US Democrats launch the public phase of their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump next week, with open, televised hearings set for Wednesday and Friday in the House of Representatives. Democrats want to build a strong public case that Trump abused his presidential powers by pressuring Ukraine to launch corruption investigations involving the son of Joe Biden, the former vice president who is vying to be the Democratic nominee to run against Trump in the 2020 presidential elections. Democrats want the broadest possible public support should they choose to formally impeach Trump, which could happen by December. Trump has denied doing anything wrong.
Democrats have invited three diplomats who have previously testified behind closed doors to recount what they knew or heard about Trump and Giuliani’s dealings with Ukraine. These witnesses will be questioned by committee staff attorneys as well as lawmakers including Schiff and the senior Republican on the committee, Devin Nunes. The Democrats will ask the diplomats to discuss their understanding of events before and after a phone call between Trump and Zelenskiy. Democrats are also expected to try to use the hearings to show that Trump obstructed justice
The top US diplomat in Ukraine, William Taylor, is considered a critical witness to the case against Trump. Another senior US diplomat, George Kent, will appear with Taylor at Wednesday’s hearing. Kent said in closed-door testimony that he had been alarmed by efforts by Giuliani and others to pressure Ukraine to accede to Trump’s demands.
Republicans have painted the Democratic-led inquiry as a partisan exercise and will seek to provide a different narrative for the millions of Americans expected to watch the hearings, while attempting to cast doubt on witness testimony.reuters