Donald Trump's public impeachment begins: what you should know
The first two public testimonies before the Intelligence Committee of the House of Representatives will be held on Wednesday, kicking off the open door impeachment of President Donald Trump.
The entire country will be paralyzed on Wednesday from 10 AM to listen to the live and televised testimony of the first two witnesses in the political trial against President Donald Trump.
After weeks of closed-door investigations, the committee chairman, Rep. Adam Schiff, has decided to make public the interrogations of the people involved in the Ukraine affair.
The complaint of an internal whistleblower in the Intelligence Department sounded the alarm about a questionable phone call between President Trump and President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky during July, in which the U.S. president seemed to extort his counterpart for information against his political opponents in exchange for military aid.
After the publication of the transcript of the call by the White House, the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, had no choice but to announce the start of an impeachment inquiry against Trump for alleged abuse of power.
Six committees of the House then took the reins of the investigation around the matter – especially after Attorney General William Barr refused to do so – calling to testify about 26 people involved in the scandal, including active officials of the White House.
The Administration's response was to prohibit any member of the government from complying with subpoenas, as well as refusing to deliver documents requested by the committees.
However, a handful of witnesses decided to challenge the orders of the White House and appeared at private hearings, whose transcripts have been published under Schiff's request.
The constant denunciations of the government and the Republican wing in the congress of an alleged “illegal” behind-closed-doors investigation led to the decision to make the testimonies public, which will begin this Wednesday, November 13.
After the revealing depositions of characters such as Marie Yovanovitch (former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine), Kurt Volker (former U.S. special envoy in Ukraine) and Fiona Hill (former White House advisor in Russia), the Intelligence Committee has scheduled more than five testimonials open to the public in the coming weeks.
During the last weeks, the six committees of the House have collected hundreds of documents and testimonies that seem to corroborate the abuse of power by President Donald Trump when using his position to advance his personal interests.
As Adam Schiff told NPR last Tuesday, "there is already sufficient evidence to support an indictment of President Trump even before the conclusion of the special counsel investigation."
Evidence such as the one that led the president’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to a sentence for violating campaign bylaws, as well as the stratagems that have come to light by his current personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, assume that there is enough information to directly involve the president in continuous misdemeanors.
But according to due process of law, the evidence must be exposed to public opinion and submitted to regular channels, so that the whole country will be able to hear testimonies directly from witnesses.
The first witness will be William Taylor, U.S. charges d’affaires in Kyiv and interim ambassador to Ukraine, who confirmed in a private audience that the release of U.S. military aid to the country "depended on Ukraine's publicly promising to investigate Joe Biden and his son.”
This would imply that, despite government denials, the president did use the money granted by Congress to try to obtain some kind of benefit for his re-election campaign.
According to the transcript of his deposition, Taylor told lawmakers that the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, had been instructed directly by the president so that Ukraine would comply with its part of the deal.
This Wednesday, Taylor will testify before the whole country.
For his part, and in the second session of hearings, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, George Kent, will appear publicly before the House Committee, after having testified before the Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Supervision Committees on October 15.
In his first deposition, Kent defied the instructions of the White House and appeared before the legislators and gave his account of the facts during a meeting at the White House on May 23 organized by interim chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, Sondland, Kurt Volker and energy secretary Rick Perry (better known now as "The Three Amigos"), where they claimed to be "responsible for affairs in Ukraine."
Kent also described the role of Rudy Giuliani in the pressure on Ukraine to declare an investigation into Joe Biden.
At this point, it is hard to expect a fair game between the two political parties in the country.
Even when the evidence and the facts speak in favor of the process carried out by Democrats, Republicans will surely talk about an “illegal” or “unfair” process against the president and try to advance questions about the conspiracy theory that dominates the government's speech since the beginning of the investigation.
For the government's allies, Trump was requesting an investigation to prove that it was Ukraine and not Russia, who had interfered in the 2016 elections, trying to remedy the effect of the incriminating evidence.
The American public, on the other hand, will be able to draw its own conclusions from this moment on.