As the impeachment hearings got back underway on Capitol Hill Thursday, President Trump called Democrats participating in the proceedings "human scum." In a morning tweet, Trump wrote that "corrupt politician Adam Schiff’s lies are growing by the day," and he urged Republicans to stay united in his defense. Soon, he added, the matter will be on "our turf," referring to the Senate. (That could wind up being a two-week trial; more on that below.) The day's witnesses were Fiona Hill, a former White House adviser who worked at the National Security Council, and David Holmes, a staffer at the US embassy in Ukraine. Coverage:
- Hill: She criticized Republicans for pushing the "fictional narrative" that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 election, reports Politico. "These fictions are harmful even if they are deployed for purely domestic political purposes,” she said, asking GOP members to “not promote politically driven falsehoods that so clearly advance Russian interests.” Trump, too, has said Ukraine meddled in the election to benefit Hillary Clinton, notes the Washington Post, but Hill says it is not true and is actually Russian propaganda. "The unfortunate truth is that Russia was the foreign power that systematically attacked our democratic institutions," Hill says. "It is beyond dispute." Read her opening statement here.
- Her warning: Hill said diplomat Gordon Sondland was "involved in a domestic political errand" on President Trump's behalf and was operating outside the normal channels of diplomacy. "I did say to him, 'I think this is all going to blow up'—and here we are," per NBC News.
- The big picture: Think of Thursday as Democrats' "closing arguments" before the Thanksgiving break, per Axios. But they don't appear to have swayed any Republicans. Notably, GOP Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, who has been known to criticize Trump, said Thursday he was in the "no" camp.