Democrats, Republicans spar on last day of impeachment hearings
WASHINGTON D.C., - What was heard, and what was said.
That was at the center of the final day of impeachment hearings that looked into dealings between President Trump and the leader of Ukraine.
For the past two weeks, Democrats and Republicans have sparred over evidence provided by key witnesses in a probe looking at whether Trump used the power of the presidency to leverage the Ukrainian government to open a political investigation.
Over the past few days, the public have listened to statements made by ambassadors and officials with the state department.
Taking the stand in the final hearing of testimonies were Dr. Fiona Hill, a former advisory to Russia, and David Holmes, an embassy official working in Kiev, the capitol of Ukraine. Democrats saw to illustrate two separate campaigns run in dealings with the eastern European country - one of diplomacy run by Hill, and the other a political gambit run by Ambassador Gordon Sondland.
"He said he was in charge of Ukraine, and I said "Well, who put you in charge Ambassador Sondland?" and he said 'the president,'" said Hill.
Sondland, who testified yesterday, described how him and two other officials operated a private channel of influence in Ukraine and reported directly to Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Guliani. The former New York City mayor got a lot of airtime this week.
"President Trump disregarded the advice of his senior officials about this theory, and instead listened to Rudy Guliani's views?" asked the Democrat's counsel.
"That appears to be the case, yes," responded Hill.
As Democrats sought to frame the Guliani's role as worrisome and unusual, Republicans pointed toward Trump's overall goal of rooting out corruption in the region.
"The president of the United States, Commander in Chief, was concerned about the 2016 elections in Burisma. He had his personal attorney working these issues because he was under investigation," said Ranking GOP member Devin Nunes.
Democrats also asked Holmes about his thoughts on decisions made by officials working for Guliani. Their questions were pointed directly at a phone call taken between Sondland and Trump earlier this year. Holmes said he overheard the conversation and explicitly described Sondland saying Trump "didn't really care about Ukraine."
"He said he cares about big stuff." said Holmes.
"Did he explain what he meant by big stuff?" asked the counsel.
"I asked him 'well, what kind of big stuff? We have big stuff going on here like a war with Russia.' and he said 'No, big stuff like the Biden investigation that Mr. Guliani is pushing," Holmes replied.
Hunter Biden, the son of Presidential Candidate Joe Biden, was formally on the board of an energy company run in Ukraine.
However, Republicans refused to budge on any accusations made by Democrats since they never heard any explicit interaction or demand from Trump.
There may be others who will later testify, either voluntarily or by mandated subpeona. A judge will decide if any others who have been asked by either party to testify should show up for a hearing. That could come as late as Dec. 10.