The House of Representatives on Wednesday is holding its first public hearings on the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
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House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) is the one leading the impeachment hearing, and he issued a lengthy statement, detailing the Democrats allegations against Trump.
“If we find the president of the United States and invited foreign interference in our elections ” or has engaged in quid pro quo actions with Ukraine “is this what Americans should now expect from their president?” he asked during the hearing.
House Intelligence ranking member Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said that Democrats “engaged in a last-ditch effort” to paint Trump as a “Russian agent,” which he said was an attempt on their part to overturn the 2016 election results.
Nunes suggested that impeachment inquiry was a continuation of the “Russian hoax.”
“This is a carefully orchestrated media smear campaign,” Nunes said.
The first two diplomats who are slated to testify are Bill Taylor and George Kent.
House Democrats have alleged that Trumps White House pressured Ukraine into investigating former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, and created an “irregular channel.” Hunter Biden had sat on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, Burisma Holdings, while his father was in office.
Trump has frequently denied the claims and called the impeachment hearings a sham.
“Also, why is corrupt politician Schiff allowed to hand over cross-examination to a high priced outside lawyer. Did that lawyer ever work for me, which would be a conflict?” Trump wrote on Twitter on Wednesday.
Taylor, a career diplomat and former U.S. Army officer, previously served as U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and is now the chargé daffaires of the U.S. embassy in Kyiv. Kent oversees Ukraine policy at the State Department.
Taylor and Kent, who had already agreed to testify but still received subpoenas to appear, arrived separately under heavy security, later taking their seats at the witness table, surrounded by news photographers.
Trumps fellow Republicans, who will also be able to question the witnesses, have crafted a defense strategy that will argue he did nothing wrong when he asked Ukraines new president to investigate alleged corruption involving former U.S. vice president Joe Biden and his son.
Schiff, meanwhile, said that the whistleblower at the center of the impeachment inquiry should not be named. Ethics violations might be levied against lawmakers who do so, he said.
In a memo (pdf) to the panels members on Tuesday, Schiff wrote that “it is important to underscore that the Houses impeachment inquiry, and the Committee, will not serve as venues for any Member to further the same sham investigations into the Bidens or into debunked conspiracies about 2016 U.S. eleRead More – Source