I have unfortunate news: All I’ve been able to think about for the past five days of impeachment proceedings is the American horror punk musician Wednesday 13’s first live album, Fuck It, We’ll Do It Live.
Let me explain: This was the first week that the House Intelligence Committee held public impeachment hearings — on live television for all the world to see. Previous witnesses provided testimony in bipartisan closed-door sessions in the basement of the Capitol building. We didn’t know much about what happened beyond the transcripts the House released of those hearings; in fact, there’s still a lot we don’t know. But let me fill you in on what we do know.
To catch you up:
During a July 25 phone call, President Donald Trump allegedly asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on his potential political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter Biden. Trump also asked Zelensky to investigate Crowdstrike, a cybersecurity firm that conducted an analysis of the hack of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 election and was involved in the FBI inquiry of Russia’s 2016 election interference. Trump allegedly dangled $400 million in aid to the country and a personal meeting between the two leaders as leverage. After a whistleblower sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General William Barr and California Representative Adam Schiff detailing the call, the White House released a memorandum (read: not an exact transcript) of the call confirming pretty much all of this.
In the following weeks, the House of Representatives launched into a formal impeachment inquiry of the president; multiple White House staffers resigned; and Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, two associates of Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer who worked to dig up dirt on the Bidens, attempted to leave the country and were consequently arrested. A bipartisan committee began calling in witnesses for questioning, hearing from the likes of Ambassador Bill Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine; Fiona Hill, Trump’s top Russia advisor; Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union; Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, a staffer and top Ukraine expert for the National Security Council, and more.
For the most part, these investigations were kept between the individuals testifying and the committee interviewing them. Last week, though, many of the full interview transcripts went public. And this week, a few of them gave live testimonies.
Before we get there, something happened on Saturday (November 9) that didn’t make it into last week’s impeachment roundup: Republican lawmakers released a list of witnesses they want to testify publicly. According to the New York Times, not all of the people on this list will make it to public hearings, but the list includes Hunter Biden; Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine; Tim Morrison, a former National Security Council official; and, of course, the whistleblower. (Making the whistleblower testify publicly would be outing them: Don’t do that.)
So what happened this week?
Monday, November 11
Investigators released the interview transcript of the testimony of Laura Cooper, the Pentagon’s top Russia and Ukraine official. In her deposition, she said the Trump administration’s decision to delay military aid to Ukraine was shocking and that the White House asked about the aid a month before th