Bill Taylor and George Kent to testify at the first public hearings of the House's impeachment investigation
The impeachment investigation of the House of Inquiry on Donald Trump will hear his first public witnesses on Wednesday. The Acting US Ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor, and the Head of the State Department, George Kent, will testify before Congress in front of a captivated international audience.
Here is an overview of the events of the morning.
After the introductory statement by the House Intelligence Committee Chairs Adam Schiff and Devin Nunes, Dev and Nunes, Taylor and Kent will tell the striking, sometimes complicated story of a president using foreign policy for personal gain and policies before the 2020 elections.
Until now, the story divides the Americans, essentially in the sense of Trump's unusual presidency. The Constitution establishes a spectacular, but vague, dam to the destitution, and there is no consensus yet to say that Trump's actions at the heart of the investigation respect the threshold of "major crimes and offenses" ". Whether Wednesday's proceedings begin to end a presidency or help secure Trump's position, it is certain that his chaotic term has finally arrived at a place he can not control and that he is a force, the constitutional system of checks and balances, which he can not ignore. The country had only come here three times before, and never in the context of social media and real-time commentary, including from the president himself.
"These hearings will focus on issues that have profound implications for the nation and the way our government operates under the Constitution," Schiff said in a note to lawmakers. He called it a "solemn commitment" and advised his colleagues "to approach this procedure with the seriousness of the goals and the love of the country that they demand".
"Total fraud by impeachment," tweeted the president, as he does virtually every day.
Historians say that indictments are rare because they represent nothing less than the cancellation of an election. S embark on this path presents risks for Democrats and Republicans as the proceedings advance in the 2020 campaign.
Unlike the hearings of Watergate and Richard Nixon, there is still no "cancer in the chair" that galvanizes public opinion. Nor is there any national shrug, as was the case when the dismissal of Bill Clinton did not result in his removal from office. It may be more like the dismissal of Andrew Johnson after the Civil War, inspired by partisanship.
Trump calls it all a "witch hunt", a replica that echoes Nixon's own defense. Republicans claim that Democrats have been trying to get rid of this president since taking office, starting with the investigation of former special adviser Robert Mueller on Russia's interference in the goal to help Trump in the 2016 elections.
Bill Taylor (J Scott Applewhite / AP)
The president of the Democratic House, Nancy Pelosi, initially hesitated to launch a formal investigation of indictment. When Democrats took control of the House in January, Pelosi said the indictment would be "a divisive factor" for the country. Trump, she said, was just not worth it. After Mueller's appearance at Capitol Hill in July for the end of the investigation into Russia, the door of the impeachment proceedings seemed closed. But the next day, Trump telephoned …
This month, witness after witness, testified under oath about his July 25 phone call with the newly elected president of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, and alarms that he triggered in circles diplomatic security and the national security of the United States. In a secure room in the basement of the Capitol, current and former officials told lawmakers what they knew. They said that a previous Trump appeal in April congratulating Zelensky for his election victory seemed to be going well. The former US reality TV host and the young Ukrainian comedian have agreed.
But in the July call, things turned out. An anonymous warning launcher first alerted the officials on the phone call. "Many US government officials have informed me that the US president is using the power of his office to seek interference from a foreign country in the 2020 elections," he wrote. in August to the intelligence committees of the House and Senate. The Democrats fought to get the letter back, if necessary. "I am deeply worried," wrote the whistleblower.
Trump insisted that the call was "perfect". The White House has published a raw transcript. Pelosi, under the sign of his new most centrist legislators, opened the investigation. On Tuesday, she set out the message that she wanted people to hear Wednesday: "The Truth." "It's a quiet day, a day of prayer, a solemn day for our country," Pelosi told the press. "It's a sad day I'd like to have we never have to face."
George Kent (Carlos Jasso / Reuters)
It was part of what Taylor, Ukraine's long-time senior diplomat, called an "irregular" foreign policy led by Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, outside traditional channels. Taylor said that it was "crazy" that the Trump administration retains US military assistance to the East European ally during political investigations, Russian forces at the Ukrainian border under watch for a moment of weakness. Kent, the head of the State Department wearing bow ties, told investigators that Trump wanted three things in Ukraine: "Investigations, Biden, Clinton".
The drafters of the Constitution provided little detail on how the impeachment procedure should be conducted, leaving much to Congress to decide. Democrats say that the White House's refusal to provide witnesses or produce documents is an obstruction and is in itself impenetrable.
The hearings are expected to continue and will likely be transferred to the Judiciary Committee, probably before Thanksgiving, to review the imputation items. The House, controlled by the Democrats, should vote before Christmas. This would launch a lawsuit in the Senate, where Republicans have the majority, in the new year.