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The Hill’s 12:30 Report — Presented by Johnson & Johnson — Day three of public impeachment hearings | Vindman defends witnesses from ‘cowardly’ attacks | Thanks father for bringing family to US | Army monitoring safety of Vindman family | Guide to this week’s nine witnesses | Trump calls Pelosi ‘crazy’ before hearing | Bei Bei the panda leaves for China | Best sandwiches in DC
HAPPENING THIS MORNING
Today in, ‘People Having A More Stressful Morning Than Most’:
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a Ukraine specialist on the National Security Council (NSC), and Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Pence, are testifying before the House Intelligence Committee this morning in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump.
Livestream of this morning’s hearing: https://cs.pn/2NWhU6Y
At 2:30 p.m. EST — here’s a livestream of today’s second hearing: https://cs.pn/2NZfyEw
Live blog of testimony highlights: http://bit.ly/2rYwBxW
NEWS FROM TODAY’S HEARING:
Vindman thanks his father for leaving the Soviet Union: “Dad, I’m sitting here today in the U.S. Capitol, talking to our elected professionals, [it’s] proof that you made the right decision 40 years ago to leave the Soviet Union and come here to the United States of America in search of a better life for our family. Do not worry, I will be fine for telling the truth.” http://bit.ly/32Zs4YP
Vindman on attacks of the impeachment witnesses: “I want to state that the vile character attacks on these distinguished and honorable public servants is reprehensible. It is natural to disagree and engage in spirited debate, this has been our custom since the time of our Founding Fathers, but we are better than callow and cowardly attacks.” He did not mention specific attacks though. http://bit.ly/2qvHeHY
Vindman on his concerns about Trump’s Ukraine call: “I was concerned by the call, what I heard was improper, and I reported my concerns to Mr. Eisenberg. It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen and political opponent,” referring to John Eisenberg, the top lawyer for the National Security Council. http://bit.ly/2qvHeHY
Vindman was asked whether he would leak information: “I never did. I never would. That is preposterous that I would do that.” http://bit.ly/35flAGJ
Williams declined to answer about Pence’s call: When asked about a call between Vice President Mike Pence and the Ukrainian president, Williams’s lawyer interjected. “Given the position of the vice president’s office on classification, I’ve advised Ms. Williams not answer further questions about that call in an unclassified setting.” http://bit.ly/2rYwBxW
It’s Tuesday. I’m Cate Martel with a quick recap of the morning and what’s coming up. Send comments, story ideas and events for our radar to [email protected] — and follow along on Twitter @CateMartel and Facebook.
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SIGHTS AND SOUNDS:
Behind the scenes: Here is live video before the hearing: http://bit.ly/2D11yUc
The classic ‘wow, that’s a lot of photographers getting the same shot’: Photo: http://bit.ly/2raE2kZ
Photo of Vindman arriving: Note that he is in uniform. http://bit.ly/2OqiYir
Video of Vindman going through security as he arrives: Now if this were me, I’d realize I had forgotten to take things out of my pockets. http://bit.ly/2O1fOTp
By the way, Vindman has a twin brother: Here’s a photo of his brother at the hearing: http://bit.ly/32ZVwOk
The view for the witnesses: http://bit.ly/37hN3te
Republicans created graphics for the room: http://bit.ly/35heaTm
WHAT TO KNOW FOR THIS WEEK’S HEARINGS:
Primer on where we stand now in the impeachment inquiry: http://bit.ly/2QEnBZf
Testifying this morning:
– Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman, the leading Ukraine expert on the national security council
– Jennifer Williams, an aide to Vice President Pence
On Tuesday afternoon:
– Former special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker
– Timothy Morrison, a Ukraine and Russia expert on the national security council
– Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union
– Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russian, Ukrainian and Eurasian affairs
– Diplomat David Hale
– Fiona Hill, a former top NSC staffer who covered Europe and Russia
– David Holmes, an embassy staffer in Kyiv
Short explainer on why each witness is important: http://bit.ly/32WC70F
TIDBIT ABOUT ALEXANDER VINDMAN’S FAMILY:
Via The Wall Street Journal’s Rebecca Ballhaus, Dustin Volz and Gordon Lubold, “the U.S. Army is prepared to move Col. Vindman and his family onto a military base in the area to ensure their security if it is determined that they are in physical danger, according to U.S. officials … Army security officials have also been monitoring Col. Vindman and his family around the clock to make sure there aren’t any imminent threats, officials said.” https://on.wsj.com/2O3BwWV
IN THE WHITE HOUSE
He tweeted: “Nancy Pelosi just stated that ‘it is dangerous to let the voters decide Trump’s fate.’ @FoxNews In other words, she thinks I’m going to win and doesn’t want to take a chance on letting the voters decide. Like Al Green, she wants to change our voting system. Wow, she’s CRAZY!” http://bit.ly/2qiPvPI
IN OTHER NEWS
Baby, bye Bei Bei:
Bei Bei the panda just left the National Zoo and is flying to China. http://bit.ly/2CZFWb8
Omg: “He will be the precious cargo on a FedEx plane dubbed the ‘Panda Express.’”
His travel itinerary: The panda left Dulles International Airport at noon.
Video of zookeepers getting Bei Bei’s final breakfast ready: Via WJLA-TV’s Kristen Powers: http://bit.ly/2Ox7zh8
The puns have been on fire today: NPR’s “Morning Edition” assured followers that “in-flight he’ll have all the bear necessities.” http://bit.ly/35dTDz6
Livestream of the National Zoo this morning: http://bit.ly/2Op23Nu
Video of Bei Bei rolling down the hill for entertainment: Sigh, I will miss that ball of fun. http://bit.ly/2rZnIUP
Why #fartgate is trending on Twitter — That is it. I’ve had enough of Twitter for 2019. Goodbye.:
Via Time’s Joelle Goldstein, “During Monday’s episode of MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews, [Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.)], 39, appeared on the political analysis show to discuss whether President Donald Trump had used taxpayer dollars to cheat in the election. However, viewers were quickly distracted from the issue when an enormous farting noise was heard as Swalwell, who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, spoke to Matthews on-air from the Capitol.” http://bit.ly/2QEwsK6
The clip in question — I cannot believe this is in the news today…:
OMFG SOUND ON pic.twitter.com/StziH3Yh49
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) November 19, 2019
‘Hardball’ then clarified what the sound *actually* was: “Sorry to disappoint the conspiracy theorists – it was the #hardball mug scraping across the desk. Get yours today and let’s get back to the news!” http://bit.ly/2qrNikT
Swalwell then retweeted, adding: “TOTAL EXONERATION!” Well played. See Swalwell’s actual tweet: http://bit.ly/2Opns9b
Wow, that man is stone-faced
(Thank you and goodnight, folks!):
Awaiting remarks from House Speaker Nicholas Longworth? pic.twitter.com/ujiH0buxFz
— Howard Mortman (@HowardMortman) November 19, 2019
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The House and Senate are in.
11:30 a.m. EST: President Trump held a Cabinet meeting in the White House.
12:30 p.m. EST: Senators meet for weekly caucus luncheons.
12:45 p.m. EST: President Trump has lunch with Vice President Pence.
1 p.m. EST: Votes in the House. The House’s full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2OoVtX6
2:15 p.m. EST: The Senate holds votes on nominations. The Senate’s full schedule today: http://bit.ly/2OoVtX6
3 p.m. EST: Vice President Pence meets with former Polish President Lech Wałęsa.
3 p.m. EST: Last votes in the House.
WHAT TO WATCH
2 p.m. EST: Senate Republicans hold a press conference. Livestream: https://cs.pn/2QIyBF1
2:30 p.m. EST: Senate Democrats hold a press conference. Livestream: https://cs.pn/35hlrCE
NOW FOR THE FUN STUFF…
Today is National Macchiato Day.
Because I’m hungry:
Here is Washingtonian’s list of the best sandwich and burger spots in Washington, D.C. The list: http://bit.ly/2r6QAdg
And because Bei Bei is on his way to China, here are some of the most memorable moments of this goofy panda: https://s.si.edu/343FT9Z
Only a panda could make falling out of a tree funny and cute!