Thursday, November 7, 2019

First Public Hearings in Impeachment Inquiry to Begin Next Week

Photo: jim lo scalzo/epa/Shutterstock
House panel releases testimony by Ambassador Bill Taylor that security aid to Ukraine was linked to investigations sought by President Trump
House Democrats said that open hearings with three key impeachment-inquiry witnesses would begin next week, a development that will shift the probe of President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine from behind closed doors onto television screens across the country.
The announcement of the public hearings came as Democrats released the transcript of testimony from Bill Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine. He told investigators it was his “clear understanding,” based on conversations he had with other Trump administration officials working on Ukraine policy, that security assistance to Kyiv in its fight against Russia would stay frozen until the new Ukrainian president committed to pursuing political investigations sought by Mr. Trump.
Mr. Taylor, whom Democrats view as a star witness in their probe, is slated to testify next Wednesday. George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of state, is also scheduled to testify Wednesday, while Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine who was recalled from her post amid attacks on her from allies of the president, is expected to appear two days later.
The impeachment inquiry is centered on the efforts by Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, to push Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, as well as unfounded allegations that Ukraine interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Democrats say such actions amount to an abuse of presidential power designed to boost Mr. Trump’s re-election prospects.
Mr. Trump has denied any wrongdoing and called the impeachment inquiry a hoax. On Wednesday, Mr. Giuliani said he hired Robert Costello to represent him, the second attorney Mr. Giuliani has hired since October. Mr. Giuliani has denied any wrongdoing.
“Those open hearings will be an opportunity for the American people to evaluate the witnesses for themselves, to make their own determinations about the credibility of the witnesses, but also to learn firsthand about the facts of the president’s misconduct,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) told reporters.
Read the rest from the WSJ HERE.

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