Consequential, but dull: Trump impeachment hearings begin without a bang




  • In US
  • 2019-11-14 01:29:10Z
  • By Reuters

By Jeff Mason and Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic lawmakers tried their hand at reality television with mixed results on Wednesday as they presented arguments to the American public for the impeachment of a former star of the genre, Donald Trump.

Unlike the best reality TV shows - not to mention the Trump presidency itself - fireworks and explosive moments were scarce, however.

Democrats need the hearings to resonate with the broader American public to gain support for a process that could lead to the impeachment and removal of the Republican commander-in-chief.

Through hours of testimony and questioning that aired live on U.S. broadcast and cable networks, the proceedings were rather staid, with only the occasional raised voice or snippy retort.

To the president's son, Eric Trump, it was a big yawn.

"This is horribly boring..." he tweeted around midday.

His tweets were retweeted by thousands, but the sentiment drew derision from his father's critics, including the Democrats in charge of the day's events.

"In boredom there can be great significance. This is of great consequence and gravity," said Representative Dean Phillips, a Democrat from a suburban swing district of Minnesota. "I wouldn't assign the word exciting to it, of course not. But we have a responsibility to pay attention, all of us."

Democrats hope the hearings show, in a made-for-TV way, what they believe are Trump's corrupt practices, namely that he withheld financial aid from Ukraine while pressing the country's president to probe the role of Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, on a Ukrainian energy company's board.

Joe Biden is a leading candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

On Wednesday, lawmakers and lawyers questioned a bow tie-wearing George Kent, the deputy secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, and bespectacled Ambassador Bill Taylor, charge d'affaires at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine. Both linked the president directly to a pressure campaign on Ukraine to conduct investigations that would benefit him politically.

Republicans largely refrained from disrupting the proceedings, which Representative Adam Schiff, the Democratic congressman overseeing the hearings, acknowledged when he thanked attendees for remaining serious and civil.

"We're not here to entertain, we're here to get to the truth so we can hold those engaged in wrongdoing, up to and including the president, accountable," said Representative Val Demings, a Democrat from Florida.

Taylor and Kent testified in plain, direct terms about their concerns about Trump's actions in Ukraine. The hearings continue on Friday.

Trump and his closest aides are unlikely to testify, which could rob Democrats of the viral moment they seek to grab the attention of Americans already worn out by the lengthy probe into Russian interference in the 2016 election conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

"I hope there'll be the gotcha moment that turns the American people even more strongly against the president, but given the way congressional hearings operate, I'm not so sure it's going to happen," said Democratic strategist Jim Manley.

Republicans appeared to be on orders from their leaders not to pull what he called stunts, he said.

"Given that the hearings went well for Democrats today, I don't expect that to last."


(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

COMMENTS

More Related News

Trump administration drops rule barring foreign students from taking online-only classes
Trump administration drops rule barring foreign students from taking online-only classes

The about-face came after a backlash from universities and state officials who said the United States should not force international students to leave.

Hillary Clinton: We Have to Be Ready if Trump Doesn
Hillary Clinton: We Have to Be Ready if Trump Doesn't 'Go Quietly'

Trevor Noah returned from a two-week July 4th break with a very big guest: Hillary Clinton.The Daily Show host began his remote interview by asking the former Secretary of State what she's been up to during quarantine. "Because I know if I was in your position, I would spend most of my time tweeting 'I told you so' and I would walk around the street just looking at people saying, 'It could have been me, it could have been me.'" "Well, you know, before the lockdown I was doing all of that," Clinton joked in response. "I mean there's probably video."But things turned more serious when Noah asked Clinton how she's feeling about the 2020 race. "It seems like America is on an ominous path to a...

Mount Rushmore: Isn
Mount Rushmore: Isn't it time to talk about its Native American history?​​​​​​​

As the U.S. and NFL reckon with their relationship to Native Americans, Mount Rushmore remains almost completely devoid of important history.

Trump retweeted a post accusing the CDC of lying about the coronavirus to prevent his reelection
Trump retweeted a post accusing the CDC of lying about the coronavirus to prevent his reelection

Business Insider contacted the White House for comment on President Donald Trump's retweet but did not immediately receive a response Monday morning.

Leading Homeland Security Under a President Who Embraces
Leading Homeland Security Under a President Who Embraces 'Hate-Filled' Talk

WASHINGTON -- Elaine C. Duke, then President Donald Trump's acting secretary of homeland security, arrived at the Roosevelt Room, down the hall from the Oval Office, on a steamy August afternoon in 2017 expecting a discussion about Trump's pledge to terminate DACA, the Obama-era protections for young immigrants. Instead, she said, it was "an ambush.""The room was stacked," she recalled. Stephen Miller, the architect of the president's assault on immigration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and other White House officials demanded that she sign a memo ending the program, which they had already concluded was illegal. She did not disagree, but she chafed at being cut out of the real...

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: US