Eric Swalwell

Democrats target Trump defenses in first impeachment hearing
Two articulate and polished career diplomats lend gravitas to much-anticipated public event

House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, joined by other House Democrats, speaks to reporters Wednesday's hearing. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

House Democrats used the first day of impeachment hearings to take aim at the various defenses President Donald Trump and his congressional allies have raised during the inquiry into his Ukraine dealings — a strategy that allows them to advance their case alongside a drumbeat of witness testimony over the next two weeks.

The House Intelligence Committee started that push Wednesday with two articulate and polished veteran diplomats, whose deep knowledge of Ukraine turned into succinct explanations of the unusual circumstances surrounding how the Trump administration handled almost $400 million in military aid to the country.

Trump impeachment makes for tricky messaging for Democrats
As public hearings start, Democrats have to cut through complicated issues

House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff, D-Calif., speaks to reporters in the Capitol last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

House Democrats begin the public portion of their push to impeach President Donald Trump this week with what they say is a powerful case that the president used his office for personal political gain — but they face a high-stakes challenge to convey that to a sharply divided public.

The House Intelligence Committee has its first impeachment hearings scheduled for Wednesday and Friday following weeks of closed-door depositions. The witnesses testifying in the open come from the same roster of unknown diplomats and bureaucrats who in their private interviews detailed complex matters of foreign diplomacy that are unfamiliar to most Americans.

Who’s holding the impeachment hearings? Meet the House Intelligence Committee
Backgrounds vary on Intelligence Committee looking at impeachment of Trump

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., right, ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., center, and Rep. Mike Conaway, R-Texas, prepare for a hearing in September. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most members of the House Intelligence Committee aren’t household names, but they’re about to be thrust into the national spotlight.

The committee this week begins public hearings in the House’s impeachment inquiry, which is investigating whether President Donald Trump abused his office by withholding military aid to Ukraine in exchange for investigations into his political opponents.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 8
Mulvaney balks at investigators subpoena, committees drop Vindman and Hill transcripts

Bill Taylor, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine shown here arriving at the Capitol for his Oct. 22 deposition, will be one of House Democrats’ first witnesses in public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

As House Democrats pivot to the public phase of their impeachment inquiry, they have filled the first slate of open hearings next week with three highly regarded, longtime civil servants to make the case that President Donald Trump should be impeached.

Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent will testify Wednesday. Taylor’s predecessor in Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, will testify on Friday.

Impeachment news roundup: Nov. 7
Bolton says he’ll fight subpoena, Pence aide to testify on Trump call with Zelenskiy, Jordan says he’ll subpoena whistleblower

Jennifer Williams, Vice President Mike Pence’s special adviser on European and Russia affairs, arrives at the Capitol on Thursday for a deposition to the House committees conducting the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

At the conclusion of Thursday’s closed-door testimony from Jennifer Williams, a longtime State Department official who is detailed to work with Vice President Mike Pence, Rep. Eric Swalwell told reporters that it's not yet clear whether she'll be the last witness deposed in the first phase of the inquiry.

The committee would still like to hear from acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Friday, although Swalwell acknowledged Mulvaney is unlikely to show. The California Democrat and member of House Intelligence, one of the three committees leading the impeachment inquiry, said the committee is still finalizing its schedule for the remainder of the week.

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.

Impeachment deposition bickering offers preview of brinkmanship to come in public hearings
Jordan, Schiff exchanges on process illustrate distrust between the parties

Rep. Jim Jordan has questioned the process, such as members' ability to ask questions, during depositions. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

The first closed-door deposition in the House’s impeachment inquiry opened with a partisan squabble about whether members would be able to question witnesses. The bickering showed a distrust between Democrats and Republicans that has consumed the deliberations ever since. 

That is unlikely to go away anytime soon as lawmakers prepare for public hearings that are expected to begin later this month. Some of the process questions Republicans raised that led to partisan disputes in the depositions have seemingly been put to bed, while others may spill into public hearings. 

Second Oversight Democrat announces bid to replace Elijah Cummings
Rep. Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts joins Rep. Jackie Speier of California seeking Oversight Committee gavel

Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., announced Monday he would seek to become the next chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform. (Tom William/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Stephen Lynch announced Monday that he will run to be the next chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform after Chairman Elijah Cummings died two weeks ago.

The Massachusetts congressman is the second Democrat on the committee to seek the gavel. California Rep. Jackie Speier announced last week she was in the running to head the committee. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appointed Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York to replace Cummings in an acting capacity based on Maloney’s seniority, Pelosi’s office said last week.

Impeachment is already a gold mine. Shut down fundraising until it’s over
The money will still be there when the dust settles. Integrity won’t

No campaign has focused more intently, nor benefited more financially, from impeachment than President Donald Trump’s, Murphy writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In polite company, the idea of putting the country through a presidential impeachment is “somber,” “heartbreaking” and, in the words of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a time to be “prayerful.” But for campaigns across the political spectrum, most especially President Donald Trump’s, impeachment has been a once-in-a-generation money bomb.

As a formal impeachment approaches, members and the White House should suspend campaign fundraising until the process is resolved. Because the same cash fire hose that turns on after an appearance on “Fox & Friends” or “The Rachel Maddow Show” also threatens the integrity of the most important constitutional question the country will ever ask itself — should this president be removed from office?

Impeachment news roundup: Oct. 22
Trump suggests impeachment effort will hurt Democrats, diplomat who questioned holding up Ukraine deal testifies

Bill Taylor, center, acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, arrives at the Capitol on Tuesday for a deposition in the House's impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine Bill Taylor told House impeachment investigators on Tuesday about President Donald Trump’s alleged efforts to coerce the new Ukrainian president to investigate Trump's political rivals in exchange for a meeting at the White House and a U.S. military aid package.

Taylor’s testimony put him at odds with Gordon Sondland, the Trump-appointed ambassador to the European Union who largely defended the president at his deposition last week.