The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democrats open televised impeachment hearings

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The Hill's 12:30 Report — Dems open public impeachment hearings | Sights and sounds f| Taylor says Trump cared more about 'investigations' than Ukraine | Key players to watch | GOP moves to subpoena whistleblower | Trump goes on tweeting offensive | WH says Trump not watching hearings | More hearings set for next week | Protesters brave cold snap | Trump meeting with Turkish President Erdoğan | DC bars host impeachment watch parties | 'Friends' cast in talks over reunion special



To the races!:

The House Intelligence Committee is holding its first public hearing in the impeachment inquiry against President TrumpDonald John TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats worried by Jeremy Corbyn's UK rise amid anti-Semitism Warren, Buttigieg duke it out in sprint to 2020 MORE 

Who is testifying today: William Taylor, chargé d'affaires for Ukraine and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the State Department. What to know about Taylor: And what to know about Kent:

Livestream of the hearing:

Live blog of updates:



William Taylor on Trump: Taylor said that in July, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told a staff member that President Trump cared more about investigating former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Democrats seek leverage for trial Democrats spend big to put Senate in play MORE than he did about Ukraine.

George Kent on Rudy GiulianiRudy GiulianiThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday Horowitz offers troubling picture of FBI's Trump campaign probe Horowitz: 'Very concerned' about FBI leaks to Giuliani MORE: "In mid-August, it became clear to me that Giuliani's efforts to gin up politically- motivated investigations were now infecting U.S. engagement with Ukraine, leveraging President Zelensky's desire for a White House meeting."

William Taylor on his testimony: "I am not here to take one side or the other, or to advocate for any particular outcome of these proceedings." Watch:  

Adam SchiffAdam Bennett SchiffDemocrats seek leverage for trial Pence's office denies Schiff request to declassify call with Ukrainian leader Comey, Schiff to be interviewed by Fox's Chris Wallace MORE on the whistleblower: "I do not know the identity of the whistleblower."

Republicans tried to subpoena the whistleblower: Schiff said a vote on the motion will happen after witness testimony. It's almost certain it will not pass in the Democratic-controlled committee.

Taylor on the Ukrainian aid: "This assistance allows the Ukrainian military to deter further incursions by the Russians against Ukrainian territory. If that further incursion takes place, more Ukrainians would die."


It's a busy Wednesday on Capitol Hill.  I'm Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what's coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to -- and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.

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It wouldn't be a big hearing without protesters: Here's a woman wearing a t-shirt that reads, "ARREST TRUMP." An officer told her to stop demonstrating. Watch:

Notice as you're watching: There are seven camera angles covering the hearing. The camera angles:  

Fox News's graphics during the hearing: Note the graphics about Adam Schiff.

'Why's everyone look at me??': Here's a photo of William Taylor walking into the hearing:

I always love this photo: Here are cameras crowding around the empty witness table. Photo:

The telephone booths are getting good use!: Here's a photo of journalists working from the telephone booths:

The early birds: Here's a photo of the early morning TV live shots:

Before the room was chaos: Here are a few behind-the-scenes photos of the camera setup and assigned seats. Photos:

How many journalists: Via The Philadelphia Inquirer's Jonathan Tamari, around 110 journalists are expected.

Where the hearing is happening: In the Ways and Means Committee room, which is spacious and good for TV coverage. 

The line to get in: 




From President Trump: He tweeted, "NEVER TRUMPERS!" followed by "READ THE TRANSCRIPT!"

Trump is reportedly not watching: "He's in the Oval in meetings. Not watching. He's working," said White House press secretary Stephanie GrishamStephanie GrishamWhite House vows to appeal ruling blocking use of military funds for border wall On The Money: Pelosi, Trump tout deal on new NAFTA | McConnell says no trade vote until impeachment trial wraps up | Lawmakers push spending deadline to Thursday Trump, White House rip Democrats over impeachment articles MORE

^ Yeah, but: The president has been retweeting clips of the hearing. Check out his Twitter feed:

From Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDemocrats seek leverage for trial Democrats spend big to put Senate in play House Democrats to vote on flavored e-cigarettes ban next year MORE (R-Ky.) on the Senate floor: "It's hardly surprising that this partisan journey is not yielding a neutral process. Unfortunately it's also crowding out important legislation for the American people."

From Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoPompeo: 'No mistake' Trump warned Russian diplomat about election tampering Trump admin hits Iranian shipping network, airline with new sanctions The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - An unusual day: Impeachment plus a trade deal MORE: "Look, there's a lot of noise. There'll be noise today. There'll be noise for the rest of this week," Pompeo said on Hugh Hewitt's radio show. "I've told the team to stay focused. There's all this chatter, but then there's challenges and opportunities for America around the world."



You! Can! Pet! Puppers!: Pet Partners and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council (PIJAC) brought therapy animals to Capitol Hill today. Details: Now until 3 p.m. EST in Hart 902 and Rayburn 2043, 2044. 

^ Here's video from the event: That dog is so fluffy! Watch:

Punny drinks: Union Pub opened at 9:50 a.m. EST this morning for a watch party. Their drinks: "ImPEACHment Please" and "I Got 99 Problems but Impeachment Ain't One."

^Ahh, next time: "If you like subpoena coladas.........." (Tweet from Reuters' Patricia Zengerle)

At Capitol Lounge: 



– House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.): He has become the face of the impeachment inquiry. He is responsible for making sure the first hearing runs smoothly and effective for Democrats.

– Rep. Devin NunesDevin Gerald NunesHillicon Valley: Apple, Facebook defend encryption during Senate grilling | Tech legal shield makes it into trade deal | Impeachment controversy over phone records heats up | TikTok chief cancels Capitol Hill meetings The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - Democrats to release articles of impeachment today Controversy on phone records intensifies amid impeachment MORE (R-Calif.), the top Republican on the committee: Nunes is seated right next to Schiff and will be front and center. 

– Rep. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanHorowitz to appear before second Senate panel next week Top Republican requests House hearing with DOJ inspector general Trump, first lady take part in National Christmas Tree lighting MORE (R-Ohio): "House GOP leaders parachuted Jordan, the top Republican on the House Oversight and Reform Committee, into the Intelligence Committee ranks last week to ensure that their lead investigator in the closed-door depositions could take part in the public impeachment hearings." 

– Daniel Goldman: As the Intelligence Committee director of investigations, the former MSNBC legal analyst led Democrats' witness questioning during the closed-door depositions.

– Rep. Will HurdWilliam Ballard HurdGroup of veterans call on lawmakers to support impeachment, 'put country over politics' CNN's Bianna Golodryga: 'Rumblings' from Democrats on censuring Trump instead of impeachment Republicans preview impeachment defense strategy MORE (R-Texas): Hurd, a former CIA officer and who is retiring next year instead of running in a competitive reelection race, has broken with Republicans to argue for the protection of the whistleblower. But he also wants Hunter Biden to testify.

– Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeTrump, first lady take part in National Christmas Tree lighting Lawmakers to watch during Wednesday's impeachment hearing House Republicans on Judiciary strategize ahead of Wednesday's impeachment hearing MORE (R-Texas): "The former U.S. attorney and federal terrorism prosecutor is considered one of the GOP's most effective cross-examiners." 

Details for each from The Hill's Cristina Marcos:



The other big news on the split screen:

Via The Hill's Morgan Chalfant and Laura KellyPresident Trump is meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the White House today "for a visit that has isolated the president from some of his strongest defenders on Capitol Hill and drawn criticism from his most loyal base of voters following Turkey's attack on U.S.-allied Kurds in northeastern Syria."

What they are expected to discuss: "The situation in Syria, Turkey's purchase of Russian S-400 defense systems and Turkey's removal from the F-35 joint strike fighter program." 



Mick may want to hold off on ordering more business cards...:

Via The Washington Post's Carol D. Leonnig, Tom Hamburger, Josh Dawsey and John Hudson, "President Trump has been threatening for weeks to fire acting chief of staff Mick MulvaneyJohn (Mick) Michael MulvaneyDemocrats seek leverage for trial Lies, damned lies and impeachable lies Trump abandons plan to dissolve Office of Personnel Management: report MORE, but senior advisers have counseled him to hold off on such a drastic step amid a high-stakes impeachment probe, according to three people familiar with the discussions." 

Why: Mulvaney's Oct. 17 press conference where he said Ukrainian aid was withheld for political reasons. 

The full report:


Another round of public impeachment hearings next week:

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) announced eight public hearings next week in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump 

Testifying next Tuesday:

Lt. Col. Alexander VindmanAlexander VindmanImpeachment sets up Ukrainian Americans for 2020 political role Director of National Intelligence Maguire should stand for the whistleblower Adam Schiff's star rises with impeachment hearings MORE, a top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council (NSC)

Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Pence

Kurt VolkerKurt VolkerPush to investigate Bidens sets up potential for Senate turf war Senate confirms Brouillette to replace Perry as Energy secretary How Democrats' missing witnesses could fill in the Ukraine story MORE, former special envoy to Ukraine

Tim Morrison, a top NSC official


Testifying next Wednesday:

U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland

Laura Cooper, a Defense official

David Hale, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.


On Thursday:

Fiona Hill, former NSC senior director for Europe and Russia



Now that's a mug shot if I've ever seen one:


This street in D.C. is showing off this morning:

And here's an up-close photo of the leaves, with a cute toddler:



The House and Senate are in. President Trump is in Washington, D.C. Vice President Pence is in California.

9:25 a.m. EST: Vice President Pence and Karen PenceKaren Sue PenceCharlotte Pence to hold wedding reception at vice president's residence Karen Pence reveals 'Victorian Christmas!' themed decorations at vice president's residence Pence, second lady make unannounced trip to Iraq to visit US troops MORE left for Orange County, Calif.

11 a.m. EST: Two roll call votes in the House. The Senate's full schedule today:

Noon: President Trump and first lady Melania TrumpMelania TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - House panel expected to approve impeachment articles Thursday The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by UANI — Republicans grill DOJ inspector general on FBI handling of Russia probe The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by AdvaMed - An unusual day: Impeachment plus a trade deal MORE greeted the president of Turkey and his wife.

12:30 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Oval Office.

12:30 p.m. EST: The Senate breaks for weekly caucus luncheons. 

2 p.m. EST: President Trump meets with select senators.

4:30 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at a Trump campaign luncheon in Huntington Beach, Calif.

4:30 – 5:30 p.m. EST: First and last votes in the House. The House's full schedule today:

8:30 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence speaks at a Trump campaign dinner in Carmel Valley, Calif. 

8 a.m. EST Thursday: The Hill is hosting an event, "America's Veterans: The Next Mission." Details and how to RSVP:

Dec. 20: Congress is expected to postpone its Nov. 21 government funding deadline until Dec. 20.



2 p.m. EST: Senate Republican leaders hold a news conference. Livestream:

2:30 p.m. EST: Senate Democratic leaders hold a news conference. Livestream:

3:10 p.m. EST: President Trump holds a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoğanLivestream:



Today is National Indian Pudding Day.


The real breaking news of the morning – a 'Friends' reunion special may actually happening!!:

Via The Hollywood Reporter's Lesley Goldberg, the cast of 'Friends' is in talks to create a reunion special on HBO Max. Everything we know about it:


And because you made it this far, here's a solution to dogs jumping over gates: