Trump impeachment hearings to go public next week

Impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump for pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival will reach a critical stage next week when a Democratic-led congressional committee holds its first public hearings on the issue.
Donald Trump walks up to take questions from the media before departing the White House aboard Marine One, Nov 4, 2019.
Donald Trump walks up to take questions from the media before departing the White House aboard Marine One, Nov 4, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee will kick off a series of public hearings in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump next week, the panel's Democratic chairman said on Wednesday (Nov 6).

William Taylor, the top US diplomat in Ukraine, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent will testify on Nov 13, while former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will appear on Nov 15, Representative Adam Schiff, the committee's chairman, said in a statement.

He said more details will be released in coming days.

All three diplomats have raised alarm bells about the release of US security aid to Ukraine being made contingent on Kiev publicly declaring it would carry out politically motivated investigations that Trump, a Republican, had demanded.

Televised public hearings featuring US officials testifying in Congress about alleged wrongdoing by Trump could crowd out other issues like the economy and immigration as voters turn their minds to the November 2020 election.

That might damage Trump, but some of his supporters say the impeachment drive could actually boost his re-election chances by showing him at loggerheads with Washington-based political foes.

Democrats had said they had enough material to move forward with public impeachment hearings, which would be a likely prelude to articles of impeachment - formal charges - against Trump being brought to a vote in the House.

If the House votes to approve the articles of impeachment, the Republican-controlled Senate would then hold a trial on whether to remove Trump from office.

Senate Republicans have so far shown little appetite for removing the president.