The Hearings

November 10, 2019

The story of President Trump and impeachment is very convoluted and fast-moving. As different witnesses testify for Congress, our understanding of the facts changes. This is an unbiased perspective on the Trump impeachment narrative.

 

So, how did this whole thing get started? The scandal became public in September of 2019, when an anonymous former CIA member in the White House filed a whistleblower complaint alleging wrongdoing of the President. 

 

The whistleblower claims that President Trump pressured Ukraine’s president, over a call, to dig up dirt on the son of one of his political rivals, Joe Biden. The call was allegedly covered up after the fact. Although the whistleblower alleges a wide scope of things against Mr. Trump, the impeachment inquiry is more narrow and focuses on the call. The President has denied all charges and says impeachment inquiry was started by “deep state” operatives in the government. 

 

As impeachment starts in the House, Democrats were able to begin proceedings. House Republicans unanimously opposed impeachment proceedings and only two democrats switched sides and voted against the impeachment inquiry. On October 31, the House voted to endorse a democratic proposal that will cause future hearings to be public. Not only will future hearings be public, but papers used in the inquiry will be publicized. The proposal also allows Trump’s legal team to make a defense. Even as this vote was happening, a top Russia expert on the National Security Council, privately testified that the US ambassador to the European Union told a Ukranian official that US security assistance would not be given until Ukraine began the aforementioned investigations. This vote is the third time in modern US history that the House has taken a vote on impeachment.

 

A memo that previews President Trump’s defense plan argues that Trump’s mindset is important in terms of the call to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. 

 

Going forward, in the week of November 11, eight witnesses are expected to testify publicly starting Wednesday. Among them are the former National Security Council Director Alexander Vindman, Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, and Kurt Volker, the former special envoy to Ukraine. Two state department officials, George Kent and William B. Taylor Jr., will begin the public testification on Wednesday.

 

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