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13.8 Million People Watched Trump Impeachment Hearing On TV

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An estimated 13.8 million people tuned in to watch U.S. diplomats Bill Taylor and George Kent testify at the first public hearing of the impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump on Wednesday, according to Nielsen ratings data.

Ten prime networks aired live or tape delayed coverage of the six-hour proceedings that started around 10 a.m. ET in the House Of Representatives.

Fox News Channel had the most number of viewers for the Congressional testimony, with an estimated 2.9 million people watching it, Nielsen data shows.

MSNBC was the second most popular network with 2.69 million viewers. More than 2 million people watched ABC's coverage. It was followed by CBS (1.97 million), CNN (1.84 million) and NBC (1.68 million), Nielsen said.

However, the first day of the House's public impeachment hearings could not attract as many TV audience as other politically controversial testimonies that were broadcast live on television channels in recent years.

More than 20 million American TV viewers watched the September 2018 congressional testimony of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on six networks, according to the data analytics company.
He was accused of sexual assault by professor Christine Blasey Ford in a highly emotional public testimony. Kavanaugh denied it and was eventually confirmed as Supreme Court judge.

The July 2017 testimony by former FBI Director James Comey to the Senate Intelligence Committee about his dealings with President Donald Trump was watched by about 19.5 million people on television.

Bill Taylor, the Acting U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine, told the House Intelligence Committee Wednesday that he learned a member of his staff overheard Trump asking about "investigations" against his potential presidential rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden the day after the president's call with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25.

George Kent, a top State Department official overseeing Ukraine, said Trump's lawyer and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani's campaign was not part of official U.S. foreign policy but instead a personal mission to get the president damaging information on a political rival ahead of an election.

A second hearing is scheduled for Friday.

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