Trump’s impeachment: First hearing summary

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The first public impeachment hearing today has concluded, and the second hearing with former NSC official Tim Morrison and former Ukraine envoy Kurt Volker is scheduled to begin in about 40 minutes.

Here’s what we learned from the first hearing:

Lt Col Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams provided firsthand accounts of Trump’s July call with the Ukrainian president, which sparked the impeachment inquiry.

Vindman said he immediately notified White House lawyers of the “improper” call because he was alarmed by Trump’s apparent efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden. Williams added that Trump’s mention of Biden and his son sounded “political” to her, which was not in keeping with a typical call to a foreign leader.

Republicans on the House intelligence committee tried to undermine Vindman’s credibility by alluding to a possible loyalty to Ukraine, which he denied, and by accusing him of going outside the chain of command to report his concerns on the call, which he contradicted. But GOP members did not try to seriously contest the witnesses’ key assertions about Trump’s Ukraine call.

The White House sent a tweet raising doubts about Vindman’s judgement by quoting the closed-door testimony of Morrison. However, during the hearing, Vindman pushed back against Morrison’s concerns by quoting a glowing performance review by former White House official Fiona Hill.

Williams and Vindman denied they are “never Trumpers,” despite the president’s accusations. Vindman said he would describe himself as “never partisan.”

The blog will have much more coming up, so stay tuned.