Opinion by Elie Honig
Updated 3:27 PM ET, Tue November 12, 2019
(CNN) When Bill Taylor raises his right hand and swears to tell the truth so-help-me-God before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, he will make history. For only the fourth time in United States history, full-blown impeachment hearings will be underway in the House. And no person is better suited to set the stage for House Democrats than Taylor. He is the perfect leadoff witness.
When prosecutors prepare for trial, they typically create a document called an “order of proof” — a sequential listing of all the witnesses and evidence they plan to introduce to the jury. Not surprisingly, ordering matters and first impressions matter most. That is particularly true in an impeachment proceeding, where public interest and opinion are paramount.
As CNN chief media correspondent Brian Stelter noted, “on one level it is a television show,” and the first episode matters most to capture the audience’s attention.
Taylor has the three things every prosecutor wants in a witness: He is credible, he is backed up by independent evidence and his testimony goes to the heart of the matter.