.
It shows that Schiff may have learned a valuable lesson – that there is no room for error as these impeachment hearings enter their new public phase.
Watch Schiff's full opening statement: