Public Impeachment Hearings To Begin Next Week

Get the popcorn and your favorite beverage ready.

The House Intelligence Committee announced this afternoon that the first public hearings in the ongoing impeachment investigation against the President would begin next week, starting a process that is sure to put impeachment on the front burner for the remainder of the year:

The House will begin holding public impeachment hearings next week, Democrats announced Wednesday, a move that marks the end of the closed-door phase of their inquiry and brings lawmakers one step closer to impeaching President Donald Trump.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), whose panel is leading the impeachment inquiry, said the first hearing will take place on Nov. 13. It is expected to feature William Taylor, the top diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, a deputy assistant secretary of State — two key figures in the Ukraine scandal endangering Trump’s presidency.

The second hearing will take place two days later, on Nov. 15; Marie Yovanovitch, who was pushed out as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine after a smear campaign backed by Trump, is slated to testify.

The Intelligence panel is expected to hold several additional public hearings as Democrats seek to make the case that Trump abused the power of his office when he pressured Ukraine’s leaders to investigate his political opponents.

“Those open hearings will be an opportunity for the American people to evaluate the witnesses for themselves, to make their own determinations about the credibility of the witnesses, but also to learn first-hand about the facts of the president’s misconduct,” Schiff told reporters.

Investigators are also still hearing testimony from witnesses behind closed doors, with David Hale, the third highest-ranking official at the State Department, appearing on Wednesday.

Democrats consider Taylor and Yovanovitch among the most compelling witnesses to Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian officials to investigate his political rivals, which is central to the impeachment inquiry.

“I think you will see throughout the course of the testimony — not only their testimony but many others — the most important facts are largely not contested,” Schiff said.

This will mark an important turning point in the impeachment investigation in that it will move a process that has largely taken place behind closed doors out into public. From this point forward, Americans will be able to hear for themselves what until now has only been reported on by television and print reporters or in the written statements that have been released to the public. It is expected that, eventually, all of the people who have testified behind closed doors — including people such as Lt. Col. Richard Vindman, Ambassador William Taylor, Ambassador Maria Yovanoctich, and Ambassador Gordon Sondland — will be testifying in public regarding their knowledge of the Trump Administration’s demands that Ukraine investigate both Hunter and Joe Biden and the discredited conspiracy theory that it was the previous Ukrainian government that interfered in the 2016 election to aid the Clinton campaign rather than the Russians in aid of the Trump campaign.

These hearings will differ significantly from previous hearings that we’ve seen, and it will do so in ways that are likely to make it easier for members of the general public to understand what’s going on. First of all, rather than questioning being conducted exclusively by Committee members, the principal questioning would be conducted by Majority and Minority Staff Counsel. Additionally, for at least the first round of questioning each questioner, including staff counsel, would get 45 minutes to use as they choose. For those who remember the Iran/Contra Hearings in 1987, this is similar to the procedure that was used then and it has the advantage of allowing questioners to develop a line of questioning in a way that the previous procedure of limiting each member to five minutes each simply doesn’t. This is a positive development that will allow the hearings to be far more substantive than they have been in the past.

It’s unclear how long this part of the process will last, but given the number of witnesses that the committee wants to hear from it is likely that this period will extend beyond Thanksgiving and into December. What this means for the overall impeachment calendar is unclear, but it does cast doubt on the idea that there will be a floor vote on impeachment before Christmas. In any case, get the popcorn or other snacks of choice, and whatever beverages you may prefer, ready because the truly historic part of this is about to start.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Donald Trump, Impeachment, Politicians, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Kathy says:

    I don’t remember exactly why, whether we were on finals or on vacation from school, but I did watch a large portion of the Iran-Contra hearings. I think they were on for weeks, right?

    Back then, we had NBC, ABC, and CBS affiliates available on cable, and they carried the hearings live. this time around, I suppose they’ll run live on CNN. But this time I surely won’t have the time to watch live, as I’ll certainly be working.

    About my only big question is what stupid objection the deplorables will raise now.

    ReplyReply
  2. Teve says:

    @Kathy: when it was private they complained it was private, now that it’s public they’ll complain it’s public.

    ReplyReply
    10
  3. CSK says:

    @Teve: Well, JKB should be happy.

    ReplyReply
  4. Moosebreath says:

    @CSK:

    “Well, JKB should be happy.”

    I’ll take the other side of that bet.

    ReplyReply
    15
  5. CSK says:

    @Moosebreath: But…but JKB was asking for public hearings just a few hours ago. Surely this should please him.

    ReplyReply
  6. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:
    Missed Iran/Contra due to work, but did see much of the Nixon hearings when I should have been studying. Distinctly remember the John Dean testimony, probably because I focused too much on Maureen Dean sitting behind him. What can I say I was young and…

    But it will be entertaining to see how the Repugs obfuscate and try to divert attention to the tiniest of details.

    I wonder if Faux News will cover them.

    ReplyReply
  7. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    We know some of the code they use.

    Fake means any negative coverage on Trump, especially if the facts strongly support it.

    Unfair means holding trump to account as though he were a mere mortal.

    Deep State are career civil servants, especially those who follow laws, rules, and ethical guidelines.

    ReplyReply
  8. An Interested Party says:

    I wonder how Republicans on this committee will be doing their master’s bidding…I mean, can fools like Devin Nunes look more ridiculous than they already do…

    ReplyReply
  9. Rob in CT says:

    Welp. It’s been years since I’ve bothered commenting here. All the shit I was worried about back then is 100% worse now. The constant lying (I remember thinking, oh man, about how dishonest the 2012 Romney campaign was), the lawlessness, the sheer refusal to accept the legitimacy of liberals… and here we are.

    GOP delenda est. That’s it. That’s all of it.

    ETA: no, that’s not all of it. RW media is a cancer. It spews lies constantly about everything. I have no solution. There may not be one, unless complete disaster strikes. It’s awful. VOTE.

    ReplyReply
    10
  10. Moosebreath says:

    @CSK:

    “But…but JKB was asking for public hearings just a few hours ago. Surely this should please him.”

    Think of it as yet another illustration of Cleek’s Law:

    “Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.”

    ReplyReply
  11. Moosebreath says:

    @Rob in CT:

    Good to see you again, Rob.

    ReplyReply
  12. Kathy says:

    @Moosebreath:

    Think of it as yet another illustration of Cleek’s Law:

    “Today’s conservatism is the opposite of what liberals want today, updated daily.”

    Shouldn’t Liberals then come out in support of Conservatism? Or is that the one holy exception? 😛

    ReplyReply
  13. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    About my only big question is what stupid objection the deplorables will raise now.

    The DemoncRATs aren’t allowing them to call witnesses, and (((Adam Schiff))) is an antisemite. Also, deep state. Also, too, the Whistleblower is anti-Trump and that means the entire process is the fruit of the poisoned tree.

    And, I think Barr is planning on releasing a report on the origins of the Russia investigation.

    ReplyReply
  14. An Interested Party says:

    Shouldn’t Liberals then come out in support of Conservatism? Or is that the one holy exception?

    These days, many liberals seem a lot more conservative than many so-called conservatives…of course, that comes with supporting Trump…

    ReplyReply
  15. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: No exception needed.

    Obama was basically a conservative. He was demonized for implementing the conservative response to HillaryCare, which had been suggested by the Heritage Foundation, and previously implemented at a state level by conservative Mittens Romney.

    ReplyReply
  16. PJ says:

    @Gustopher:
    It’s DEMONcRATs.

    ReplyReply
  17. JKB says:

    Marie Yovanovitch, who was pushed out as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine after a smear campaign backed by Trump

    Presidents don’t push ambassadors out, they relieve them. Ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the President.

    But this is the revealing part, that so many believe the duly elected President is subordinate to the career EMPLOYEES. The opinion of staff does not supersede the decision of the duly elected President.

    ReplyReply
    16
  18. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    I don’t think I even knew who Nixon was when the Watergate hearings were being held. In fact, the first US president I can remember, meaning I knew he was the US president, is Jimmy Carter.

    ReplyReply
  19. JKB says:

    @CSK: But…but JKB was asking for public hearings just a few hours ago.

    Actually, I was calling for public, adversarial proceedings with equal rights for both the persecuting Democrats, Republicans and the accused President Trump.

    Removing a President should not be done by campus star chamber methods.

    In any case, the American people will have the opportunity to vote for/against Trump and to vote for/against the House members and 1/3rd of the senators involved in this shampeachment in less than a year.

    ReplyReply
    16
  20. Scott says:

    @JKB: He is not on trial; that is the Senate. However, it would be worth it just to have Trump put on the stand under oath.

    ReplyReply
  21. An Interested Party says:

    However, it would be worth it just to have Trump put on the stand under oath.

    Ha! He’d be eaten alive…there’s a reason he never sat down for an interview with Mueller…

    ReplyReply
  22. Teve says:

    He is not on trial; that is the Senate.

    people have explained that to him a dozen times. His behavior is that of a person with a severe learning disability.

    ReplyReply
  23. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:
    You’re such a youngn 🙂

    ReplyReply
  24. JKB says:

    @Scott:

    So this is just partisan “prosecutors” smearing their victim in the press without, or before they actually make a formal accusation and the matter is subject to an adversarial hearing process.

    Americans understand due process and this isn’t it.

    ReplyReply
    13
  25. Kari Q says:

    @Kathy:

    Shouldn’t Liberals then come out in support of Conservatism? Or is that the one holy exception?

    We used to say that Obama should come out in favor of breathing, just so we could see Republicans hold their breath till they passed out.

    ReplyReply
  26. Gustopher says:

    @JKB:

    Presidents don’t push ambassadors out, they relieve them. Ambassadors serve at the pleasure of the President.

    Well, this President seems to be unwilling to fire people, and asks other people to fire them for him. He can only fire people on tv.

    But this is the revealing part, that so many believe the duly elected President is subordinate to the career EMPLOYEES. The opinion of staff does not supersede the decision of the duly elected President.

    If the decision of the duly elected President is illegal, they have an obligation to refuse to carry it out, and report it if he does it.

    And, if their professional opinion is that the President’s decisions are not in American interests, or represent a significant change with potentially bad consequences, they have an obligation and responsibility to point that out, and slow walk implementation until the President is fully informed.

    And, finally, the duly elected President is also an employee.

    ReplyReply
  27. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: His behavior is that of a person willfully ignoring reality.

    @JKB:

    Americans understand due process and this isn’t it.

    Disagree on both counts.

    This is due process, just not a criminal court process. That comes later.

    ReplyReply
  28. DrDaveT says:

    @JKB:

    But this is the revealing part, that so many believe the duly elected President is subordinate to the LAW.

    FTFY.

    ReplyReply
  29. DrDaveT says:

    @JKB:

    So this is just partisan “prosecutors” smearing their victim in the press without, or before they actually make a formal accusation and the matter is subject to an adversarial hearing process.

    Yes, I remember you forcefully making this same argument during the “Benghazi” fiasco, when…

    Ah. Sorry. My bad.

    (You really are pathetic; you realize that, right?)

    ReplyReply
  30. JKB says:

    @Gustopher: And, finally, the duly elected President is also an employee.

    Nope, the President is a Constitutional Officer. One with powers vested in them by the Constitution. Everyone else in the Executive Branch have only delegated power form the President.

    ReplyReply
  31. Mikey says:

    @JKB: Why don’t you just say what everyone knows you and the rest of the Trump cultisrs believe: this President is above the law and his powers may not be questioned.

    ReplyReply
  32. Zachriel says:

    @JKB: Everyone else in the Executive Branch have only delegated power form the President.

    The government is essentially on loan from the legislature to the executive, and even that is with significant restrictions.

    ReplyReply
  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Mikey:
    Because neither @JKB nor anyone else can defend Trump without lying. Not misstating – lying.

    ReplyReply
  34. Tyrell says:

    Nope. Since I got a Firestick I have 100 times more choices of everything. There seem to be unlimited horror movies. There are apps that get all the games.
    Watching the wrinkle cream infomercials is more interesting than those Congressional hearings. Your tax dollars at work.
    “Everybody’s doing it.”

    ReplyReply
  35. Pylon says:

    @Gustopher:

    Heck, it resembles criminal process, with indictment followed by trial more than most congressional proceedings. BTW, JKB, where do you get the idea Trump is being denied counsel at the upcoming hearing.

    At the end of the day, even if the Senate has no chance of conviction, this process will provide the voting public more information about Trump’s methods. Who can be opposed to that?

    ReplyReply

Speak Your Mind

*