Impeachment hearings go public next week: Here’s what you can expect

Impeachment hearings go public next week: Here’s what you can expect
The next phase of the impeachment inquiry into U.S. President Donald Trump goes public next week.

The televised hearings will be the first open testimonies since the inquiry was launched into the Republican president on Sept. 24.

It revolves around a July 25th phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy in which Trump asked for a “favour” from him — investigate his Democratic political rival, former Vice-President Joe Biden, and his family, for dealings in Ukraine.

The public hearings are the next phase of the impeachment investigation. So far, the case has taken place behind closed doors.

That changes next week.

Last week, the U.S. House approved a resolution that formalizes the public hearings, authorizes the release of transcripts from the closed-door testimonies, and allows evidence to be shared with the president’s counsel.

Transcripts from the testimonies have been released in batches since then, bringing new clarity to what was said before committee members.

Afterward, the House Intelligence Committee, which has been tapped to lead the investigation, will submit a report with its findings and recommendations. The final recommendation on whether to continue impeachment will be left to the House Judiciary Committee.

The White House and Republicans have continuously criticized the process as a “sham,” but next week’s hearings will be the first “opportunity for the American people to evaluate and witness for themselves,” as U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff put it.

Democrats are vying for broad public support as they push the process forward. Should they move to formally impeach Trump, which could happen as early as December, the inquiry would move to a trial in the Senate, which is controlled by the Republicans.

The hearings will be broadcast live on Nov. 13 and 15 with both Democratic and Republican committee staff and lawmakers questioning all witnesses.

Both Schiff, who is leading the investigation, and Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the panel’s top Republican, will each be able to question witnesses.

Democrats are also likely to use the hearings to show that Trump obstructed justice, which is the basis of another possible article of impeachment, pertaining to blocking some witnesses from appearing. The White House has also said it would not cooperate.
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