Since impeachment proceedings were first announced we’ve been waiting...and waiting. And finally, on Wednesday, an open court impeachment hearing of the President will take place. Since the House of Representatives voted on Oct. 31 to move forward with a new, public proceeding style, anyone and everyone will be able to watch as three key players in the Ukraine scandal will make their way to the courtroom floor.
Today’s hearing will focus on three witnesses: George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European affairs; William “Bill” Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine; and Marie Yovanovitch, former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.
Both Kent and Yovanovitch describe interferences by Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Guiliani, who used some “unconventional” interferences in the duration of the Ukraine investigations and during the commencement of the impeachment inquiry.
Although many familiar faces will sit courtside to the questioning, the president himself won’t actually be there. Instead, Trump will be spending his day meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan following the U.S. withdrawal of troops from Syria. While the pair will be making a joint conference, other members of Congress will be sitting in on the hearings.
But, today's hearings don't necessarily require Trump's attendance. That’s because, according to the House-approved resolution, these open proceedings will first and foremost aim to expose whether or not Trump obstructed military aid in the Ukraine after the country failed to investigate his political opponent, former vice president Joe Biden. In order to do that, Congress needs to publicly try the three top aides, all of whom have already testified behind closed doors.
According to Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who will conduct today’s hearings, questioning will be held to the seriousness and professionalism that the public deserves. “The process will be fair to the President, the Committee Members, and the witnesses,” Schiff said in a letter to the House on Tuesday. “Above all, these hearings are intended to bring the facts to light for the American people."
This isn’t the first time that there’s been an effort to impeach Donald Trump over the course of his tenure as president, but it’s likely going to be the last — as public hearings will continue through next week, the Judiciary Committee will seek out its own hearing proceeding and if the House votes to impeach, Trump will go on to face a Senate vote.
Despite two U.S. presidents being impeached in the past, we’ve never had one completely removed from office, though powerful congressional staffers feel that the removal of our current leader is more than necessary. "The actions taken to date by the president have seriously violated the Constitution, especially when the president says, 'Article Two says I can do whatever I want'," Pelosi said when announcing the impeachment inquiry in September. “The president must be held accountable — no one is above the law.”