Diplomats Bill Taylor and George Kent testified Wednesday in the first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump.
The diplomats testified for nearly six hours before the House Intelligence Committee.
Former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch's testimony today before the committee will be the second public hearing of the impeachment investigation.
Here are the biggest takeaways from Wednesday's hearing:
- The July 26 call: Taylor told Congress about a July 26 phone call — a conversation that happened one day after Trump's phone call with Ukraine's leader. Taylor testifying that his staff was told of the call, in which Trump said he cared more about the "investigations of Biden" than Ukraine.
- Rudy Giuliani's "irregular" diplomacy: Taylor explained that Giuliani's efforts led to an "irregular" policy channel was "running contrary to the goals of longstanding US policy." Kent's testimony also expressed alarm at Giuliani's efforts — which he described last month as a "campaign of lies" — that led to the ouster of former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and then the push for investigations.
- Not "never Trumpers": Kent and Taylor were directly asked about Trump's repeated claim that they are "never Trumpers." They said they were not.
- Hurting diplomats' credibility: Kent and Taylor said it is harder for US officials overseas to do their jobs when American leaders ask foreign powers to investigate their political rivals. "Our credibility is based on a respect for the United States, and if we damage that respect, then it hurts our credibility and makes it more difficult for us to do our jobs," Taylor said.
- About firsthand knowledge: Republicans repeatedly went after the witnesses for not hearing directly from Trump himself that he wanted Ukraine to launch investigations into his political rivals in exchange for releasing US aid. But remember: the White House has sought to prevent those closer to Trump from appearing.