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Therapy dogs visit Capitol Hill during first public impeachment hearing in ‘happy accident’

Therapy dogs were deployed to Capitol Hill to comfort congressional staffers during an event that coincided with the start of public impeachment hearings Wednesday.

Billed as “a chance to de-stress in the midst of a busy season,” organizers held the event amid weeks of closed-door impeachment proceedings culminating in the first of several planned public hearings.

Mike Bober, president of the Pet Industry Joint Advisory Council that helped run the event, described the timing as a “happy accident,” People magazine reported.

“We had this planned for several months, so when they announced the date of the hearings, we thought ‘if there was ever a time for a bipartisan source of comfort and relief, it’s today,’” said Mr. Bober, whose nonprofit co-hosted the event with Pet Partners, an organization dedicated to promoting animal-assisted therapy.

Critics of the impeachment proceedings against President Trump were quick to falsely assert the therapy dogs were deployed to comfort Democrats dejected by the day’s outcome.

“Democrats everywhere have reason to be worried tonight,” conservative commentator Sean Hannity said on his Fox News opinion program Wednesday evening. “It was such a disaster they actually brought in therapy dogs — not making this up — presumably to help Democrats cope with their emotions.”

“Comfort dogs brought to Capitol to help Dems cope w/ impeachment,” Mike Huckabee, the former Republican governor of Alabama, later declared on Twitter.

Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, both testified Wednesday during the first of several planned public impeachment hearings threatening Mr. Trump’s presidency.

Democrats controlling the House of Representatives initiated an impeachment inquiry in September after the White House sought to block members of Congress from learning details about the Trump administration withholding military assistance allocated by Congress to Ukraine. The funds were put on hold amid Mr. Trump asking his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate the son of former U.S. Vice p=President and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Joseph R. Biden, and members of Congress are considering whether Mr. Trump should be accordingly removed from office.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, said Thursday that the diplomats’ public testimony “corroborated evidence of bribery” by Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump continued to attack the impeachment process from his Twitter account, meanwhile, calling it a “hoax” in one of several critical tweets Thursday.

The next public hearing in the process will be held Friday when members of Congress question Marie Yovanovitch, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

Source: Washington Post