It’s Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2019. Let’s start here.
1. Taylor-made testimony
In the first public hearing of the impeachment battle, William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, a senior State Department official, testified that President Donald Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine and pressured the country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden.
Taylor also revealed that one of his staff members overheard a phone call with Trump and Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland the day after Trump’s July phone call with the Ukrainian president.
The revelation marked a new development in the impeachment probe that Democrats have seized on, according to ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce on “Start Here” today: “The president, it seems, was trying to follow up and ask whether Ukraine was going to follow through on those investigations that he was demanding.”
2. Trump’s response
The president denied Taylor’s new claim of a phone call during a joint press conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
“You’re talking about the witch hunt?… I hear it’s a joke,” President Trump says when asked about his reaction to the impeachment hearing.
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) November 14, 2019
“I know nothing about that. First time I’ve heard it,” he said, adding that the account was “second-hand” information and reiterating there was “no quid pro quo.”
ABC News White House Correspondent Karen Travers breaks down how the White House says it is handling the ongoing impeachment hearings: “They’re going to have this robust, rapid response operation ready to go and react in real time to all of the testimony over the next couple of weeks. And this is interesting because we had heard for many weeks … we don’t need a war room because the president did nothing wrong.”
3. What’s next?
Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed from her post, is set to testify on Friday, the same day Taylor’s staffer, who allegedly heard Trump’s call with Sondland, is scheduled to meet with lawmakers behind closed doors.
More public hearings are expected in the coming weeks, but it remains unclear if any minds were changed at the end of this first historic hearing, ABC News World News Tonight anchor David Muir tells the podcast.
“There are a lot of predictions about how this could go, but I don’t think we know how this ends,” he says.
“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.
‘Illegal aliens are gaming our asylum’: Chad Wolf was confirmed as the new acting secretary of Homeland Security on Wednesday, as a high rate of turnover continues to disrupt the agency’s top ranks with several recent leaders serving mainly in temporary roles.
‘Exceptionally important questions’: A federal appeals court in Washington, D.C., again upheld a district court ruling granting Congress access to President Donald Trump’s tax records, teeing off a likely battle to settle the matter in the Supreme Court.
‘A significant amount of money’: Federal authorities unsealed an indictment Wednesday alleging that an international criminal organization led by three brothers ripped off Apple to the tune of about $6 million by importing 10,000 counterfeit iPhones and iPads from China.
From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:
The FiveThirtyEight crew takes an in-depth look at what went down on Day 1 of the impeachment hearings Wednesday.
Doff your cap:
On a night where country music paid tribute to its female stars, Ashley McBryde won New Artist of the Year and Maren Morris won the prestigious Album of the Year award, at the 53rd Annual CMA Awards Wednesday in Nashville.
The event, carried live on ABC, included performances by co-hosts Carrie Underwood, Reba McEntire and Dolly Parton, as well as appearances by Tanya Tucker, Gretchen Wilson, Crystal Gayle, Terri Clark, Sara Evans and Martina McBride, among others.
“We’re doing it for all the little girls watching tonight,” McEntire said of the special performances.