Democrats have designed the first hour of the impeachment hearing to “be a blockbuster” — if that is all Americans watch, according to NBC News.
NBC News’s Geoff Bennett reported Tuesday that Democrats will go first in questioning the witnesses in the first public hearing of the impeachment inquiry and since each side has 45 minutes, the first hour of the hearing will be mostly Democrats.
House Democrats control the committee, which means that they go first. It also means the first hour for the most part, it will be entirely Adam Schiff or a staff lawyer if he so delegates the lawyer to ask questions pursuing the line of inquiry in building the case.
I’m told by a source familiar — a Democratic source familiar — that if Americans only tune in to the first hour that they will hear an earful. The first hour I am told is designed to be a blockbuster.
After the Democrats finish their initial 45 minutes, it then goes to the House Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Devin Nunes or a staff lawyer before it opens up to other members of Congress for five minutes each.
A Democrat aide also told Axios: “You’ve got to have a blockbuster opener and closer. That’s why we went with Taylor and Kent.”
CNN also reported that a senior Democrat said, “The first hour of a hearing and the first hearing has got to be a blockbuster,” according to the Globe and Mail.
The public hearings have high stakes for the Democrats.
After Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long-awaited testimony in late July fell flat, the impetus for impeachment waned. It was not until after Schiff revealed the existence of a “whistleblower” complaint against Trump in a September 13, 2019, letter that impeachment efforts were jumpstarted.
The first witnesses Democrats have called will not have Mueller’s stature — they will be largely unknown bureaucrats from the State Department, acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and senior State Department official George Kent.
Both have testified they do not have any firsthand knowledge of a quid pro quo, but they are expected to testify about their suspicions and hearsay that Trump was withholding a face-to-face meeting with the Ukrainian president or military aid in exchange for investigations into his political rivals.
While Trump did bring up during a July 25 phone call with the Ukrainian president investigations into the origins of the Russia collusion hoax and Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden, complicating their testimony will be that the Ukrainian president got both the face-to-face meeting and Ukraine got the military aid without doing anything in return.
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