As Trump fumes, public impeachment hearings set to grab spotlight

Rep. Mac Thornberry R-Texas

Rep. Mac Thornberry R-Texas

This week U.S. diplomats William Taylor, George Kent and Marie Yovanovitch are due to detail in public their concerns, previously expressed in testimony behind closed doors, that President Trump and his administration sought to tie £304million ($391million) in security aid to Ukraine to an investigation of the former USA vice president and his son Hunter Biden.

Trump appeared to take aim at a number of party members starting to attack his July 25 chat with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy while still arguing it was not deserving of ousting an elected president.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky, who has emerged as an outspoken supporter of Trump and critic of the whistleblower, said making military aid contingent on corruption investigations should not be controversial.

Mr Biden is a leading contender for the Democratic nomination to face the Republican president in the 2020 election.

On impeachment, the president tried to give his allies on Capitol Hill some talking points Sunday, tweeting out his advice for how they should defend him - namely by insisting, as he did, that his call with the Ukrainian president was "PERFECT".

Trump was referring to the first of his two calls with Zelensky, which he made in April.

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Now they move on to "phase two" - public hearings to inform about the nature of the investigation the American public. Trump's daughter and presidential aide Ivanka Trump granted a rare interview while on a trip to Morocco.

In the letter, Schiff said "this inquiry is not and will not serve, however, as a vehicle to undertake the same sham investigations into the Bidens or 2016 that the President pressed Ukraine to conduct for his personal political benefit, or facilitate the President's effort to threaten, intimidate, and retaliate against the whistle-blower who courageously raised the initial alarm".

"The House of Representatives launched an impeachment inquiry to ascertain the full extent of the president's misconduct, and thanks to testimony from dedicated, nonpartisan public servants, we now have a much fuller picture of how President Trump abused the State Department and other levers of government for his own political gain", the page states in its introduction. If that occurs, the 100-seat Republican-controlled Senate would hold a trial on the charges.

That may be the case anyway since despite the evidence against Trump and the incredibly consistent testimony of his pressure on Ukraine, there hasn't been a crack in Republican support for him in the Senate.

Any mention of the potential whistleblower's name violates our coordinating harm policy, which prohibits content 'outing of witness, informant, or activist.' We are removing any and all mentions of the potential whistleblower's name and will revisit this decision should their name be widely published in the media or used by public figures in debate.

It has been two decades since Americans last witnessed impeachment proceedings against a president.

"Then on Friday, they will hear from Marie L. Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador to Ukraine, about her abrupt recall to Washington this spring amid a campaign to smear her as disloyal". Mr Taylor told lawmakers in closed-door testimony he was unhappy the administration had held up the congressionally approved aid to help combat Russia-backed separatists in the eastern part of Ukraine.

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On Friday, the committee will hear from Marie Yovanovitch, who Mr Trump removed as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine in May. Mr Giuliani had been actively trying to get Ukraine to carry out investigations of the Bidens.

America's big three networks - CBS, NBC and ABC - have announced wall-to-wall coverage of the sessions and will break into scheduled programming to screen them live so voters can watch the case against Donald Trump.

"I hope everyone who testifies will go do so truthfully, accurately".

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) chose them to testify first because each has "unimpeachable character" and are "apolitical career officials", an aide told Axios.

"And the Constitution is very clear: treason, bribery, or acts of omission. We wanted to make sure that the corruption that has been existing in Ukraine for an awfully long time was reduced", Pompeo said.

But the Facebook post overreaches in saying that the rules "do not allow any witness to be called" without his approval.

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In the open hearings, both parties can propose and subpoena witnesses - although Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff will be able to prevent Republicans from inviting witnesses who have no relation to the core allegations or who simply seek to stall the proceedings. Trump has denied any wrongdoing.

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