The following is an excerpt from Blaze Media’s Capitol Hill Brief email newsletter:
The House impeachment inquiry held its first public hearing, and the word of the day was “hearsay.” The main point of criticism for the testimonies of diplomats Bill Taylor and George Kent was their lack of firsthand information about the matter being investigated, or as one House member put it, “hearsay on hearsay on hearsay.” Taylor reiterated that he wasn’t on the Trump-Ukraine phone call and has never met with President Trump or spoken to acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney. One Democrat on the committee, however, tried to make the case that “hearsay can be much better evidence than direct.”
In fact, the lone “bombshell” revelation at yesterday’s hearing was Taylor’s testimony that a member of his staff reportedly told him about an overheard phone conversation between Ambassador Gordon Sondland and the president, where the president supposedly mentioned “investigations.” Trump, however, responded to the claim saying, “I know nothing about that. First time I’ve heard it.”
Overall, the outcome of the event was fairly predictable. The White House press secretary called the hearing “boring” and “a public joke.” The president told reporters he was too busy to watch it. House Republicans are sticking to the position that there remains no proof of a quid pro quo arrangement. Most voters are unlikely to change their views on the subject, according to a recent survey. But this was all just day one of these public hearings. With more open testimony scheduled this week and next week at least, we’ve got a long slog ahead of us.