Ambassador and all around bad bitch Marie Yovanovich
Ambassador and all around bad bitch Marie Yovanovich. Getty Images

Nothing like waking up in the middle of the night (6 AM) to watch lawmakers talk about dick pics in Congress.

That, indeed, is how Friday’s impeachment hearings started, with Republican Rep. Devin Nunes (who looks strangely like Steve Carrell on a chubby day) claiming that Democrats are looking for “nude photos” of the President. What “nude photos” these might be, he didn’t specify, but this is not the first time Nunes has made this particular allegation: He mentioned them two days ago as well, at the start of the impeachment hearings, and at a Congressional hearing in September, he said, “Democrats on this very committee negotiated with people who they thought were Ukrainians in order to obtain nude pictures of Trump.” Maybe he’s talking about the piss tape? I’m not sure why Nunes keeps bringing up Trump’s nudes unless he's trying to get a copy for himself.

As for the hearings, they began as you'd expect: Democrat Adam Schiff said the President is corrupt, Republican Nunes said no, it’s Democrats who are corrupt, and Ambassador Marie Yovanovich, the star of the show, was steady, measured, and impressive. And, naturally, the President tried to steal attention away from the hearings by releasing the transcript of his first, totally irrelevant call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky at the precise moment the hearings started. (It didn’t work.)

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During the beginning of her testimony, Yovanovich spoke of the smear campaign allegedly orchestrated by the President and his allies after she pushed back against his plan to get Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden and his son. She was suddenly removed in April, when she was ordered to return to Washington “on the next plane." When she was back in the U.S., she says she learned from State Department officials that Trump had been trying to remove her for months.

None of this is hard to believe: Trump using his power in the service of his political or financial aims is about as shocking as the fact that he watches Dancing with Stars. It’s almost self-evident at this point. But there was one moment that I, at least, hadn’t heard about before: Yovanovich said that she learned she was being ordered back to Washington while she was hosting an event honoring Kateryna Handzyuk, a Ukranian anti-corruption activist who was killed in an acid attack. It is still unclear who ordered that Ukranian woman to be murdered with acid. During the event honoring that woman, Yovanovich was told there were “concerns about her safety” and ordered back to DC immediately. She later found out the President of the United States had said she was “going to go through some things," which she quite understandably interpreted as a threat.

They just called a recess, but we will have more updates as the questioning gets underway again.

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