The week of November 11th has been a whirlwind for those in and outside of the government, consisting of two influential testimonies in front of the House Intelligence Committee in regards to the Donald Trump impeachment inquiry. These testimonies include one from diplomat Bill Taylor on Wednesday and one from former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch on Friday.
One of the newest revelations regarding the infamous phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was told by Bill Taylor. Taylor told the House that there was a second phone call that occurred one day later on July 26th with the United States Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland. According to Taylor, Sondland “told President Trump that the Ukrainians were ready to move forward [with investigations]” (CNN). In response, Chairman Adam Schiff questioned Taylor, asking if this meant “Trump cared more about the investigations than he does about Ukraine? ‘Yes, sir,’ Taylor responded” (CNN). While this seemed compelling, Republicans on the committee objected to the testimony considering the majority of it was based on secondhand knowledge. However, House Democrats pointed out that officials with firsthand knowledge “had been blocked from testifying by the White House” (CNN). Despite it being first hand or secondhand knowledge, many felt that Taylor gave a compelling testimony, setting the grounds for Marie Yovanovitch in two days.
Marie Yovanovitch was up next on Friday and was immediately asked about her reaction to the transcript of the July call which talked of her stating that she was “bad news” (New York Times). According to the New York Times, Yovano-vitch was “Shocked. Appalled. Devastated that the president of the United States would talk about any ambassador like that to a foreign head of state — and it was me. I mean, I couldn’t believe it. […] it sounded like a threat.” While her testimony was occurring, the President took to Twitter to share his opinions on the ongoing court proceedings surrounding his Presidency. On Twitter, he stated that “everywhere Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go?” This tweet prompted House Democrats to believe the President intended to intimidate the witness. Schiff made the record show that “some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously” (New York Times). Conversely,
according to Fox News, when asked if his tweets could be interpreted in an intimidating fashion the president replied, “I don’t think so at all.” After her testimony and Chairman Schiff’s closing statements, a round of applause erupted in the courtroom, signaling the end of the proceedings.
The House Intelligence Committee Photo credit: CNN
There may still be a ways to go before the American people are given a response as to whether or not the president is impeached. There are new developments every day regarding the issue, and still push-back from the White
House demanding to know the identity of the original whistle-blower who set this whole process in motion (CNN). Representative Jim Jordan on the House Intelligence Committee
expresses his desire to know their identity stating in a somber tone that “we’ll never get that chance. More importantly, the American people will never get that chance” (CNN). With the impeachment continuing to dominate news cycles, the American people can only hope there is a decision soon.
By Eden Osiason Co-Editor-in-Chief