Trump impeachment hearings to be held in public next week

Adam Schiff leading the impeachment inquiry of Trump
Adam Schiff

Democrats will launch a new phase of their impeachment inquiry next week with public hearings featuring three State Department officials who have testified about their concerns over Donald Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.

House Intelligence Committee chairman Adam Schiff, who is leading the impeachment investigation, announced the committee will hear from top Ukraine diplomat William Taylor, career department official George Kent and former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch in hearings next Wednesday and Friday.

All three have already testified behind closed doors in the first phase of the investigation.

Ms Yovanovitch, who was ousted in May at Mr Trump’s direction, told investigators she had been told to “watch my back” and that people were “looking to hurt” her.

Both Mr Kent and Mr Taylor testified about their concerns about her ousting as the president’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, took a leading role on Ukraine policy.

Despite Mr Trump’s daily denials, Mr Schiff said on Wednesday that the witnesses will show that “the most important facts are largely not contested” in the inquiry.

The Democrats are investigating Mr Trump’s requests for allegedly politically motivated probes by Ukraine as the US withheld military aid from the country.

Mr Trump, backed by Mr Giuliani, asked new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in a July telephone call to probe Mr Trump’s political rival Joe Biden and his family and also to investigate Ukraine’s possible role in the 2016 presidential election.

The impeachment investigators are also releasing transcripts of more of the closed-door interviews this week, including Mr Taylor’s transcript on Wednesday.

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