Politics

Public hearings start this week in the Trump impeachment probe. Here's what you need to know

Key Points
  • Key figures in President Trump's impeachment inquiry will go public starting Wednesday.
  • Three administration officials are set to testify in public hearings, taking the impeachment investigation into new territory.
  • Trump, meanwhile, has announced plans to "probably" release another transcript of a conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as early as Tuesday.
House Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff, D-CA
Saul Loeb | AFP | Getty Images

Three administration officials are set to testify in public hearings, taking the impeachment investigation into new territory in accordance with a resolution passed by House Democrats late last month.

U.S. charge d'affaires in Ukraine Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent are set to testify before Congress in a public hearing Wednesday. The officials will testify together at 10 a.m. ET.

Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch is scheduled to testify in public at 9 a.m. ET Friday.

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, has announced plans to "probably" release a transcript of an earlier conversation with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy as soon as Tuesday.

The impeachment inquiry, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., focuses on whether Trump abused his power by asking Zelenskiy in a July 25 call to "look into" former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter — and investigate unsubstantiated allegations of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Trump's requests came as his administration held up a crucial military aid package to the country.

Here's what's coming up this week in the impeachment inquiry:

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Bill Taylor

Taylor has been considered a key voice for Democrats even before the release of his opening statement from his recent closed-door deposition, in which he claimed to have heard from a top diplomat that military aid to Ukraine had been withheld pending the announcement of investigations into Trump's political opponents.

In his opening statement, Taylor testified that Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, told him that ″'everything' was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance."

Taylor also said he had a "clear understanding" that "security assistance money would not come until [Zelenskiy] committed to pursue the investigation," a transcript of his testimony released last week shows.

George Kent

Kent said in his private deposition last month that Trump "wanted nothing less than Zelenskiy to go to [the] microphone and say 'investigations, Biden and Clinton,'" according to a transcript released last week.

Kent is expected to support other witnesses' testimony about Trump's involvement in an alleged pressure campaign on Ukraine led by Trump's allies, including his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Marie Yovanovitch

Yovanovitch told lawmakers that Trump pushed the State Department to boot her from her post, NBC News reported last month. Yovanovitch maintains that she had done nothing wrong and had been told as much by a top State Department official, according to NBC.

The whistleblower, whose complaint helped spur the impeachment inquiry, suggests that Yovanovitch's tenure had been cut short because of pressure from a former Ukrainian prosecutor and from Giuliani, who had been conducting shadow foreign policy efforts in the country.

She previously testified that she was "incredulous that the U.S. government chose to remove an ambassador based, as best as I can tell, on unfounded and false claims by people with clearly questionable motives."

Trump

Trump said Saturday he plans to release a "transcript" of a second call he had with Zelenskiy. "We'll probably give it on Tuesday, Monday being a holiday," Trump said.

That phone call actually occurred before the July 25 conversation that has become central to the impeachment probe. One witness, former U.S. special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker, testified that the April 12 call was congratulatory in nature. Zelenskiy won the first round of elections on March 31 and the run-off on April 21.

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