WASHINGTON — The House Intelligence Committee is kicking off the public phase of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and his dealings with Ukraine.
- Public hearings in impeachment inquiry set for Wednesday, Friday
- 2 witnesses will testify on Wednesday, 1 on Friday
- Witnesses already provided depositions behind closed doors
- PRIVATE DEPOSITION TRANSCRIPTS:
- RELATED: House Intelligence Committee's Impeachment Inquiry site
The House is calling three key witnesses to testify in an open hearing: two Wednesday and one Friday. All have already testified in closed-door depositions, and their testimonies have been made public. However, what they say at the hearings this week could have an influence on public opinion.
On Wednesday, William Taylor and George Kent are expected to testify together.
Taylor is the top diplomat currently working in Ukraine. He’s is a lifelong public servant who was recruited by the Trump administration.
Democrats see Taylor as a credible witness who has a lot of first-hand knowledge of the events leading up to and after the call Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Transcripts show that several witnesses, including Taylor, think there was a quid pro quo agreement, connecting military aid to Ukraine with an investigation of the energy company where the son of former Vice President Joe Biden had served on the board.
George Kent will also testify. He’s a senior State Department official with a focus on Ukraine. He has been in the Foreign Service since 1992. According to closed-session testimony, Kent told lawmakers he was cut out of decisions about Ukraine.
Later in the week, the public will hear from Marie Yovanovitch, the former American ambassador to Ukraine who was removed from her post earlier this year.
She testified that she was recalled because the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, wanted her out of the way.
The sessions won’t look like traditional Congressional hearings. Under rules passed recently by the House, both Democrats and Republicans will have blocks to question witnesses in which staff attorneys can participate.
Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-California) and ranking member Devin Nunes (R-California) will be able to question witnesses for up to 45 minutes each and may only yield time to staffers.
Then, the rest of the committee members will each get 5 minutes to ask questions and can yield time to each other.
We may expect to hear from three Congressional staffers in that time.
Daniel Goldman is the committee’s director of investigations. He’s a former federal prosecutor with the Southern District of New York, and he led questioning for the Democrats during depositions.
Daniel Noble also worked in SDNY and is the senior counsel for committee Democrats.
The Republicans have Steve Castor, who helped grill witnesses during the depositions. He normally works with the House Oversight Committee.
Who is on the Committee?
In addition to Schiff and Nunes, we may see questions from the 12 other Democrats and eight other Republicans who serve on the committee.
Democratic committee members include some big names, such as Reps. Jackie Speier and Eric Swalwell of California; Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas (twin brother of presidential candidate Julian Castro); and Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York. Orlando Rep. Val Demings is also on the committee.
Ahead of the hearings, Republican officials replaced Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas with Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio on the Intelligence Committee. Jordan, a Trump supporter, is well-known for his aggressive questioning during hearings.
Other notable Republicans on the committee include retiring Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, Rep. Michael Turner of Ohio, and Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York.
Spectrum News D.C. reporter Taylor Popielarz contributed to this report.