DEFN

Woof, impeachment hearings are stressful. We have a solution

Roll Call reporter Kathryn Lyons interviews Lola, a therapy dog, during an event run by Pet Partners and the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council to help provide staffers stress relief. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Donald Trump's alleged misdeeds with Ukraine are front and center on Capitol Hill today as Congress holds its first public impeachment inquiry hearing.  So, Heard on the Hill decided to make a ruff day better with a trio of therapy dogs stationed just one office building away.

Senators move ahead with enhancing Olympics oversight
Commerce Committee advanced bill after debate about role of Congress

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., left, and Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., are leading legislation to give Congress more authority over Olympic sports. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators moved ahead with an effort to enhance congressional oversight of U.S. participation in the Olympics on Wednesday, part of an ongoing response to recent sexual abuse scandals in sports.

The voice vote by the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to advance an amended version of a bipartisan bill came despite concerns raised by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

GOP relies on familiar defenses as impeachment hearings open
Jordan presses witnesses on Ukraine aid being released without investigation sought

Ranking member Devin Nunes, R-Calif., Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and minority counsel Stephen Castor, confer during the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Republicans reached for oft-cited complaints about the impeachment process Wednesday to counter arguments from Democrats and detailed statements from two career diplomats at the start of what will likely be several weeks of contentious hearings into President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine.

It wasn’t until early afternoon, when a temporary member added to the House Intelligence Committee roster to bolster questioning during the televised proceedings, provided the most forceful defense of Trump in a hearing that otherwise shed little new light — for the viewing public, at least — on the weeks-long inquiry.

Trump complains about cost of Democrats’ impeachment lawyer — but GOP lawyer made more
President launched a series of Twitter attacks before public testimony began

President Donald Trump complained that Democrats hired a high-priced “outside lawyer” for the impeachment hearing — but the Republicans’ lawyer appears to have been paid more this year. (OLIVIER DOULIERY/AFP via Getty Images file photo)

Ahead of the first public impeachment hearing Wednesday, President Donald Trump complained in a tweet about the “high priced outside lawyer” that Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., picked to question witnesses.

There was just one problem: The Republican impeachment lawyer has made more this year.

White House says Trump ‘too busy’ to watch ‘boring’ impeachment hearing
President cared more about Biden probe than corruption in Ukraine, diplomat testifies

President Donald Trump speaks at an event at the White House earlier this year. He said Wednesday he is not watching the first public impeachment hearing. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump — an avid cable news consumer — contended Wednesday he is “too busy” to watch the first public impeachment hearing, but he dismissed it as a made-for-television “hoax.”

The White House-Republican strategy for providing a counter message to testimony from acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent about two quid-pro-quos with Ukraine’s new president orchestrated by Trump began to unfold in the hearing’s first two hours.

Senate and Marines begin Christmas toy drive for disadvantaged kids
Annual Toys for Tots drive runs until Dec. 4

Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, left, and Johnny Isakson of Georgia during last year’s toy drive. (Courtesy U.S. Office of Senate Photography)

The Senate is teaming up with the U.S. Marines for its annual mission to provide Christmas toys for disadvantaged children during the holiday season.

The chamber on Tuesday night unanimously approved a resolution introduced by Sens. Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Jon Tester of Montana that allows the Senate to collect toys for the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots drive.

Chad Wolf sworn in as acting DHS chief
Wolf takes over just hours after Senate confirmed him as undersecretary

Chad Wolf is the fifth person to lead the Department of Homeland Security in less than three years. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Chad Wolf was sworn in Wednesday as acting director of the Department of Homeland Security, the fifth person to head the agency in the Trump administration.

Congressional aides notified by DHS about Wolf's new role confirmed the news to CQ Roll Call.

Intelligence Committee leaders set stage for contentious hearing on Trump impeachment
Schiff comes out in prosecutorial style, while Nunes blasts the process as a sham

William Taylor, the senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, are sworn in to the House Intelligence Committee hearing on the impeachment inquiry of President Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Lawmakers on Wednesday immediately staked out their territory in the opening minutes of the first public impeachment hearing into President Donald Trump's dealings with Ukraine, as witnesses described Kyiv's strategic importance and the threats it faces from Russia.

The opening hours of the hearing kicked off what will almost certainly be several adversarial weeks of testimony over whether the president abused his power by demanding a politically motivated investigation in exchange for U.S. military aid.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 13
Two career diplomats first to offer public testimony, Trump tweets counteroffensive

William Taylor, the senior U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, are sworn in at the House Intelligence Committee hearing. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Two career diplomats who told congressional investigators behind closed doors of their concerns over President Donald Trump’s withholding of military aid to Ukraine and the “irregular channel” in dealing with the country conducted by Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani testified today in the first public hearings in the House’s impeachment investigation.

William Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told investigators in a closed-door deposition in October that Trump used a stalled $400 million aid package to leverage Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and the involvement of his son Hunter Biden in a Ukrainian energy company. And George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, told the committees conducting the investigation in his closed-door deposition that it was his understanding that Trump wanted the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens and whether the country tried to influence the 2016 election.

Live: First public impeachment hearing
William Taylor and George Kent will be the first two people to testify publicly in the House impeachment inquiry

Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, arrives to the Capitol for a deposition related to the House's impeachment inquiry on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call),

Ambassador William Taylor and George Kent will be the first two people to testify publicly in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump on Wednesday.

Taylor, who is slated to testify first, is the acting ambassador in Ukraine and a career diplomat who has served in Republican and Democratic administrations. Kent is the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau.