The hearing of two witnesses on Wednesday, November 13 was a disappointment to proponents of impeachment because it illustrated the weakness of the case. I have consistently opposed impeachment because the facts are weak and because in opening this box, the Democrats do not know what is inside leaving its effect on the 2020 election in considerable doubt. If impeached in the House, it appears that Trump will be acquitted in the Senate.

The subject of what is to be the article of impeachment is a phone call from Pres. Trump to Ukraine Pres. Zelinsky on July 25, 2019 regarding an alleged condition of military assistance and a Zelinsky visit to the White House to Zelinsky’s announcement of a Ukraine investigation of both the Bidens (Joe and Hunter), and alleged Ukrainian malign action to influence the 2016 election.

The “quid pro quo” language to describe the “this for that” allegation is being replaced by the Democrats’ substitution of the word “bribery,” per Speaker Pelosi. That’s a good idea because “quid pro quo” is in Latin and is hard to pronounce.

The first witnesses produced by the Democrats were George P. Kent, the State Department’s top official on Ukrainian policy and William B. Taylor, Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine.

These are two classy gentlemen with  outstanding records of service to the United States.

Taylor testified to a timeline of what he had heard and experienced before and after the July 25 call. While comprehensive, it was clear from his testimony that he was recalling what he had heard and understood and that he had no conversation with Trump. As my law school evidence teacher, the impressively named Ashbel Green Gulliver, explained, it’s hearsay when a witness testifies, “Joe told me the defendant killed the deceased.” You’d have to hear from “Joe” to determine what really happened and that’s why hearsay cannot be used to prove a crime.

But that’s not all that’s weak about Taylor’s testimony.

First, he criticized the fact that there “appeared to be two channels of U.S. policymaking…one regular and one highly irregular.” Taylor was in the “regular” channel and the “irregular” channel included two diplomats, a cabinet member, Trump’s chief of staff and Rudy Giuliani.

Taylor did not mention that the President can have as many channels as he wants because under the Constitution he makes foreign policy.

Because “it became clear” to Taylor by August, 2019 that “the channels had diverged in their objectives,” Taylor became “increasingly concerned.” Once again, he “understood” that the irregular channel was trying to get dirt on Joe Biden in exchange for military assistance and a White House visit, allegations that he cannot prove.

Second, no matter how many channels there were, Ukraine got the military aid as announced on September 11, 2019 (late) and Ukraine made no investigation announcements to get it.

Two diplomats (Sondland and Volker) who did speak to Trump will testify next week. Presumably, their testimony will not effectively buttress the impeachment effort else they would have been called first.

As reprehensible as Trump’s behavior was, it was at most an attempt. If the federal criminal laws applied to impeachment (they do not) his behavior would result in a charge with the same weight as if the attempt had succeeded.

But this is an effort to impeach and remove a sitting President. There has be more than hearsay,  concern by distinguished diplomats and an attempted perversion of American foreign policy in political support of Trump’s reelection to justify so profound an act.

In describing Trump’s conduct  at the hearing on October 13, Cong. Adam Schiff, who has handled himself with dignity in the face of constant attacks, asked, “If this is not impeachable conduct, what is?”

We can all come up with examples of “what is” impeachable conduct. Here’s one: hand in the cookie jar. If a president steals from the federal treasury, he ought to be impeached.

Let’s see what is coming up. I’m keeping an open mind.