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How to watch the first public impeachment hearings this week

Republicans, Democrats clash on impeachment

The impeachment inquiry of President Trump enters a new phase this week with open hearings before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday and Friday. Democrats are investigating whether the president betrayed his oath of office and placed his personal interests above national security through his communications with the Ukrainian president. Mr. Trump is the fourth U.S. president to face an impeachment inquiry. 


How to watch the impeachment hearings this week


The House impeachment inquiry centers around a phone call Mr. Trump made to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on July 25, in which he urged Zelensky to investigate potential political opponent Joe Biden and his son, Hunter Biden, who sat on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian natural gas company, while the elder Biden was vice president. 

U.S. diplomats have testified before Congress behind closed doors that the president's political appointees and his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, were attempting to trade a White House meeting for the public announcement of investigations into the Bidens and any role Ukraine had in election interference in the 2016 presidential election. 

Text messages exchanged by the diplomats and testimony by several administration officials also mentioned that the White House had paused U.S. military aid funding to Ukraine over the summer as leverage for the public announcement sought by Giuliani and others.


Who is Marie Yovanovitch?

Yovanovitch was a U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who was removed from her post in the spring. She said Giuliani worked to have her removed from her post because he believed she was standing in the way of investigations into 2016 election interference and the Bidens. Her testimony lays out the workings of the "irregular" backchannel of foreign policymaking led by Giuliani.

Who is Bill Taylor?

William Taylor is the top U.S. diplomat to Ukraine, the chargé d'affaires. In his closed-door testimony in October, he said U.S. aid to Ukraine had been explicitly tied to Ukraine's willingness to investigate Mr. Trump's political rivals. He also spoke of an "irregular channel" of policymaking including Giuliani, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, U.S. Ambassador to the E.U. Gordon Sondland and Kurt Volker, special envoy to Ukraine. 

According to Taylor, there was a concerted effort by what he referred to as this "irregular, informal channel of U.S. policy-making" to pressure Ukraine to commit to opening investigations into unproven allegations of Ukrainian interference in the 2016 U.S. election, as well as into the gas company Burisma. 

Who is George Kent? 

George Kent is the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, and he provided closed testimony echoing Taylor's statements to Congress. He said three officials had declared themselves in charge of Ukraine policy in May: Sondland, Volker and Perry. 

Kent also said Giuliani had engaged in a "campaign of slander" with no basis in fact against U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.


House Intelligence Committee announces more public hearings
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