Transcript for Witnesses in impeachment inquiry to testify in public hearings
Good evening and it's great to have you with us on a very busy Wednesday night. And we begin tonight with the impeachment showdown about to play out in front of millions. The first televised hearings now set. Ail Monge the first witnesses, bill Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, whose previous testimony dehind closed doors was made public just today. The American people will also hear from former ambassador Marie yovanovitch, who sa says she was the target of a smear campaign. And when this asked one of the president's hand-picked ambassadors for advice, she said it was suggested she send out a tweet praising president trump. Well, now the American people will hear from them and decide for themselves, and ABC's Mary Bruce leads us off from the hill. Reporter: Today, Democrats announcing they're taking their case directly to the American people, calling key witnesses to testify before television cameras starting next week. So, those open hearings will be an opportunity for the American people to evaluate the witnesses for themselves. But also to learn first hand about the facts of the president's misconduct. Reporter: First up, bill Taylor, the top American diplomat in Ukraine. Democrats think he's their strongest witness. Today, they released his closed door testimony showing why. Taylor told lawmakers president trump outsourced America's Ukraine policy to his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. He testified it was his "Clear understanding" that Ukraine would not received nearly $400 million in key military aide until they agreed to investigate the president's political rivals. Taylor said he was initially confused about why the money was being withheld, and grew so concerned he sent a rare cable to the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo. It was Pompeo who personally asked Taylor, a career diplomat and Vietnam veteran, to take the post in Ukraine. Hey, everybody makes mistakes. I -- Mike Pompeo, everybody makes mistakes. Reporter: Also testifying next week, former Ukrainian ambassador Marie yovanovitch. She told lawmakers she was the target of a smear campaign led by Giuliani, and that she reached out to the president's ambassador to the eu, Gordon sondland for help. His advice? "You need to go big or go home. Tweet out there that you support the president." But yovanovitch refused, and was later removed from her post. She testified that she felt "Threatened" after learning trump told the Ukrainian president she was "Bad news" and was "Going to go through some things." In the face of mounting evidence, Republicans on defense. There are perfectly appropriate quid pro quos and there are inappropriate quid pro quos. Hold on, we have mark meadows right here. Congressman meadows, can we talk -- so, he's walking by right now. But Republicans are really struggling to defend -- I'm not struggling on anything. Okay, so -- The Republicans are not struggling on anything. Mary Bruce live from the hill tonight, and Mary, Republicans say they're not struggling, but tonight, the white house is beefing up its team to handle the impeachment inquiry? Reporter: The white house may be dismissing these hearings, but they know they need a better strategy to push back against them. So, the white house is adding two people to their team, who the president personally knows and trusts to defend him. It's something that Republicans here on the hill have been asking for. All right, Mary Bruce on the hill leading us off. Mary, thank you.
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