Congress

Open impeachment hearings to begin next week, Schiff says

Bill Taylor, George Kent and Marie Yovanovitch scheduled to be the first witnesses

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., announced open impeachment hearings. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House will move into the public hearing phase of the impeachment inquiry next week, Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff announced Wednesday.

Bill Taylor, acting Ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, the State Department’s deputy assistant secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau, are scheduled to be the first two witnesses to give public testimony on Nov. 13. The European and Eurasian Bureau is responsible for six countries, including Ukraine.

House Democrats are leading with  Taylor, who many who heard his closed-door testimony last month consider to be one of the strongest witnesses in the impeachment case. Taylor's 15-page opening statement last month undermined President Donald Trump's insistence that he never exerted pressure on Ukrainian officials or prompted a quid pro quo. Taylor's statement was a detailed blueprint of what the seasoned diplomat called a “highly irregular” channel of shadow diplomacy toward Ukraine. 

Former ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch is scheduled for public testimony on Friday, Nov. 15.

Yovanovitch, whose closed-door testimony was among the first wave of transcripts to be released earlier this week, described to investigators the involvement of Trump’s personal attorney, Rudolph W. Giuliani, in the beginning stages of what became a coordinated campaign to pressure the new leader of Ukraine to investigate Trump's political opponents.

The Intelligence panel is expected to hold additional public hearings as Democrats pursue the case that Trump abused the power of the presidency when he pressured Ukraine’s leaders to launch investigations into his political opponents.

"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 first hand about the facts of the president's misconduct," Schiff said.

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