This morning, Wednesday, November 13, public impeachment hearings begin in the House of Representatives against President Donald Trump. The first two witnesses as scheduled are to be: William Taylor, the current US charge d’affaires in the Ukraine, and George Kent, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs.
The Democratic (majority) leadership in the House, which has run that body since that party’s victories in November 2018, has set out three questions on which it hopes these hearings will focus:
First, whether President Trump requested that the government of the Ukraine initiate investigations to against a potential political rival of the President’s in the 2020 election, with the intention of benefiting himself and own political situation as a consequence?
Second, whether the President sought to use the powers of his office to pressure Ukraine into such an investigation, for example by threatening to withhold US military assistance to the country in the face of increasing Russian and domestic pro-Russian pressure?
And finally, whether the President has sought to conceal information bearing on the first two points from the American people and Congress?
The Thing to Know:
The House leadership’s goal is clearly to use the hearings before the Intelligence Committee to make the factual case that the answers to the above questions are: yes, yes, and yes, in order to prepare for the next step: debate and vote in the full House as to whether to impeach on these grounds.