Transcript for What to watch as public impeachment hearings begin
Okay, Jon Karl, thanks very much. Let's bring in chief legal analyst Dan Abrams and Kate Shaw at Cardoza law school and talk about the witnesses. The Democrats think William Taylor will be their star witness. Both these witnesses will express concern about what they saw at the very least. Taylor even more so. Taylor used the word "Crazy" when he was texting with some of these other diplomats about exactly what was happening here. The question is going to be, do the Republicans try to suggest what Taylor is saying isn't true or are they going to say, it doesn't matter? And I think that's the key distinction here, meaning, it doesn't matter would be he wasn't on the calls, he's unelected. What he thinks shouldn't be is he lying? That would be a separate line of questioning. It is going to be hard to attack his integrity. I think that's right. This is somebody who had 50 years in government service, west point and this is not someone I don't think has sought the spotlight and is testifying at least as we saw in these depositions out of a sense of obligation to speak to what he witnessed and as Dan said, he was deeply troubled. Remember, he's still the number one diplomat in Ukraine and so he had a real on the ground perspective and he was very concerned about what he saw. And, Dan, as we head into this we're starting to see a sharpening of the strategy for the Democrats. We talked a lot about high crimes and misdemeanors being an impeachable offense. What we're hearing from the chairman Schiff, bribery. They don't want it to be this vague abuse of power. People say, what does that mean and is it a crime, et cetera. Not necessarily questions that have to be answered for an impeachment proceeding but a question that the public seems to want answered and so I think the Democrats are trying to crystallize it to say, let me be specific about what the allegation is here. The allegation is that the president was holding up money that he wasn't really even permitted to hold up because it was approved by congress and he was doing it in exchange for something of value to him. And they really are going to want to keep hitting that again and again with someone like Taylor. Now, remember, there's also kept who will be testifying today and I think one of the most underreported things about Kent's testimony, he believes that trump's position on Ukraine changed after talking to Putin. He testified that he talked to Putin and the prime minister of Hungary and after those conversations, that trump's position towards Ukraine became much more aggressive. And the question, Kate, is how will the Republicans choose to defend against this? It looks like the white house will call it an entirely partisan process. Any other good defenses? They can focus on the procedure and say the president hasn't been given sufficient opportunity to respond, that the Republican witnesses aren't being called, at least all the witnesses they would like. The president was withholding witnesses as well. That's one of the holes in that and could say, look, this military aid at the heart of this was ultimately released so kind of no harm, no foul but I'm not sure that's a very strong argument either. If this plot was thwarted, the plot is the problem so the ultimate release of the aid, I'm not sure, provides a complete I think they're still searching for it. They'll say these two guys never talked to the president. And, Dan Abrams, Kate Shaw, I know you'll both join us later this morning. It starts at 10 eastern on ABC and ABC news live.
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