The House Intelligence Committee will hold its first open hearings Wednesday at 10 a.m. ET and Raw Story will have a live stream on our website for those unable to watch on television. The second hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m. ET on Friday.
Three key witnesses are slated to appear:
Top Ukraine diplomat Bill Taylor — he has already testified that the White House set up a parallel foreign policy channel that ultimately undermined the US national security interests, calling it a “snake pit.” His previous statements revealed how he and other diplomats “sat in astonishment” after hearing that aid was being withheld.
Deputy assistant secretary of state for European affairs George Kent — he revealed in his deposition that Rudy Giuliani was using Fox News to help attack the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine so President Donald Trump had an excuse to fire her. “It was primarily non-truths and non-sequiturs,” he explained.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch — one of the most startling statements given thus far came from Yovanovitch who couldn’t understand why Trump and his cronies came after her. Ukraine told her to “watch my back” because Giuliani and his associates were working to pursue their own business interests and knew her ethics would likely be an obstacle.
The key members to watch out for are Republicans looking to disrupt the hearings. Each side will get equal time, so it would behoove the GOP to keep their antics to a minimum, but transcripts of the depositions show they may not be capable of restraining themselves.
One key person to watch is Danny Goldman, who prosecuted organized crime at the Southern District of New York and now serves as the Intelligence Committee’s director of investigations. During the depositions, Goldman was the one behind the majority of the questioning, according to reports.
Daniel Noble is another lawyer from the U.S. Attorney’s office out of the SDNY. He currently serves as the senior counsel for the House Intelligence Committee Democrats.
The GOP’s lawyer will be a guy named Steve Castor.
3 Republicans to watch:
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) — ranking member of the committee has been mostly occupied this legislative session by a series of lawsuits against his hometown newspaper and an imaginary cow that trolls him on Twitter. The vast majority of his outbursts have been behind closed doors, so it’s expected he’ll bring that level of craziness out for the cameras as well.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) — Jordan told the House minority leader to put him on the Intelligence Committee to ensure there was someone prepared to take on the witnesses for President Donald Trump. It’s unclear why the GOP or the White House lost faith in Nunes’ ability to handle things, but the addition of Jordan almost guarantees fireworks. At the same time, Jordan is facing another round of questions about his role in a child molestation scandal at Ohio State University. A referee alleged Jordan knew it was happening and allowed it.
Rep. Will Hurd (R-TX) — Hurd could be a wildcard in the hearings, because he’s been largely supportive of protecting the identity of the whistleblower. He’s an outgoing Congressman who has encouraged the GOP to be more diverse for their own self-preservation. He could be an outlier in the hearings.
4 Democrats to watch:
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) — the chairman of the committee is typically cool and collected. He isn’t known for raising his voice or shouting anyone down. But he has a grasp on how to prosecute a criminal and how to run a serious hearing. If Republicans go off with random outbursts it will serve as a stark contrast to Schiff.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA) — among the most intelligent in Congress, Speier does her homework and is overwhelmingly prepared when taking on a witness in a hearing. Her questions will be important to watch.
Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT) — “chair emeritus” for the New Democrat coalition, the more moderate wing of the Democratic Party. His perspective will be a good barometer to gauge what centrists are paying attention to most.
Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) — Quigley was key in questioning Bill Taylor and George Kent in the depositions, according to the transcripts. Look for him to be one of the leading experts on their testimony during the hearings.
There are likely other Republican and Democratic members who will stand out and who have the opportunity to ask pointed questions that will likely cause murmurs or grumbles throughout cable news. Stay tuned to Raw Story and we’ll bring you the most important moments.
Maddow gave a similar take to ours during the opening of her show, which you can watch below:
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