Trump impeachment hearings
December 12, 2019

It's not a good day to have push notifications for President Trump's Twitter feed turned on.

The president's Twitter account has exploded with an absurd amount of activity throughout the day on Thursday, as the House Judiciary Committee debated articles of impeachment against him. As of the mid-afternoon, he had overwhelmed followers with more than 100 tweets or retweets.

The day's not even over yet, and The Washington Post reports Trump has already sent more tweets and retweets than he has on any day since he announced his candidacy for president in 2015. The previous record came on Sunday, when he hit 105. The Post notes that Trump sent more tweets or retweets today alone than former President Obama sent on the @POTUS account from May 2016 through January 2017.

The vast majority of Trump's Thursday tweets have been related to the impeachment hearing, although not all; among his first was an attack on 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who he told to "chill" after she was named Time person of the year.

Trump during the impeachment inquiry has insisted he's "too busy" to watch the televised hearings, and he even described himself on Thursday as having a "very busy day," Vox points out. Too busy for more than 100 retweets by mid-afternoon, though? Certainly not. Brendan Morrow

December 12, 2019

Is U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland getting thrown under the bus during Thursday's impeachment hearing?

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.) thinks so, during the House Judiciary Committee's Thursday debate on the articles of impeachment against President Trump tweeting at Republicans, who he says are just now "throwing Ambassador Sondland under the bus," that "He. Is. Your. Guy!"

Sondland in a stunning public testimony last month told Congress there was, in fact, a quid pro quo with Ukraine "with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting." During Thursday's hearing, Republicans questioned Sondland's testimony, pointing to him having had to update it and being unsure about certain things. Earlier this week, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) questioned whether Sondland's testimony is "the best they got? The guy that had to file an addendum to his testimony? The guy had to file the clarification?"

"If EU Amb Gordon Sondland is listening to GOP lawmakers today, he might be worried about his job," CNN's Jim Sciutto observed. Brendan Morrow

December 12, 2019

Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Colo.) urged Republicans to mount a "substantive" defense of President Trump's conduct, rather than focus on "farcical process arguments," at Thursday's impeachment hearing.

The House Judiciary Committee met Thursday to debate the two articles of impeachment against Trump, which the committee is set to vote on. Republicans during the hearing criticized the process of the impeachment inquiry, with Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-Ariz.) saying "the rules have been thrown out the window here in this process" while slamming the "closed-door hearings in the basement" held by House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). She also objected to the fact that "I was denied several times, several times, the right to go in and hear what these fact witnesses said."

Neguse followed her by criticizing process arguments like these and encouraging the committee's members to remain focused on the substance of the allegations against Trump.

"It is difficult to follow some of these arguments," Neguse said. "I've heard very little in the way of any substantive defenses of the president's conduct, but instead focus, again, on some very farcical process arguments, in my view."

Neguse specifically responded to Lesko's complaints about Democrats' closed-door hearings, saying Republicans did attend them and that transcripts were released.

"Let's dispense with these process arguments and get to the substance of why we are here today," he added. Brendan Morrow

December 9, 2019

Well that was easy.

Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman wrapped up his opening statement during the House Judiciary Committee impeachment hearing Monday by summarizing the entire Ukraine scandal that spurred the inquiry into President Trump. The whole thing took just around three minutes.

Don't be fooled, though. The rest of the impeachment proceedings — including Monday's hearing, which is expected to last through the afternoon — won't be so concise. Tim O'Donnell

December 9, 2019

Republican lawyer Steve Castor seemed to forget about some previous impeachment testimony during his own appearance before the House Judiciary Committee on Monday.

Castor argued that Ukraine didn't feel pressure from President Trump to investigate his domestic political arrivals and that the country's government wasn't even aware of a freeze in U.S. military aid until the end of August. Previous witnesses in the House Intelligence Committee's hearings, however, had a different story. Their testimony claimed that at least some Ukrainian officials knew about the hold up the same day as Trump's infamous call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, which spurred the impeachment process.

There's also the word of a former Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Olena Zerkal who said (after she resigned) she knew about the aid situation by July 30. Tim O'Donnell

December 9, 2019

It took a few weeks, but the impeachment hearings finally saw their first protester.

House Judiciary Committee Chair Jarrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) had just gaveled a hearing on the findings of the Intelligence Committee's impeachment investigation into order when a protester silenced his opening statement. "Jerry Nadler and the Democrat party are committing treason in this country," the protester alleged, going on to claim that "Trump is innocent!" as he was pulled out of the room.

The protester's shouts to Nadler about how "Americans are sick of your impeachment scam!" was especially ironic given that he turned out to be Owen Shroyer, a known conspiracy theorist. Shroyer works for the right-wing program InfoWars, and is known for pushing the Pizzagate conspiracy that led a man to open fire in a Washington, D.C. pizzeria because he thought it was the center of a child sex ring run by associates of Hillary Clinton — a very false allegation that one might call a "scam." Kathryn Krawczyk

December 9, 2019

Republican and Democratic lawyers are set to present impeachment evidence at the House Judiciary Committee's latest hearing.

The House Judiciary Committee on Monday will hold its second public hearing in the impeachment inquiry into President Trump. The hearing will kick off with opening statements by Democratic counsel Barry Berke and Republican counsel Stephen Castor; from there, Democratic counsel Daniel Goldman will lay out the evidence for impeaching Trump, while Castor will lay out the evidence against, The New York Times reports. They'll be using evidence gathered by the House Intelligence Committee.

The Republican and Democratic lawyers will have 90 minutes to present evidence, per Vox, at which point committee members will be able to ask questions. Politico in previewing the hearing notes that "lawmakers will have their crack at a congressional staffer, which can create a unique dynamic. They can be much more firm, direct and, to be frank, rude with someone who works on the Hill." The hearing is expected to stretch into the late afternoon. House Judiciary Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) says articles of impeachment are likely to be drated later this week.

The impeachment hearing, which begins at 9:00 a.m. Eastern, can be watched live below. Brendan Morrow

December 4, 2019

Rep. Matt Gaetz's (R-Fla.) five minutes of questioning are apparently for him to talk and for witnesses to listen.

On Wednesday, legal experts gathered before the House Judiciary Committee for an impeachment hearing, during which Gaetz didn't do much hearing at all. Instead, he used most of his questioning opportunity to bring up the witnesses' apparent liberal bias, and then devolved into a one-sided shouting match once they started to answer his question.

Gaetz first tried to trap Harvard Law Professor Noah Feldman into adhering to an anti-impeachment article he wrote before President Trump's infamous phone call with Ukraine's president. "Until this call on July 25, I was an impeachment skeptic," Feldman snuck in before Gaetz pivoted to Stanford University Professor Pamela Karlan. Gaetz questioned Karlan on her donations to past Democratic candidates, and then accused her of having "contempt" for conservatives because on a podcast, she'd said "conservatives ... tend to spread out more, perhaps because they don't even want to be around themselves."

But before she could clarify that statement, Gaetz unloaded on Karlan. "You may not see this from the ivory towers of your law school, but it makes actual people in this country..." Gaetz said before Karlan tried to respond. "Excuse me, you don't get to interrupt me on this time," Gaetz said over her, and brought up an earlier play on words Karlan made regarding Trump's 13-year-old son Barron. "When you invoke the president's son's name here ... that does not lend credibility to your argument. It makes you look mean," Gaetz went on. Watch the whole exchange below. Kathryn Krawczyk

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