The public phase of Democratic-run impeachment hearings is about to begin, with three key witnesses scheduled to appear next week, Rep. Adam Schiff announced.
First to speak in a hearing involving three Democratic-run committees will be Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, who raised alarms in internal messages about holding up U.S. military aide.
Taylor testified last month that he was told that U.S. security military aid to the country was contingent on Kiev putting out a statement they were investigating the Bidens and the 2016 election.
His testimony was buttressed on Tuesday by ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland, who testifies he personally told a top Ukrainian official the aid was likely contingent on a public statement about investigating corruption.
Among those testifying before the cameras will be Marie Yavanovich, the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was pushed out of her post after a campaign to undermine her by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Yavanonovich testified in private that she was never told why she was removed from her post.
The first witness to speak to the nation will be Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine who wrote in a a text message he thought it was ‘crazy’ to link U.S. military support to that country with a push for investigations related to a political campaign.
House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff announced public impeachment hearings will begin next week
George Kent, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs also will testify.
‘Today, Chairman Adam Schiff announced that on Wednesday, November 13, 2019, and Friday, November 15, 2019 the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence will hold its first open hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald J. Trump,’ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a statement, saying additional details would come later.
Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch (C) is among those who will testify in public
Schiff announced the schedule of public hearings on Twitter
Bill Taylor testified he was told that American military aid to Ukraine was contingent on Kiev putting out a statement they were investigating the Bidens
President Donald Trump wanted a probe of Bursima, a Ukraine company with Hunter Biden on its board, and unproven allegations on the 2016 election
BILL TAYLOR’S MOST DAMNING QUOTES
ON TRUMP AND UKRAINE
The following day, on September 8, Ambassador Sondland and I spoke on the phone. He said he had talked to President Trump as I had suggested a week earlier, but that president Trump was adamant that President Zelenskyy, himself, had to ‘clear things up and do it in public.’ President Trump said it was not a ‘quid pro quo.’
Ambassador Sondland said that he had talked to President Zelenskyy and Mr. Yermak and told them that, although this was not a quid pro quo, if President Zelenskyy did not ‘clear things up’ in public, we would be at a ‘stalemate.’
I understood a ‘stalemate’ to mean that Ukraine would not receive the much-needed military assistance.
Ambassador Sondland said that this conversation concluded with President Zelenskyy agreeing to make a public statement in an interview with CNN.
ON HOW TRUMP WANTED UKRAINE IN ‘A BOX’
… in fact Ambassador Sondland said, “everything” was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance. He said that President Trump wanted to put President Zelenskyy ‘in a public box’ by making a public statement about ordering such investigations.
ON WHAT SONDLAND TOLD UKRAINE’S LEADERS FACE TO FACE
Ambassador Sondland told Mr. Yermak that the security assistance money would not come until President Zelenskyy committed to pursue the Bursisma investigation.
ON WHAT TRUMP WANTED
...on September 8, Ambassador Sondland and I spoke on the phone. He said he had talked to President Trump as I had suggested a week earlier, but that president Trump was adamant that President Zelenskyy, himself, had to clear things up and do it in public.’ President Trump said it was not a ‘quid pro quo.’
ON TRUMP’S UNDERSTANDING OF QUID PRO QUO
…Ambassador Sondland tried to explain to me that President Trump is a businessman. When a businessman is about to sign a check to someone who owes him something, he said, the businessman asks that person to pay up before signing the check.
According to leaked testimony, Taylor testified that, ‘President Trump did insist that President Zelensky go to a microphone and say that he is opening investigations of Biden and 2016 election interference, and that President Zelenskyy should want to do this himself.’
Taylor said Trump wanted to put Zelensky in a ‘public box’ of committing to those probes before sitting down with him, The Washington Post reported.
He also told lawmakers about a ‘parallel’ foreign policy outside of regular chanels that he found highly unusual.
In a statement he described a phone call with Sondland. ‘During that phone call, Amb. Sondland told me that President Trump had told him that he wants President Zelensky to state publicly that Ukraine will investigate Burisma and alleged Ukrainian interference in the 2016 election,’ he said.
Amid what Democrats call a ‘shadow’ foreign policy on Ukraine, Kent, a top diplomat on Ukraine issues, testified that he was left out of the loop.
Kent, is the deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.
‘Here is a senior State Department official responsible for six countries, one of which is Ukraine, who found himself outside of a parallel process that he felt was undermining 28 years of U.S. policy and promoting the rule of law in Ukraine,” Rep. Gerry Connolly told the New York Times after his testimony.
But Republicans, who have been defending President Trump amid the inquiry, will have some material to work with during the hearing.
Kent also reportedly testified that he raised concerns back in 2015 during the Obama administration when Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, took a lucrative position on the boar of Ukrainian energy company Burisma.
House Intelligence chair Rep. Adam Schiff of California wrote on Twitter: ‘Next week, the House Intelligence Committee will hold its first open hearings as part of the impeachment inquiry. On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, we will hear from William Taylor and George Kent. On Friday, November 15, 2019, we will hear from Marie Yovanovitch. More to come.’
Democrats haven’t specified where the hearings will be head or if members of all three committees conducting an impeachment probe will be allowed to participate.
The televised spectacle has the potential to grip the nation in a way that closed hearings in a basement room of the Capitol have not. Televised impeachment hearings of Richard Nixon were considered critical to moving public opinion against the president.