On Air Now

Listen Now

Weather

clear-night
48°
Partly Cloudy
H 66° L 43°
  • clear-night
    48°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 66° L 43°
  • cloudy-day
    65°
    Afternoon
    Partly Cloudy. H 66° L 43°
  • cloudy-day
    59°
    Evening
    Mostly Cloudy. H 68° L 55°

Jamie Dupree's Washington Insider

    In what may be a final day of public impeachment hearings by the House Intelligence Committee, a former National Security Council official said she shared her concerns about the work in Ukraine of President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, recalling she had warned officials the effort would lead to trouble. 'I did say to Ambassador Sondland, Gordon, I think this is all going to blow up,' Hill said. 'And here we are.' Repeating a warning from her former boss at the Trump White House, ex-National Security Adviser John Bolton, Hill quoted Bolton say saying 'Giuliani was a hand grenade that was going blow everyone up.” In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Hill criticized the interest inside the White House in Giuliani's efforts to press Ukraine to start investigations into Hunter Biden, and GOP questions about interference in the 2016 elections by Ukraine, deriding it as a 'domestic political errand.' In testifying about Giuliani's back channel work in Ukraine, Hill described how she confronted U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland about the two-track diplomatic efforts on Ukraine, complaining that Sondland was not keeping her in the loop on his work - and then predicting it would cause problems. Hill said she made much the same prediction to her former boss, Bolton, saying the Giuliani effort would 'backfire' on the White House. 'The story line he was promoting, the narrative he was promoting was going to backfire,' Hill said. 'I think it has backfired.' In her appearance, Hill also agreed with the testimony of Sondland on Wednesday, in which he said Giuliani was pressing a quid pro quo - trading a White House meeting for the new leader of Ukraine for investigations sought by President Trump. The hearing also featured testimony from a U.S. official in the American embassy in Ukraine, David Holmes, who overheard a phone call between Sondland and President Trump. 'The President's voice was loud and recognizable,' Holmes said, telling lawmakers that Sondland actually held the phone away from his ear and winced at the volume from Mr. Trump. In that call, Holmes said he clearly heard the President ask Sondland if Ukraine was going to announce investigations sought by the President about the Bidens, Burisma, and the allegations of interference by Ukraine in the 2016 elections. “I then heard President Trump ask, 'so he's going to do the investigation?'” Holmes recounted.  “Ambassador Sondland replied, 'he's going to do it,'” Holmes added. Republicans tangled with Holmes several times over his story. At one point in the GOP questions to Holmes, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-TX) requested the Foreign Service Officer declare that he would never reveal the details of such a high level call in the future. 'I think it was Gordon Sondland who showed indiscretion by having that conversation over a public phone line,' Holmes said. Earlier, Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH) rebuked Holmes for revealing portions of the Trump-Sondland call, where Sondland told Mr. Trump that the leader of Ukraine 'loves your ass.' Turner said it was embarrassing to President Zelensky; Holmes defended his actions, calling Zelensky a 'Ukrainian patriot.' You can find more coverage of Thursday's impeachment hearing at this link. 
  • A three day, nine witness impeachment hearing blitz comes to a conclusion on Thursday, as lawmakers will hear from a former Russia expert on the National Security Council, and a Foreign Service Officer who currently works at the U.S. embassy in Ukraine, as Republicans and Democrats continue to consume these proceedings like people living on different planets. After Wednesday's testimony with Ambassador Gordon Sondland, this session will feature Fiona Hill, who worked on the National Security Council until this July, and David Holmes, who overheard Sondland's phone conversation with President Trump, in which Mr. Trump reportedly asked about Ukraine announcing investigations sought by the President. Here's the latest on the impeachment hearings: - 4:20 pm.  The hearing is over.  Here's my story. 4:15 pm.  As Rep. Adam Schiff D-CA ends this impeachment hearing, he appeals for Republicans to look at the evidence, and support this effort to remove President Trump from office.  'Where is Howard Baker?' Schiff asked, reaching back to Watergate, and invoking the GOP Senator from Tennessee who asked the famous question, 'What did the President know and when did he know it?' 3:20 pm.  GOP lawmakers continue to go after Holmes, and he continues to stand his ground on the Sondland-Trump phone call. At one point, Rep. Mike Conaway R-TX demanded that Holmes never talk in the future about calls like the Sondland-Trump call. Holmes fired back, saying that Sondland should not have held the call in public like he did, and defended going up the chain of command to report it. 2:50 pm.  It's always good to have a bit of levity at a hearing like this.   2:25 pm. Unlike Jordan and Ratcliffe, Rep Mike Turner R-OH doesn't give Holmes a chance to answer his criticism, accusing Holmes of using 'anecdotal' evidence about the Sondland-Trump call to embarrass the Ukraine leader 2:15 pm.  It's been a very interesting last half hour.  GOP lawmakers have tried to undercut the testimony of Holmes about the Sondland-Trump phone call - but Holmes has held his own. 1:45 pm.   The 45 minutes are up for the GOP.  Fiona Hill forcefully pushed back on a series of GOP lines of questioning, as she bluntly said there was no reason to have anyone in the White House involved in the Giuliani effort in Ukraine, which she labeled a 'domestic political errand' 1:10 pm.  The White House has provided a statement on today's hearing denouncing the proceedings.  As you read this statement, one should remember that the White House has prevented a number of officials from testifying before this investigation. 1:00 pm.  The hearing has resumed with Republicans asking 45 minutes of questions. Rep. Nunes starts by asking Hill & Holmes if they met with Alexander Chalupa, Nellie Ohr, Bruce Ohr, or Glenn Simpson.  All 'no' answers.  Then, Nunes pressed Hill on the Steele Dossier.  She says she was sent a copy of it a day before it was published by BuzzFeed in early January of 2017. 12:30 pm.  The hearing won't resume for about another 30 minutes.  Various photographers are using their expensive equipment to stake out their spots. 11:05 am. The 45 minutes of questions are now over, and there is a break, with House votes coming soon. My best guess? The hearing does not resume for another 60-90 minutes. 10:50 am. Meanwhile, Giuliani's name keeps coming up repeatedly. Fiona Hill recounts her conversation with John Bolton, who said of Giuliani and his work in Ukraine:  'Rudy Giuliani was a hand grenade that was going to blow everyone up.' Hill finishes by saying, 'that's where we are today.' 10:40 am.  More from Holmes on the Trump phone call.  Holmes said, “I've never seen anything like this in my foreign service career.”  10:25 am.  Fiona Hill makes a very direct jab at Republicans over the issue of people trying to switch the blame for 2016 election interference to Ukraine, and away from Russia.  It should spark some interesting Q&A with the GOP. 10:15 am.  Here is the video of Holmes talking about the Sondland-Trump phone call. 10:05 am.  Holmes has been going for almost 40 minutes.  A big chunk of his testimony was describing how he overheard Sondland talking on the phone with President Trump, as they sat at a table at a restaurant in Kyiv. 9:50 am. In his testimony, Holmes is going through familiar testimony that Rudy Giuliani was pressing Ukraine for investigations sought by President Trump. Holmes backs up the quid pro quo assertion of Sondland that Giuliani was conditioning a White House visit on those probes. 9:25 am. Schiff and Nunes give their opening statements. Nunes starts by calling the hearings 'bizarre' and denounces what he labels a 'carousel of accusations' against the President 9:10 am.  The hearing has started a few minutes late.  There will be a break at some point for votes on the House floor later this morning.  The House and Senate are ready to leave town today for a Thanksgiving break.  At this point, we don't know when the next public impeachment hearing will be scheduled by this panel - or if there will be another. 8:55 am.  Fiona Hill's opening statement is out.  The Russia expert has a message aimed at Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. 8:40 am.  President Trump has no public events on his schedule until 3:30 pm.  He has been on Twitter expressing his frustration with the impeachment investigation. 8:15 am.  I'm back in the room at the Ways and Means Committee.  Reporters are arriving a bit more slowly today.  But the still photographers are already here staking out their spots from the initial photos as the witnesses arrive for testimony. 7:50 am.  The morning papers on the front step about the impeachment hearings.   7:45 am.  If you missed the end of the Gordon Sondland hearing on Wednesday, members of the public audience gave him a standing ovation, and extended applause as he left the hearing room.  There was a similar reaction last Friday for ex-Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. 7:30 am.  The news from the evening hearing evidently did not sit well with Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), as more than an hour after the hearing ended, Jordan tweeted out his skepticism about Cooper's testimony, and the discovery of her staff. 7:25 am.  The day after the July 25 phone call, a group of top U.S. officials gathered in Washington to meet about military aid to Ukraine.  The number three official in the State Department testified last night that a White House budget official made clear aid to Ukraine was on hold - under orders from the President. 7:15 am. The biggest piece of news to come out of last night's impeachment hearing was about when Ukraine officials found out that U.S. aid was being delayed.  Pentagon official Laura Cooper said her staff had uncovered emails which showed Ukraine embassy officials in Washington asking what was going on with U.S. aid money.  Those emails were sent on - July 25.  Why is that important? That's the same day President Trump had his phone call with the leader of Ukraine. 7:00 am. If you missed the Sondland hearing on Wednesday, you missed one of the more unique hearings in some time on Capitol Hill.  Sondland sharpened his previous testimony, accusing Rudy Giuliani of a quid pro quo in which he pressed Ukraine to announce investigations backed by President Trump, in exchange for a White House meeting with the President.   When the hearing began, the top Republican said Sondland would be smeared - presumably by Democrats.  But it was GOP lawmakers who scrapped with the Ambassador over his testimony, where he all but said that President Trump had ordered a hold on aid to Ukraine, in order to get the government to announce investigations of Hunter Biden, and the conspiracy theory that Ukraine - and not Russia - had interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections. Here is a link to Sondland's testimony.
  • Ambassador Gordon Sondland drew stern rebukes from Republican lawmakers on Wednesday as he told impeachment hearings that President Donald Trump's personal lawyer had made clear that in order for the new leader of Ukraine to get a White House meeting with the President, then Ukraine would have to announce investigations sought by Mr. Trump. 'Mr. Giuliani's requests were a quid pro quo,' Sondland said, as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union said it became clear to him that the President ultimately had been holding up military aid to Ukraine to leverage those same investigations as well. 'We did not want to work with Mr. Giuliani,' Sondland added. While Sondland repeatedly acknowledged that no one - including President Trump - had told him the aid for Ukraine was tied to any investigations wanted by Mr. Trump, the Ambassador said he ultimatley felt that was the bottom line. 'That was my presumption,' Sondland said. Seemingly caught off guard by Sondland's testimony - which more sharply alleged that there was a clear effort to condition aid to Ukraine for a series of investigations than his previous deposition testimony - Republicans ultimately took the gloves off, and took after the President's own ambassador. 'You really have no testimony today that ties President Trump to a scheme to withhold aid from Ukraine in exchange for these investigations,' said Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH). 'Other than my own presumption,' Sondland interjected, further aggravating Turner, his voice growing more strident by the minute. 'Do you know what hearsay evidence is ambassador?' Turner asked. 'Do you know what made up testimony is?' GOP lawmakers mocked Sondland's earlier statement that he presumed the aid-for-investigations effort was true, when he said he realized 'two plus two equals four.' 'Two presumptions plus two presumptions does not equal even one fact,' said Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH). Earlier, GOP counsel Stephen Castor sought to undercut Sondland's testimony, rattling off a series of items which Sondland did not have to back up his presumption. 'You don't have records, you don't have notes, because you didn't take notes, you don't have a lot of recollections,' Castor said.  'I mean, this is like the trifecta of unreliability, isn't that true?' Castor asked, who did not gain the agreement of Sondland.  'What I'm trying to do today is use the information I have to be as forthcoming as possible,' said Sondland. Republicans also complained openly to Sondland about why he did not use a quote from the President - which Sondland had used in a text message - denying any kind of quid pro quo. 'Do you know what a quid pro quo is?' asked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), who said Sondland should have made that one of the first items in his lengthy opening statement. Ironically, at the start of the hearing, the top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), warned the Oregon hotel developer that he faced a difficult day. 'Ambassador Sondland, you are going to be smeared,' Nunes declared. But the roughest treatment for Sondland actually came from the GOP, and not from Democrats. Here is the link to my live updates on today's hearing.
  • After hearing Tuesday from three people who listened in on President Trump's July 25 phone call with the leader of Ukraine, lawmakers will take testimony from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who helped to coordinate efforts in Ukraine with President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. Sondland will certainly have to address a phone call he supposedly made from a restaurant in Ukraine - on an unsecured cell phone - where he spoke to President Trump, who made clear he wanted to know if Ukraine was going to announce it had started investigations into the Bidens, and a 2016 conspiracy theory that Ukraine - and not Russia - had hacked Democrats during the elections. “Ambassador Sondland is a big personality,” said former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, who testified a day earlier. Follow along with developments here: - 8:00 pm.  While the hearing is over, there is now an extra session in which Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee are voting down a variety of requests from Republicans for subpoenas of Hunter Biden, the whistleblower, and others. 7:25 pm. Here's the headlines from tonight's hearing so far: + New emails show Ukraine embassy asked on July 25 what was going on with military aid + State Dept official says at a July 26 meeting OMB said the President had directed a delay on that aid. Trump-Zelensky call was July 25. 7:00 pm.  Here is the video of Hale's testimony with respect to the July 26 meeting where an OMB official said the President had authorized a hold on the military aid for Ukraine. 6:55 pm.  One of the GOP arguments is that Ukraine did not know the military aid was on hold. But it's clear that the July 25 Trump-Zelensky phone call had the Kyiv government concerned. 6:45 pm.  While this is a fairly dry hearing which reminds me of covering a regular Congressional oversight hearing, there have been some kernels of news.  Along with Cooper's statement, Hale says at an interagency meeting on July 26, officials were told that military aid was on hold “because the President had so directed through the Acting Chief of Staff.' 6:10 pm. Cooper says her Pentagon staff found a series of emails in which there were concerns relayed by Ukraine officials about why military aid was on hold. Two of the emails were sent to State Dept on July 25. That was the same day President Trump spoke with the Ukraine leader. 5:40 pm.  After almost a two hour break, the second hearing is underway.  Pentagon official Laura Cooper and State Department official David Hale are testifying. 3:45 pm.  The hearing has ended.  There was prolonged applause for Sondland as he left the room. 3:15 pm.  Sondland says it would have been better for a Trump-Zelensky meeting to take place without conditions, saying he thought their chemistry would have been very good, describing the Ukraine leader as smart, funny, and charming. 3:10 pm.  The GOP frustration grows with Sondland at this hearing.  Rep. Jim Jordan R-OH to Sondland: 'You said there were three quid pro quos but there weren't.' 2:20 pm.  It's now open season on Sondland from the Republican side.  Rep. Mike Turner R-OH blasted Sondland, calling his testimony 'confusing' and 'somewhat circular.'  Turner was followed by Rep. Brad Wenstrup R-OH, who rebuked Sondland as well.  House Republicans moved quickly to get the Turner Q&A out on social media. 2:00 pm.  Rep. Jim Jordan R-OH echoes earlier GOP complaints to Sondland about why he didn't use a quote from the President in today's opening statement where Mr. Trump denied any quid pro quo. 1:50 pm.  Giuliani tweeted something about Sondland at 12:29 pm, and then deleted it.  Now, about an hour later, he has re-posted the same tweet.  Not clear what changed, or what was wrong with the original missive. 1:40 pm.  Sondland is back.  The White House has just issued a statement on his testimony, pushing back on his 'quid pro quo' assertions. 1:09 pm.  The committee is taking a break for lunch.  Republicans had so little to offer between Nunes and Castor that they did not use their full 30 minutes. 1:05 pm.   Giuliani has already deleted his 12:29 pm tweet about Sondland's testimony. 12:50 pm.  Rep. Devin Nunes R-CA has again been making the GOP point today that President Trump clearly had a reason to be mad at Ukraine over what happened in 2016. One of the things which happened was the downfall of his campaign manager, Paul Manafort. 12:35 pm.   Democrats clearly feel today's testimony has played in their favor.  12:30 pm.  Giuliani joins the President in downplaying the role of Sondland. 12:15 pm.  The GOP effort to counter Sondland is to say that he has no evidence to back up his assertions. 12:00 pm.  Here are the comments by President Trump about Sondland as he left the White House today. 11:45 am. The GOP response in the hearing (and outside) is that President Trump never directly told Sondland to do anything. Q: The President never told you about pre-conditions for a White House meeting. Sondland: 'Personally, no.' 11:30 am.  President Trump is now 45 minutes behind schedule for his departure from the White House.  He is headed today to Texas. 11:25 am.  Nunes starts the GOP time by focusing not on anything Sondland said in his testimony so far today, focusing on Republican allegations that Ukraine was 'out to get him' during the 2016 elections. First question from Nunes on this line. Sondland: 'I am not aware of it.' Nunes keeps going with more. Sondland: 'I am not aware of it.' 11:20 am.  During the break, Democrats went to the TV cameras stationed outside.   11:15 am.  Again in this impeachment hearing process, viewers on Fox News are getting some different messages. 11:00 am.  A light moment in the hearing, as Sondland says he and President Trump tend to communicate with words that probably aren't for kids. 10:47 am.  On the Drudge Report.  It's not the greatest of headlines for the President on what's usually a favorable website. 10:45 am. Sondland said the President and Giuliani wanted Ukraine to publicly announce the Burisma / Bidens / Crowdstrike-2016 investigations. But Sondland says that doesn't mean Ukraine actually had to undertake the investigations. 10:35 am.  Critics of the President in Congress say the testimony today from Sondland is a big, big deal. 10:20 am. Sondland says Secretary of State Pompeo was up to date with the Giuliani/Trump efforts all along. Sondland says he raised the delay in aid with Vice President Pence on September 1.  10:15 am.  Sondland has finished with his opening statement.  There is a lot of explosive testimony there, especially Sondland saying that 'everyone was in the loop' about the President seeking investigations from Ukraine. 10:05 am.  Was there a quid pro quo involving Ukraine?  Sondland says, in one sense, the answer is yes. 10:00 am.  Sondland says he was surprised to see the rough transcript of the July 25 call the President had with the leader of Ukraine, because he had not been told about the fact that President Trump mentioned investigations related to Biden/Burisma/Crowdstrike in the call. 9:50 am.  Sondland repeatedly says that State Department officials wanted no part of Giuliani being involved in diplomatic work.  But the President did.  So, they had to play the hand they were dealt (Sondland's description). 9:40 am.  Democrats immediately seize on the 'quid pro quo' description by Sondland.   9:27 am.  Sondland uses the term “quid pro quo” to describe what was going on at three different points in his prepared testimony. 9:25 am.  Sondland will also show that Vice President Pence was in that loop as well. 9:20 am.  Sondland says multiple times - “Everyone was in the loop.” 9:15 am.  Sondland says it has been difficult to come up with answers because the White House and State Department have not helped him get documents and phone records. 9:10 am.  The hearing is underway.  Sondland's statement is going to provide some interesting moments in questioning from both parties.  Here is the Ambassador's recount of the July 26 unsecured cell call to President Trump from a restaurant in Kyiv. 9:00 am - The opening statement of Sondland is now available at the following link. 8:40 am.  Someone asked me on Facebook what the advantage is of actually being in the hearing room.  In one way, it is being a witness to history.  But not seeing the TV feed could put you at a disadvantage, as many others watch every facial twitch, frown, and smile on the faces of the witnesses and lawmakers.   When I got here into the room this morning, I found the still photographers had taken my power plug spot, and a TV crew has taken my audio feed. So, I had to deal with that, and switch things around. If I were back in my booth in either the House or Senate side of the Capitol, everything would be just fine. I could stand, go to the bathroom, have lunch,  etc.  Here is my “view” of the dais. 8:10 am.  The folks at Fox and Friends do not buy the testimony that President Trump talks loud and could be overheard on his cell phone. 8:00 am.  A reminder of the testimony so far, is that Sondland called up President Trump from a restaurant in Ukraine, and spoke to him on an unsecured cell phone.  In that call, US embassy staffer David Holmes testified that he could easily hear the President's voice, and hear what was being discussed with Sondland - investigations - which Mr. Trump wanted from the Ukraine government. The Holmes testimony can be found at this link. 7:50 am.  The Sondland phone call with President Trump is going to get a lot of attention today - and rightfully so. 7:45 am.  Most readers probably know Sondland's name from the impeachment / Ukraine controversy, but don't really know all of the details.  There's some interesting stuff which has GOP lawmakers a bit uneasy, because the script today may not be that obvious at first. 7:35 am.  It's not just Gordon Sondland testifying today, starting at 9 am.  And there is another hearing on Thursday.  Like Tuesday, it would be no surprise for me if the hearings are still going at 8 pm - which is when the Democratic debate in Atlanta is set to begin.  That would a split screen political Super Bowl.
  • At the same time one of President Donald Trump's National Security Council staffers testified before Congress on Tuesday, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman found himself taking social media flak from the official White House Twitter account, and from aides to the who also work with Vindman at the White House complex. 'I don't know what the President was thinking,' was one of a series of quotes from Vindman tweeted out by the White House, part of a GOP effort to argue against impeachment hearings led by Democrats in the House. Vindman's testimony represented the first time witnesses had publicly discussed what they heard in a July 25 phone call between President Trump and the leader of Ukraine, where President Trump pressed Ukraine to open up a pair of investigations which could help Mr. Trump politically. 'Frankly, I couldn't believe what I was hearing,' said Vindman, who answered most of the questions, and was challenged the most by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee. 'It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and a political opponent,' Vindman said. The other witness, Jennifer Williams, a State Department foreign policy expert who is currently detailed as an adviser for the staff of Vice President Mike Pence, also expressed her concerns. 'I found the July 25th phone call unusual,' Williams said in her testimony. 'It was the first time I had heard internally the president reference particular investigations that previously I had only heard about through Mr. Giuliani's press interviews,' Williams added. While Vindman found himself a Twitter target today, Williams had experienced that on Sunday, when the President loudly objected to her characterization of the Ukraine phone call, accusing her of being a 'Never Trumper.' 'It certainly surprised me,' Williams said. 'I was not expecting to be called out by name.' Maybe the most contentious part of the morning hearing came as Republicans sought to find out who Vindman told of the July 25 phone call, as GOP lawmakers moved to undercut Vindman's work on the National Security Council, which dovetailed with the message of the White House. Republicans said Vindman had puffed up his responsibilities, and jumped on his admission that he had never met with President Trump. 'You've never met the President of the United States, right?' asked Rep. Mike Turner (R-OH). 'That is correct,' Vindman said. 'So, you have never advised the President of the United States on Ukraine,' Turner added, part of a GOP push to downplay Vindman's role on Ukraine policy. Those type of responses netted a series of posts from the White House on Twitter during the hearing. The hearing also featured some exchanges of note regarding the Ukraine whistleblower, as it was clear Republicans believe Vindman notified someone in the Intelligence Community about the July 25 call who may have relayed that information to the whistleblower. 'I do not know who the whistleblower is,' Vindman said at one point, but he refused to name the official he briefed soon after the July 25 call, saying the person was in a 'need to know' situation. Republicans were not pleased. 'You're here to answer questions, and you're hear under subpoena,' said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA). But heeding a ruling from Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Vindman refused to say whom he briefed on the call. GOP lawmakers also came close to accusing Vindman of being a leaker as well. 'Colonel, you never leaked information?' asked Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH). 'I never did, never would, that is preposterous that I would do that,' Vindman replied. You can find a more detailed review of this morning's hearing at this link.
  • With nine witnesses scheduled in the next three days, the U.S. House Impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump will delve further into questions of how the President pressed the leader of Ukraine to start politically charged investigations, as lawmakers will hear Tuesday morning from two people who raised concerns about the May 25 call between the two leaders. Tuesday's four witnesses - two in the morning - two more in the afternoon - will serve as the setup for what could be an explosive day on Wednesday morning, as U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland is set to testify, after days of reports brimming with new details about his conversations with President Trump regarding U.S. aid to Ukraine, and the President's desire for Ukraine to start investigations sought by Mr. Trump. Check back on this live blog through the day for the latest from the House Intelligence Committee. - 8:30 pm. And after over 11 hours, the hearings are adjourned. We will be back in the morning for Gordon Sondland. His name was mentioned so many times today. 7:30 pm.  Rep. Swalwell D-CA presses Morrison over the President asking for investigations of the Bidens.  Swalwell uses a line that Republicans have used on witnesses - that they don't make foreign policy, but President Trump does. Morrison says he heard the President ask Ukraine to investigate the Bidens; Morrison says he never asked Ukraine to do the same. Swalwell basically says you aren't supposed to be making foreign policy. 7:20 pm.  Volker has had to acknowledge several times that he just didn't understand exactly what Giuliani was getting at - which was investigating the Bidens and the debunked conspiracy theory of Ukraine interfering in the 2016 elections. 7:00 pm.  Volker says he tried to get Rudy Giuliani to tone down the demand for the Ukraine government to specifically promise certain investigations sought by President Trump, Giuliani did not embrace the idea, saying Ukraine had to mention Burisma/Hunter Biden and the 2016 election.  Volker said a written statement was dropped, and may have been replaced by the idea of an interview by the leader of Ukraine on CNN instead, though that never happened.  “The messages conveyed by Giuliani were a problem,” Volker said. 6:40 pm.  Rep. Devin Nunes R-CA has several times today called these proceedings a 'drug deal.'  The irony is that the phrase 'drug deal' in the Ukraine investigation came from former Trump National Security Adviser John Bolton, who told subordinates to stay away from the actions of Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine, with regard to issues of investigations sought by President Trump. 6:30 pm. Schiff pressing Morrison over why he went to NSC lawyers after the July 25 call. Morrison said he was worried about the call leaking - but didn't think there was anything wrong with the call.  Democrats say that's hard to square. 6:15 pm. Morrison testifies that he kept a close eye on Gordon Sondland's work re: Ukraine, and did not embrace push on investigations requested by President Trump from Ukraine.  It's clear right now that Sondland's testimony on Wednesday morning could be very interesting. 5:55 pm.  During the break, Rep. Mark Meadows R-NC was talking with reporters, a normal kind of thing.  C-SPAN has lots of cameras here, so they popped into the scrum as well.   That was going out live - when Meadows says he wants to go off the record.  That doesn't work when there is a live broadcast. 5:45 pm.  The committee is taking one more break.  Next up are questions from lawmakers on the panel.  This isn't scientific, but most of the talk right now around the hearing room is about testimony tomorrow of Gordon Sondland.  Volker and Morrison have not been as interesting as Vindman and Williams this morning. 5:25 pm.  Volker was supposedly going to be a GOP witness.  But his testimony on the 'investigations' isn't exactly what the White House might want to hear.  Volker says he saw nothing credible about the various conspiracy theories (Crowdstrike, etc) that Ukraine interfered in the US elections in 2016 - those have been embraced by President Trump. 5:15 pm. The last half hour has reinforced what Democrats have often been arguing, that Rudy Giuliani's work in Ukraine to stir up various conspiracy theories, which resulted in President Trump asking for investigations by the Ukraine government, had stalled US-Ukraine relations.  “We had gotten nowhere,” Volker said. 4:45 pm.  Morrison continues to give the Democratic counsel answers which Democrats will be pleased to talk about. For example, Morrison says he went to NSC lawyers after phone calls with Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland in September, which made clear (to Morrison) that the aid to Ukraine was being held back while waiting on the investigations asked for by the President in July. 4:30 pm.  Morrison has been talked about a lot by GOP lawmakers today, especially as a way to push back against Vindman from this morning.  But watching and listening to Morrison here in the hearing room, he seems a bit uncomfortable in this setting.   Volker does not. 4:15 pm.  As he talks repeatedly about the issues surrounding Ukraine and President Trump, Volker keeps referring to 'conspiracy theories' pressed by Giuliani which filtered down to President Trump.  Volker quoted the President as saying he was hearing bad things about Ukraine's government from Giuliani. 4:00 pm.  Volker is certainly not going to see his testimony tweeted out by the White House. 3:55 pm.  Kurt Volker testifies that he struggled to get President Trump to set a meeting with the leader of Ukraine, blaming it on a deeply negative view of Ukraine, which was fueled by information coming from the President's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani. 3:35 pm.  Tim Morrison testifies first.   He has a very short statement, and is testifying in a voice that is hard to hear.  He's going to get a lot of attention today from GOP lawmakers, who have used his deposition to try to undercut Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. 3:25 pm.  The gavel has sounded, as the hearings are getting underway again.  The witnesses today are former National Security Council official Tim Morrison, and Kurt Volker, an ex-US special envoy to Ukraine. 2:30 pm.  The afternoon hearing was originally set to start by now, but because of the House floor schedule, the afternoon part of the impeachment hearings may not begin until around 3:15 pm.  And depending on what happens on the floor, it could slip further.  In the meantime, many photographers have left their cameras by the witness table, staking out their spots. 2:00 pm.  Judging from the tweets by the White House, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman might need to find a new place of employment, rather than the National Security Council.  And that might go for his brother, too. 1:40 pm.  Part one of today's hearing is over.  The next two witnesses, Kurt Volker and Tim Morrison are scheduled to start testifying at 2:30 pm. 1:25 pm.  Vindman works at the White House.  The official White House Twitter account has already had one post about him today - and now another.  1:22 pm.  Asked again about the July 25 Trump-Ukraine call, Vindman said, 'Frankly, I couldn't believe what I was hearing.' He said he immediately reported it to the NSC lawyer because it 'was my duty.'   Some applause after that line of questioning finished. 1:10 pm.  One interesting note about that line of questions from the GOP.  Vindman says the NSC lawyer told him not to talk to anyone about the call - not immediately - but later, after Vindman raised red flags.  That's why Vindman says he did not tell his direct boss, Morrison.  1:05 pm.  Republicans at today's hearing have repeatedly criticized Vindman for going to the top lawyer for the National Security Council immediately after the July 25 call, instead of his direct boss, Tim Morrison - who will testify later today.  Here's how GOP lawmakers are making that case on Twitter today. 12:50 pm.  A needed light moment as Rep Joaquin Castro D-TX talks about being a fellow identical twin, like Vindman and his brother. Castro jokes about being asked to grow a beard - which he did so people wouldn't think he was his brother, the Presidential candidate, Julian Castro. 12:40 pm.  Here is some video from President Trump. 12:20 pm.  From earlier - when Rep. Jordan intimated that superiors thought Vindman was leaking information about Ukraine. 12:10 pm.  News is being made at the White House on several fronts by President Trump. 12:00 pm.  Rep. Jim Jordan R-OH all but accused Vindman of being a leaker, raising questions about what his superiors thought of his job performance.  Vindman denied he had ever leaked anything, and quickly read from his last performance review by former White House aide Fiona Hill, who testifies on Thursday.  Jordan moved on. 11:55 am.  Democrats ask Jennifer Williams about a tweet from President Trump on Sunday, in which he assailed Williams, and called her a “Never Trumper.” 'It certainly surprised me. I was not expecting to be called out by name,” Williams told lawmakers. Here is the tweet. 11:50 am.  The White House quickly turns around that exchange, and posts it on the official White House Twitter account. 11:20 am.  Last questions for Vindman just before a short break in the hearing. Did you ever talk to Giuliani? No. Did you ever discuss Ukraine with President Trump?  Vindman: 'I have never had any contact with the President of the United States.' 11:10 am.  Asked by the GOP counsel, Vindman says Ukraine officials actually offered him the job of Defense minister of Ukraine at one point. Vindman says he immediately reported it to his superiors and intelligence officials. 'The whole notion is rather comical.' 11:05 am.  The GOP counsel walked Williams through a number of questions for why Vice President Pence scrapped a planned trip to Ukraine for the inauguration of the new leader, President Zelensky.  Instead, Pence went to Canada for an event on the US free trade deal with Mexico and Canada.  10:50 am.  Rep. Nunes: 'Mr. Vindman, you testified at your deposition that you did not know the whistleblower.' Vindman: 'Ranking member, it's Lt. Col. Vindman, please.' 10:45 am. We have just had our first real witness skirmish over the identify of the Ukraine whistleblower. Nunes asked Vindman who he told of the July 25 call. Vindman said there were two people outside the White House; he refused to ID the person in the intelligence community. 10:40 am. Nunes acknowledges that Williams and Vindman are the first 'firsthand' witnesses to testify about the Trump-Zelensky phone call. Nunes asking both witnesses if they spoke with any reporters or knew of leaks. Both answer in the negative. 10:35 am. Republicans are now starting their 45 minutes of questioning. Rep. Nunes immediately goes into questions surrounding Burisma and Hunter Biden. 10:20 am. The Democratic counsel is walking both witnesses through the July 25 call in detail, getting them to repeat their concerns about the call.  These are the first witnesses to testify who heard the actual phone call.  GOP lawmakers outside the hearing room are not impressed. 9:55 am.  We have had our first witness refuse to answer a question in these hearings.  The lawyer for Williams won't let her answer a question about a phone call between Vice President Pence and the leader of Ukraine. 9:45 am. Vindman on the May 25 Trump-Zelensky call: 'It is improper for the President of the United States to demand a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and a political opponent.' 9:40 am. Williams repeats her deposition testimony that she found the May 25 Trump-Zelensky call unusual, 'because in contrast to other Presidential calls I had observed, it involved discussion of what appeared to be a domestic political matter.' 9:35 am. Both witnesses have been sworn in. Williams starts first. Schiff pointedly noted she worked for the 2004 Bush campaign. 9:30 am.  Nunes wraps up his opening statement.  He did not mention either of the two witnesses sitting before the panel. 9:20 am.  Rep. Devin Nunes R-CA begins his statement by criticizing the press for impeachment coverage. 'This is the same preposterous reporting the media offered for three years on the Russia hoax.'  Nunes says the news media is nothing but “puppets of the Democratic Party.” 9:17 am.  Vindman spoke about his family during his opening statement. 9:15 am.  Sitting behind the witness table is Vindman's brother.  Ironically, film maker Ken Burns interviewed them as young boys about how their family made it to the United States. 9:10 am.  Schiff starts by warning the audience against audible outbursts.  It's probably a reaction to the cheers at the end of Friday's hearing with former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch.  9:05 am. It is very quiet in the hearing room as Vindman and Williams sit down at the witness table. No one talking.  And I mean, no one is talking. All you here is the clicking of shutters from the still photographers.  It's an odd feel. 9:00 am.  The public is filing in.  The press section is filled.  We are waiting for the witnesses to arrive.  Here is a shot of the news media tables.  Standing up on the far side in the middle is veteran AP reporter Al Fram, who like me, has seen a lot on Capitol Hill. 8:55 am.  If you want to read through the past testimony of today's witnesses, the deposition of Jennifer Williams is here - she is a State Department employee detailed to the staff of Vice President Pence.  The deposition link of Alexander Vindman is here. 8:45 am.  One of the witnesses today is National Security Council staffer, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who raised concerns up his chain of command about the President's July 25 phone call with the leader of Ukraine.  It has resulted in questions about Vindman's personal security, as well as that of his family.  The Wall Street Journal reports that Vindman may be moved to a military facility, just in case. 8:30 am.  I'm seated over in my same spot, alongside the technical people for the C-SPAN TV coverage, and the still photographers from a variety of news organizations, who run a unique cooperative effort to take and distribute photos quickly from the hearing.  Every person in this business is different in how they prepare for their job.  Washington Post staff photographer Melina Mara was working just in front of me for a few minutes - and I snapped a picture of her laptop, which has a series of items attached with Velcro to the computer to help do her job. 8:20 am. The angling for position is underway around the witness table, as still photographers and videographers stake out their positions to get the initial shot of the witnesses arriving at the table for this hearing.  If you are watching as the hearing begins, you will see a big mass of people all around the table, and then the gavel will fall, and photographers will be shooed away.  It will be much more crowded by 9 am ET. 8:05 am. One thing to watch for today is whether President Trump decides to make an 'appearance' in this hearing via Twitter. On Friday, his tweets about former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch totally changed the hearing - and frankly, it also undermined whatever media strategy Republicans had developed for that hearing. One of the witnesses today, Jennifer Williams, who is a State Department employee detailed as a foreign policy adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, has already been targeted by the President on Twitter. Will he repeat it as she is testifying? 8:00 am. There are four witnesses today. Three are scheduled for Wednesday. Two more witnesses on Thursday. Tuesday and Wednesday feature separate morning and afternoon sessions. Frankly, I don't know how today (Tuesday's) two hearings can finish before around 8 pm, even if the proceedings begin at 9 am. There will be breaks for votes on the floor of the House at least two different times today, as lawmakers vote on a stop gap funding plan to keep the government from running out of money, extending that spending until December 20 - to avoid a government shutdown at the end of this week. 7:45 am. Once again, I will have a seat in the historic Ways and Means Committee hearing room, where the impeachment hearings are being held - but like my youth spent at Tiger Stadium in Detroit, I will have an obstructed view of the proceedings. I have a great view of the witness table from the side of the room - but unfortunately, the lawyer for one of the witnesses usually blocks my view. And then, there is a giant television screen which has been brought in for visuals - that sits right between me and the dais. Since I'm in radio, I am used to looking down and listening, and that's what I will get to do again today.
  • With Democrats on a House panel offering lawyers for President Donald Trump ten extra days to submit legal arguments to the U.S. Supreme Court on a subpoena to his accounting firm for his tax returns, Chief Justice John Roberts on Monday granted a temporary stay of an appeals court order requiring that those financial documents be provided to Congress on Wednesday. 'IT IS ORDERED that the mandate of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, case No. 19-5142, is hereby stayed pending receipt of a response, due on or before Thursday, November 21, 2019, by 3 p.m. ET, and further order of the undersigned or of the Court,' the Chief Justice wrote in a Monday order. The move came after the House Oversight and Reform Committee filed a letter agreeing to give the President's legal team extra time to deal with the case. Without such action, the appeals court order for the President's accounting firm, Mazar's, to produce the financial documents requested by Congress would have taken effect on Wednesday. The move by the Chief Justice was what is known as an 'administrative stay' - not really getting to the merits of the matter. 'This is a totally standard procedural move, nothing more,' tweeted Steve Vladeck, a law professor at the University of Texas. It's likely the broader issues could be considered at a regularly scheduled conference meeting on Friday, where the Justices consider whether to take up certain cases before the High Court. The Supreme Court has several options - the Justices could allow the lower court ruling to stand, which ordered Mazar's to abide by the subpoena, and turn over the President's documents. Or, the Justices could decide to hold a special set of arguments on the case. President Trump's legal team has already asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and block a similar subpoena from prosecutors in New York City, who are also seeking the President's financial records from Mazar. The Supreme Court has not taken any action with respect to that New York case.  As for the matter involving the House Oversight Committee, lower courts have ruled against the President's bid to block a subpoena to his accounting firm as well. In the New York case, the President's lawyers told the Supreme Court last week that Mr. Trump has 'absolute immunity' from any criminal investigation while in office.
  • Two days after ridiculing his former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine as she testified at impeachment hearings in the Congress, President Donald Trump on Sunday blasted a foreign policy adviser to Vice President Mike Pence, after she told lawmakers in a deposition that she considered the President's May 25 phone call with the leader of Ukraine to be 'unusual and inappropriate.' 'Tell Jennifer Williams, whoever that is, to read BOTH transcripts of the presidential calls,' the President tweeted from the White House on Sunday afternoon. In deposition testimony released by Congressional investigators this weekend, Williams, the Special Adviser for Europe and Russia in the Office of the Vice President, raised concerns about the President's push to get the government of Ukraine to start a pair of investigations which could be of political benefit to Mr. Trump back home. 'I would say that it struck me as unusual and inappropriate,' Williams said of the phone call on May 25, 2019. There was only a minimal response from the Vice President's office, which noted that Williams is on detail from the State Department. The President's real-time tweets attacking ex-Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch drew complaints from Democrats about witness intimidation, the President's Sunday Twitter shot at Williams had the same result. Williams is scheduled to testify before the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday morning, along with National Security Council staffer, Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. It's an extremely busy week for the impeachment hearings, as Democrats try to cram a series of witnesses into sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The highlights include testimony from U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, on Wednesday morning - Sondland has been the focus of a number of recent revelations focusing on his communications with the President about getting Ukraine to start investigations of the son of former Vice President Biden, and about questions of whether Ukraine - and not Russia - hacked Democrats in 2016. Sondland's testimony on Wednesday morning is has become maybe the biggest item on the schedule this week. Here is this week's announced schedule: Tuesday morning: Pence foreign policy aide Jennifer Williams, and National Security Council staffer Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman. Tuesday afternoon: Former US envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, and National Security Council staffer Tim Morrison. Wednesday morning: US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland. Wednesday afternoon: Pentagon official Laura Cooper, State Department official David Hale. Thursday: Former Trump White House Russia expert Fiona Hill.
  • Despite a series of visits and late political rallies on behalf of the Republican running for Governor in the Bayou State, President Donald Trump's help for the GOP fell short in Louisiana on Saturday, as Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards narrowly won re-election to a second term, the second election setback for the President in two weeks. With 100 percent of precincts reporting on Sunday morning, Edwards led Republican Eddie Rispone, a Baton Route area businessman, by 40,000 votes, with 51.3 percent of the vote. The GOP defeat came just days after Republican Gov. Matt Bevin of Kentucky conceded defeat in a close race from earlier this month, as Democrats overcame as series of campaign rallies held by the President, and won two of the three Governor's races in the South in 2019. 'And as for the President,' Edwards said to cheering supporters, 'God Bless his heart,' using a well known Southern put down. The President had come to Louisiana three times for rallies, fully embracing the battle to knock off Edwards. While Democrats celebrated the second direct voter rebuke of Mr. Trump in two weeks, Republicans downplayed the results. 'He was going to own the losses either way,' said GOP strategist Liam Donovan on Sunday morning. 'Not sure any of it mattered all that much in the end in either direction.' In his campaign stops, and on Twitter, the President had cast the more conservative Edwards as a radical liberal, not worthy of the votes of the Bayou State. 'If you want to defend your values, your jobs, and your freedom, then you need to REPLACE Radical Liberal John Bel Edwards with a true Louisiana Patriot,' Mr. Trump said on Twitter before the vote. But while Eddie Rispone led Edwards for much of the night, the late arriving results from Baton Rouge, New Orleans, and the suburban areas of those cities spelled doom for the President. It was a familiar formula which has led to GOP losses in once-reliable GOP suburbs in cities all over the country: Houston, Dallas, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, Oklahoma City, Los Angeles, and more. 'Hey are these Trump rallies definitely helping the Republicans?' asked Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) on Twitter as the returns rolled in. Democrats will find out that answer for 2020, in 50 weeks.
  • The second day of impeachment hearings against President Donald Trump was thrown off stride on Friday by the President himself, as he went on Twitter and ridiculed the former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine as she testified before the House Intelligence Committee on Friday, prompting Democrats to accuse Mr. Trump of blatant witness intimidation. 'As we sit here testifying, the President is attacking you on Twitter,' said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). 'He is smearing you right now as you are testifying,' said Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). 'Expect witness tampering to be an article of impeachment,' tweeted Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), who left the Republican Party after endorsing an impeachment investigation against the President. The President's tweets came as in the midst of questioning for Marie Yovanovitch, as Democrats swiftly moved to bring Mr. Trump's real time comments into the hearing. 'I mean, I can't speak to what the President is trying to do, but I think the effect is to be intimidating,' Yovanovitch said in her impeachment appearance. The President's tweets unexpectedly upended whatever GOP planning had been done for the hearing, forcing Republican lawmakers yet again to answer for the reactions of Mr. Trump, and leading to headlines which clearly took Republicans off script. GOP lawmakers tried their best to steer around Yovanovitch, engaging in no line of questions which had any type of confrontational element during the hearing. Instead, Republicans praised her diplomatic work, noting that she had landed a fellowship at Georgetown University, at the same rate of pay as her ambassadorial post. Democrats mocked that talk. 'It's like a Hallmark movie, you ended up at Georgetown! It's all okay!' said Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL) in a sarcastic tone. Democrats returned again and again to the President's tweets during the hearing, accusing him of trying to undermine the impeachment investigation. 'This is another step by the President to intimidate witnesses,' said Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT).  'He didn't intimidate you,' Welch told Yovanovitch. Republicans again did their best to simply say the entire process was a sham. 'The American people know this is nonsense,' said Rep. Chris Stewart. At the end of the hearing, top Republican Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) called the second hearing an 'embarrassment.' But a couple minutes later, members of the public were standing and cheering for Yovanovitch. For a closer look at what went on in the hearing, click on this link for more video.

Local News

  • The University of Georgia is ranked 13th in the nation for the number of students who study abroad, according to the latest Open Doors ranking from Institute of International Education. UGA was one of only two Southeastern Conference universities and the only institution in Georgia to be ranked in the top 20. Every year, with the backing of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, IIE conducts a survey on U.S. students studying abroad for academic credit and publishes the results in the Open Doors Report. In addition to ranking 13th overall, UGA was ninth in short-term study abroad programs. “We at the Office of Global Engagement are thankful to the UGA leadership for the support of student global experiential learning,” said Yana Cornish, director of global education. “We are proud to support a culture of study abroad among students, faculty and staff and are committed to expanding global experiential learning opportunities to all students, with particular consideration for underrepresented, rural, first-generation and other underserved students.” More than 2,600 UGA undergraduate and graduate students studied abroad in programs facilitated UGA Office of Global Engagement during the 2017-2018 academic year. “UGA’s position in the national rankings reflects the growing demand among students for a study abroad experience, the increased availability of scholarship funding provided by the university and individual donors, and the tireless dedication of our faculty, who are committed to offering academically rigorous programs,” said Noel Fallows, associate provost for the Office of Global Engagement. “Although many of our programs take place during the summer months, they are a year-round commitment for faculty, who work behind the scenes developing cost-effective budgets and preparing culturally immersive courses to create optimal, memorable and transformative international experiences.” Jack Hu, the university’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, added that UGA’s Open Doors ranking underscores the institution’s stature as a national leader in experiential learning. “The University of Georgia is one of the nation’s largest public universities to ensure that all of our undergraduate students benefit from learning opportunities such as study abroad, internships, service-learning and research,” Hu said. “These experiences position students for career success and lay the foundation for a lifetime of engaged citizenship.” Additional information on all UGA Education Abroad programs are available on the StudyAway portal: https://studyaway.uga.edu/
  • ATHENS Georgia basketball has made it a historical start to the season with Wednesday night's 82-78 win over rival Georgia Tech. It was the Bulldogs' fifth-straight win in the series, the first time that has happened in 79 years, and the 10,205 fans at Stegeman Coliseum couldn't have been more happy. 'This is a huge rivalry,' Georgia coach Tom Crean said. 'I said to the team, there are gong to be things in life that are so much bigger than you, and a game like this is one of them. 'When those seniors can say they never lost those games, that's a big deal.' Junior Rayshaun Hammonds carried the load for the Bulldogs (4-0), matching his season high with 26 points while pulling down 9 rebounds against the Yellow Jackets (2-1). Projected NBA lottery pick Anthony Edwards had 18 points and 8 rebounds, and senior grad-transfer Donnell Gresham Jr. had 13 points and 6 rebounds. Edwards, of course, made history by scoring 53 points in his first two games, eclipsing the freshman record previously held by Georgia and NBA Great Dominique Wilkins (1979). Michael Devoe had 34 points including a last-second, half-court shot to lead Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets opened the Nov. 5 with an 82-81 overtime road win over North Carolina State. Hammonds dominated the first half, scoring 19 of his points through the first 20 minutes. It carried into the second half with Georgia leading by as many as 16 points. 'It's a big win for us,' Hammonds said. 'I haven't lost to them, I don't want to lose to them.' A degree of uncertainty crept into the building with 10:15 remaining, however, when Hammonds picked up his fourth foul while scrambling for a loose ball. Hammonds took his 26 points and 8 rebounds to the bench, and Crean and the Bulldogs turned to freshman Anthony 'Antman' Edwards. Edwards, 1-of-8 shooting to that point with 5 points, drained a 3-pointer on the next trip down to make it 59-48 a the 9:41 mark. It triggered a 10-2 run that Edwards capped with a drive to the basket that made it 66-50. 'We did a good job on Edwards, he made some big plays late,' Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. 'He's a pro, he's going to be one of the top 3 draft picks, pros do that.' The Bulldogs had used a 13-2 run to end the first half and take control of what had been a back-and-forth first half, leading 35-27 intermission. Edwards had just 2 points at the half, and he didn't score his first field goal until hitting a long jumper that made it 42-31 with 17:50 left. The Bulldogs fans came to life, and it was another big crowd. Georgia, in fact, has the second-largest season attendance in school history through four games (35,152), approaching the record set in 1981 when Stegeman Coliseum held 11,200 and drew 38,741 through its first four games. More history will be made when Georgia returns to action at 2:30 p.m. next Monday in the Maui Invitational against Dayton (TV: ESPN2). The Bulldogs, making their first-ever appearance in the prestigious will play again on Tuesday (Michigan State or Virginia Tech) and Wednesday (TBD). DawgNation Georgia basketball coverage Georgia overwhelms Delaware State, Rayshaun Hammonds stars UGA drops The Citadel, Anthony Edwards scores 29 Anthony Edwards having fun, but Tom Crean expects more Tom Crean wants more control against The Citadel RELATED: Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener Georgia basketball strikes exhibition gold vs. Charlotte 49ers Sahvir Wheeler hidden star, directs point after first exhibition Anthony Edwards lives up to hype in exhibition opener Georgia freshman already making basketball history The post Georgia basketball off to historic start, dumps Georgia Tech 82-78 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — A faint, round, red spot just above his shirt collar is the only obvious physical evidence that something happened to Tate Prezzano nearly seven months ago. However, inside the University of Georgia student’s body a bullet fragment remains lodged just one millimeter from his spinal cord after he was shot multiple times near campus.  “One millimeter. One ‘mm.’ It is the smallest measurement you can get in the metric system,” his father, Dobbin Prezzano, said. To Prezzano and his father, the abbreviation “1 mm” has taken on a new meaning: “One man’s mission,” the tagline for the new foundation and scholarship program Tate Prezzano created in the wake of the shooting.  Prezzano introduced the foundation Wednesday morning at a news conference at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center, the hospital where he underwent his medical treatment after the shooting. It was the 22-year-old’s first public appearance since the April 22 incident. Prezzano said the focus of his foundation, named the TateTough Foundation after the social media hashtag that began trending during his recovery, is to effect safety and security on college campuses.  RELATED: UGA victim ID’d as lacrosse player; police release sketch of alleged shooter Prezzano is part of UGA’s club lacrosse team and played lacrosse and football at Cambridge High School in Milton.  As the junior communications major was waiting at an Athens bus stop, a man approached him, robbed him and shot him multiple times in the upper part of his body. “Few incidents are more concerning than a young man standing at the bus stop, waiting to go to college, that is accosted by an armed assailant, robbed and shot,” Athens-Clarke County police Chief Cleveland Spruill said in a news conference after the shooting.  It happened about 7:15 a.m. the Monday after Easter, Prezzano said. His bus was scheduled to arrive at 7:18 a.m.  He said he saw something move out of the corner of his eye, and when he looked up a man was pointing a gun at him.  Prezzano was hit in the shoulder, in the neck and in the back of the head. He laid bleeding on the sidewalk, watching cars go by and hoping one would stop.  “I actually saw my bus go by,” he said.  One man pulled over. Phil Haymore, who manages the intensive care unit at Piedmont Athens, was on his way to work when he saw Prezzano on the ground.  “I have a son at UGA. He’s right around Tate’s age,” Haymore said. “As far as I’m concerned, my son was laying on the sidewalk.”  Haymore provided care for Prezzano until emergency medical services arrived and took him to the hospital. He remained there for six days.   A second UGA student was also robbed at gunpoint near the bus stop, which is just south of campus and the Athens Perimeter. That student was not hurt in the incident, which occurred moments before Prezzano was shot. He was able to give police a description of the suspect, which was used to create a sketch. It depicted a man with medium-length braids or dreads. Not long after the sketch was released, GBI special agent Mike Ayers said tips started pouring in from community members. MORE: Gwinnett man arrested in shooting of UGA lacrosse player from metro Atlanta Zarren Garner, 20, of Grayson, was arrested in Gwinnett County the next morning. Spruill said they were able to identify Garner through a number of citizen tips and because of the man’s prior “low-level criminal background.”  Thus began Tate Prezzano’s recovery process. He said he spent about five days a week in physical therapy over the summer. He wasn’t able to take summer classes for his major.  “His typical regimen over the summer of academics and athletics ... was going to be replaced by physical therapy, occupational therapy, aquatic therapy,” his father said.  The foundation is part of Prezzano’s recovery process. The first pillar of its three-part mission is to support Prezzano throughout his doctor visits, therapy sessions and various treatments.  The second part, Prezzano said, is to encourage other athletes.  “Our goal is to promote funding for scholarships at two schools that have been an integral part of and made an impression on Tate: The University of Georgia and Cambridge High School,” the TateTough website said. “The Foundation will award a $1,000 scholarship to one University of Georgia lacrosse player and one Cambridge High School athlete each year that the Foundation can support the effort.”  “This scholarship is going to go to the person (we) feel exemplifies what the ultimate teammate would be,” Prezzano said. “The ultimate teammate, in my opinion, is not necessarily the ‘rah-rah’ guy. It’s not necessarily the all-star or the best player. He’s the kind of person that would come off the field if he needs to, he would go on the field and play a different position, or just kind of do whatever is asked and be reliable.”  But invaluable to the TateTough Foundation is the need to augment campus safety, Prezzano said. The foundation is working with UGA to explore options to make the campus safer, such as improved kiosks and phone apps that would allow for a more immediate response in the case of an emergency. Campus safety is at the top of his mind now that Prezzano has resumed taking classes at UGA.   He is still undergoing physical therapy three times a week. However, he is taking 16 credit hours this semester, he said. After 15 more in the spring and one hour during a May semester, Prezzano will walk with his graduating class, he said.  Prezzano said he hopes the foundation’s mission of encouraging campus safety can reach other colleges. He wants his story to help other students be cognizant of their surroundings.  “We are still figuring the world out,” he said. “We don’t know what to look for.” 
  • A former Louisiana State University student was sentenced Wednesday to five years in prison for his role in the alcohol-related hazing death of a freshman from Roswell, but a judge suspended all but 2½ years of the term, according to local media reports.  Matthew Naquin was also sentenced to 1,000 hours of community service, three years of probation when released and he must pay a $1,000 fine, The Advocate reported.  Naquin, 21, of Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas, was convicted in July of negligent homicide in the September 2017 death of Max Gruver.  Gruver, 18, died after a hazing incident at the Phi Delta Theta fraternity house, according to investigators. He had an alcohol level of .495% — more than six times the legal limit for drivers — at the time of his death, the East Baton Rouge Parish Coroner’s Office previously said.  LSU President F. King Alexander temporarily suspended all Greek activities after Gruver’s death. The fraternity’s national headquarters also suspended the LSU chapter. Gruver was a 2017 graduate of Blessed Trinity High School and planned to study journalism at LSU. He loved sports and helped coach younger children, including his sister’s basketball team, according to his family.  “Max was very lovable. He cared a lot about people,” Eugene Gruver, Max’s grandfather, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the day after his death. “He was bright, he was intelligent. He was so talented. He knew all about sports.” Prosecutors placed the bulk of the blame for Gruver’s death on Naquin. At trial, they told the jury Naquin ripped up Gruver's bid card and made it his personal mission to keep Gruver out of the fraternity, the Advocate previously reported. During the ritual, when Gruver answered questions about the fraternity incorrectly, prosecutors said Naquin forced him to drink. In July, two other former LSU students were each sentenced to a month in jail for their roles in Gruver’s death.  Sean-Paul Gott, 22, of Lafayette, Louisiana, and Ryan Matthew Isto, 20, of Butte, Montana, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor hazing charges.
  • Planing to see the Georgia Bulldogs play at Mercedes-Benz for the SEC Championship on Dec.7?  Be aware of some rules and policies before heading to the game. Doors will open at 1:30 p.m. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.  Leave your cash at home  In March, Mercedes-Benz Stadium became the first to adopt a stadium-wide cashless policy, a news release said. However, cash-to-card kiosks will be available at the Delta Sky360 Club, Mercedes-Benz Club, and by the team store. Fans can insert cash into a machine that will give back a pre-paid Visa card, with no transaction fee.  Don’t take just any bag Fans are encouraged to take clear bags to games for security reasons. Fans can take a one-gallon plastic freezer bag, or a clear bag no larger that 12 by 6 by 12 inches, according to SEC policy.  All bags will be checked at the secondary security perimeter set around the stadium and the Georgia World Congress Center.  For fans that take a bag, there will be four bag exchange locations: outside gates 1 and 2 of the stadium, and at the Georgia World Congress Center’s  Gold Deck and Hall B. Football fans will be charged $5 per bag they exchange. At Gate 1, fans can use the BinBox app to use a small locker for $5, a medium locker for $7, and a large locker for $9.  The clear bag policy exempts wallets and clutch purses that may be no bigger than 4.5 by 6.5 inches including the handle or strap.  There are exceptions to the the rule for medically necessary items.  Do your pom-poms or shakers have a paddle or a stick handle?  Mercedes-Benz stadium has a no stick handle policy for pompoms and shakers. Only those with a paddle handle will be allow inside the stadium, according to a news release. 

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS Kirby Smart opened the football portion of his Monday press conference talking about injuries, updating media on his banged-up offensive line and hobbled go-to receiver. It was a pre-emptive strike. The Georgia football head coach doesn't want to be asked abut the specifics, or go down the laundry list of players limited, or out or dealing with injuries. The media viewing portions of practices have been closed the past two weeks, the Bulldogs understandably not wanting opponents to know who is healthy enough to go through drills, and who has been sitting out. Georgia's football season is on the line once again this Saturday and Smart is no different than any other coach in the sense that he doesn't want to give away any more information than necessary. The No. 4-ranked Bulldogs (9-1, 6-1 SEC) play host to No. 24 Texas A&M (7-3, 4-2) at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday at Sanford Stadium (TV: CBS). It's a Georgia team that survived Auburn, 21-14, despite being out-gained 158 yards to 2 yards in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs were missing three offensive by the end of the contest. Smart revealed after last Saturday's game that Ben Cleveland missed two practices following his SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week performance against Missouri. On Monday, Smart acknowledged that Georgia's Swiss Army Knife Offensive Lineman Cade Mays would miss time on the practice field. On Tuesday, Smart offered some hope, albeit, limited. Cade has been out there working, and Ben has practiced,' Smart said on Tuesday. 'Cade didn't do much yesterday, he did a lot more today as far as reps, we're hopeful he'll be able to go.' For receiver Lawrence Cager, who has been playing with a separated shoulder, Smart said it's a matter of how much he could 'sustain.' Even the staff photographer, Lauren Chamberlain, has been held out of action this week after her sideline collision with Brian Herrien. But Georgia has a fair share of players who have been playing despite injuries, receivers Tyler Simmons (shoulder) and Demetris Robertson (hamstring) both appearing somewhat limited, as well as defensive lineman David Marshall (foot) and offensive linemen Isaiah Wilson (ankle) and Trey Hill (ankle). Others simply don't put the pads on and thus don't get asked about anymore: Defensive back Tyrique McGhee (foot), receiver Tommy Bush (groin), quarterback D'Wan Mathis (head), lineman Justin Shaffer. Georgia football injury report WR Lawrence Cager (shoulder) probable WR Tyler Simmons (shoulder) probable C Trey Hill (ankle) probable OG Ben Cleveland (foot) probable DL David Marshall (foot) probable OL Cade Mays (ankle) questionable DB Tyrique McGhee (foot) doubtful QB D'Wan Mathis (head) out WR Tommy Bush (groin) out OL Justin Shaffer (neck) out Georgia football DawgNation Kirby Smart reveals redshirt plan for Georgia senior defensive lineman WATCH: Gus Malzahn says Auburn 'stuffed' Georgia in 4th quarter Georgia football stars make short list for Outland Trophy, Nagurski Award WATCH: Georgia QB Jake Fromm says offense must get better Georgia in select company, clinches third-straight SEC East Division title Jimbo Fisher says Jake Fromm as good as anyone in the country The post Georgia football injury report: Offense hobbled entering Texas A&M battle appeared first on DawgNation.
  • There's a different way to look at the bottom line for Georgia-Texas A&M this week. Especially in terms of what Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart bring to the table. Try a bottom line that charts $14,371,600. That is the reported combined 2019 salaries for the head coaches for that big SEC clash on Saturday. Read that line again. Digest that $14.3 million part. That's the number according to the latest 2019 salary figures in the annual USA Today report on coaching salaries for NCAA football . Fisher, who signed a 10-year deal worth $75 million in December of 2017, ranks as the fourth-highest paid head coach in college football. It makes one wonder why the nachos will not be $14.30 inside Sanford Stadium on Saturday. Fisher still has a robust buyout of $60 million. ( That means Jimmy Sexton's great-great-grandchildren are also getting Gucci every Christmas. Sexton represents five of the nation's 10-highest paid coaches and almost all of the SEC.) Smart comes in at No. 5 on that listing. His buyout is a mere $24.2 million for the remaining years on his deal. Several coaches, such as Auburn's Gus Malzhan (No.6) are slated to receive yearly pay hikes that will also take them into the $7 million per year range in 2020, too. The USA Today study places a somewhat unexpected name at the top. It was not Nick Saban, but still the head coach of the defending national champions nonetheless. Clemson's Dabo Swinney rates No. 1 on that database with a total compensation figure of $9,315,600 for 2019. Saban follows at No. 2 ($8.9 million) and Jim Harbaugh ($7.504 million) round out the top 3. The SEC also flexes the power of its TV deals and respective fan bases by placing the head coaches from five of its member schools among the top 10 in that survey. Mississippi State pays Joe Moorhead $3,050,000 on that listing. It will rank him last in the SEC, but that windfall places him at No. 48 out of the 122 coaching salaries tracked in that database. The post Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart both rank among the NCAA's highest-paid coaches appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Rayshaun Hammonds says he just wants to win, and now that the 6-foot-8, 240-pounder has figured out what it will take from him, Georgia basketball could prove dangerous. Hammonds matched his season high in scoring with 26 points, also leading the young Bulldogs with 9 rebounds in their 82-78 win over an experienced and battled-tested Georgia Tech on Wednesday night. It was Georgia's fifth-straight win in the rivalry, the first time that has happened in 79 years. RELATED: Anthony Edwards helps spark historical start to season 'Rayshaun has had a breakthrough,' second-year Georgia coach Tom Crean said Wednesday night. 'You never known when breakthroughs are going to come, (and) you never know how breakthroughs are going to come, and you can't plan them. 'They have to be natural and he's doing a good job. Ray is letting things come to him.' Anthony Edwards, one of 10 new players on the team and a 6-5 combo guard projected to be a lottery pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, explained why the ball went inside to Hammonds throughout the first half. 'They were pressing me and Tyree (Crump) hard when we were getting the ball,' Edwards said. 'So if they are pressing us, we've got the best four man in the country, he's going to eat.' Indeed, Hammonds scored 19 of his points in the first half, helping Georgia take a 35-27 lead to intermission. 'I thought [Rayshaun] Hammonds was a stud tonight,' Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. 'Obviously, we recruited him hard, too. He's a really good basketball player and he really had a great game and is a big difference maker for them, especially in that first half. 'That was the difference tonight, what Hammonds did in the first half, that set the tone.' Crean has been challenging Hammonds to be a difference-maker and set the tone in practice, too, harping on him publicly and privately to become more consistent. Edwards can score all the points and make all the highlights, but if Hammonds doesn't provide a physical presence in the paint, Georgia will likely miss the NCAA Tournament for what would be the seventh time in the past eight years. The Bulldogs' hopes took a major hit last summer when All-SEC sophomore Nicolas Claxton left for the NBA, adding to attrition that included six seniors and three underclassmen transfers. Georgia lost more than 56 percent of its scoring off last year's team and 63 percent of its rebounding. But Edwards has come in with a signing class that ranked fifth in the nation, and the 10 new players have brought enough firepower and positive energy to help get Hammonds going. 'The incoming freshmen took a lot of stress off me, because they can play,' said Hammonds, who was ranked the 51st-best player in the 2017 class coming out of Norcross. 'We have dogs, nobody is scared to get on the floor. The main focus is to play physical, you don't want to get punked by other teams.' Hammonds has proven he can supply the muscle as well as provide an outside touch, connecting on 2 of 4 attempts beyond the 3-point arc against Georgia Tech. 'Rayshaun did a great job leading us,' Edwards said, 'and we followed.' Georgia basketball's Anthony Edwards and Rayshaun Hammonds Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean DawgNation Georgia basketball c Georgia overwhelms Delaware State, Rayshaun Hammonds stars UGA drops The Citadel, Anthony Edwards scores 29 Anthony Edwards having fun, but Tom Crean expects more Tom Crean wants more control against The Citadel RELATED: Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener Georgia basketball strikes exhibition gold vs. Charlotte 49ers Sahvir Wheeler hidden star, directs point after first exhibition Anthony Edwards lives up to hype in exhibition opener Georgia freshman already making basketball history The post Georgia basketball forward Rayshaun Hammonds breakthrough' wrecked Georgia Tech appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia basketball has made it a historical start to the season with Wednesday night's 82-78 win over rival Georgia Tech. It was the Bulldogs' fifth-straight win in the series, the first time that has happened in 79 years, and the 10,205 fans at Stegeman Coliseum couldn't have been more happy. 'This is a huge rivalry,' Georgia coach Tom Crean said. 'I said to the team, there are gong to be things in life that are so much bigger than you, and a game like this is one of them. 'When those seniors can say they never lost those games, that's a big deal.' Junior Rayshaun Hammonds carried the load for the Bulldogs (4-0), matching his season high with 26 points while pulling down 9 rebounds against the Yellow Jackets (2-1). Projected NBA lottery pick Anthony Edwards had 18 points and 8 rebounds, and senior grad-transfer Donnell Gresham Jr. had 13 points and 6 rebounds. Edwards, of course, made history by scoring 53 points in his first two games, eclipsing the freshman record previously held by Georgia and NBA Great Dominique Wilkins (1979). Michael Devoe had 34 points including a last-second, half-court shot to lead Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets opened the Nov. 5 with an 82-81 overtime road win over North Carolina State. Hammonds dominated the first half, scoring 19 of his points through the first 20 minutes. It carried into the second half with Georgia leading by as many as 16 points. 'It's a big win for us,' Hammonds said. 'I haven't lost to them, I don't want to lose to them.' A degree of uncertainty crept into the building with 10:15 remaining, however, when Hammonds picked up his fourth foul while scrambling for a loose ball. Hammonds took his 26 points and 8 rebounds to the bench, and Crean and the Bulldogs turned to freshman Anthony 'Antman' Edwards. Edwards, 1-of-8 shooting to that point with 5 points, drained a 3-pointer on the next trip down to make it 59-48 a the 9:41 mark. It triggered a 10-2 run that Edwards capped with a drive to the basket that made it 66-50. 'We did a good job on Edwards, he made some big plays late,' Georgia Tech coach Josh Pastner said. 'He's a pro, he's going to be one of the top 3 draft picks, pros do that.' The Bulldogs had used a 13-2 run to end the first half and take control of what had been a back-and-forth first half, leading 35-27 intermission. Edwards had just 2 points at the half, and he didn't score his first field goal until hitting a long jumper that made it 42-31 with 17:50 left. The Bulldogs fans came to life, and it was another big crowd. Georgia, in fact, has the second-largest season attendance in school history through four games (35,152), approaching the record set in 1981 when Stegeman Coliseum held 11,200 and drew 38,741 through its first four games. More history will be made when Georgia returns to action at 2:30 p.m. next Monday in the Maui Invitational against Dayton (TV: ESPN2). The Bulldogs, making their first-ever appearance in the prestigious will play again on Tuesday (Michigan State or Virginia Tech) and Wednesday (TBD). DawgNation Georgia basketball coverage Georgia overwhelms Delaware State, Rayshaun Hammonds stars UGA drops The Citadel, Anthony Edwards scores 29 Anthony Edwards having fun, but Tom Crean expects more Tom Crean wants more control against The Citadel RELATED: Anthony Edwards draws standing ovation in opener Georgia basketball strikes exhibition gold vs. Charlotte 49ers Sahvir Wheeler hidden star, directs point after first exhibition Anthony Edwards lives up to hype in exhibition opener Georgia freshman already making basketball history The post Georgia basketball off to historic start, dumps Georgia Tech 82-78 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS Georgia stars have made the short list for two of the most prestigious awards in college football, the Outland Trophy and the Nagurski Award. Junior left tackle Andrew Thomas was named one of six semifinalists for the Outland Trophy, which recognizes the top interior lineman on offense or defense. Outland Trophy semifinalists OT Andrew Thomas, Georgia OC Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin DT Derrick Brown, Auburn OT Penei Sewell, Oregon OG John Simpson, Clemson OT Tristan Wirfs, Iowa. Reed, a senior safety, is one of five finalists for the Nagurksi Award, which recognizes the best defensive player in college football. SS J.R. Reed, Georgia DT Derrick Brown, Auburn LB Isaiah Simmons, Clemson DB Antoine Winfield Jr., Minnesota DE Chase Young, Ohio State Georgia DawgNation stories Kirby Smart reveals redshirt plan for Georgia senior defensive lineman WATCH: Gus Malzahn says Auburn 'stuffed' Georgia in 4th quarter WATCH: Georgia QB Jake Fromm says offense must get better Georgia in select company, clinches third-straight SEC East Division title UGA stock report: Bulldogs cash in at Auburn with 21-14 win Georgia game ball, punter Jake Camarda kept Tigers backed up Brian Herrien, Jake Fromm pray for injured UGA photographer The post Georgia stars Andrew Thomas, J.R. Reed semifinalists for Outland Trophy, Nagurski Award appeared first on DawgNation.