Highlights and analysis: Day 1 of the public impeachment hearings

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George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, appears alongside Ambassador Bill Taylor during a House Intelligence Committee impeachment inquiry hearing into U.S. President Donald Trump on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., November 13, 2019. Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst.

William Taylor, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, testified today before the House Intelligence Committee. He sat alongside another career State Department official, George Kent.

It was the first day of the public impeachment hearings, in which Democrats tried laying out the case that President Trump wanted Ukranians to launch investigations that would help his reelection in exchange for military aid.

Chairman Adam Schiff opened the hearing by saying, “Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of a country America was to become. A republic, he answered, if you can keep it. The fundamental issue raised by the impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump is: Can we keep it?”

Republican Minority Leader Devin Nunes responded: “This spectacle is doing great damage to our country. It’s nothing more than an impeachment process in search of a crime.” 

Both sides were set on their paths. The Democrats wanted to prove that Trump had corrupt intent. The Republicans wanted to prove that the Democrats were pursuing a politically motivated investigation with no merit.