The Republicans repeatedly declared that Kent and Taylor -- and other witnesses to follow them -- could offer only "hearsay" testimony about what the president did and what his motivations were. They conveniently ignored the role of the White House in blocking any testimony by witnesses with first-hand knowledge, such as acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and fired National Security Adviser John Bolton.
The repeated questions about Hunter Biden elicited damaging testimony from Kent -- already made in his closed-door deposition. The State Department official reported that he had complained in 2015 that the role of the vice president's son in Ukraine, working for the company that was the first major target of a US-backed anti-corruption campaign, raised at least the appearance of a conflict of interest. Vice President Biden's office had never responded to his objections, Kent said.
Only one actual new "fact" was revealed in the entire five-hour hearing and this came at the end of Taylor's opening statement. He claimed to have just learned that a member of his staff had overheard a phone call from President Trump to Gordon Sondland while Sondland and the aide were sitting at a restaurant in Kiev on July 26.
"Following the call with President Trump, the member of my staff asked Ambassador Sondland what President Trump thought about Ukraine," Taylor said. "Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for."
While the anti-Trump section of the corporate media treated this as a "blockbuster" revelation, the timing is more than a little suspicious. Taylor claimed that he learned of this only after he gave his deposition testimony on October 22. That would suggest that his aide -- now scheduled to give closed-door testimony Friday -- sat on this information for three months, and for an entire month after the beginning of an impeachment inquiry focused on Trump's role in Ukraine.
The public hearings before the House Intelligence Committee continue Friday with State Department official Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed as ambassador to Ukraine because she was considered an obstacle by Giuliani. Witnesses next week will include Alexander Vindman, Tim Morrison and Fiona Hill, all of the National Security Council, State Department officials Sondland, Volker, David Hale and Jennifer Williams (assigned to work with Vice President Mike Pence) and Pentagon official Laura Cooper. All are testifying under subpoena in defiance of Trump's orders not to cooperate with the inquiry.