Rep. Adam Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee and the individual charged with leading the House impeachment inquiry, announced on Wednesday that public hearings for the inquiry would begin starting next week.
The first public hearing is slated to happen on Wednesday, November 13, and will feature two individuals: the chargé d’affaires for Ukraine Bill Taylor and State Department official George Kent, NBC News reported.
Another hearing was scheduled for next week Friday, on November 15. That public hearing will feature former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.
“These will be the first of the public hearings,” Schiff said, implying that more public hearings would be scheduled in the future. Schiff also left open the probability that more individuals may be called to give depositions, not just those who have already spoken in closed-door hearings in the past couple of weeks.
The public hearings will be an “opportunity for the American people to evaluate the witnesses themselves,” Schiff added.
The impeachment inquiry focuses on a supposed quid pro quo that President Donald Trump presented to Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky, in which he allegedly demanded investigations be opened up against a political rival, Joe Biden, in order for the U.S. to send military aid to Kyiv.
As previously reported on by HillReporter.com, Taylor noted in his opening statement behind a closed-door deposition that an “irregular” backchannel existed for issues related to Ukraine, which included some officials at the State Department, but also Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.
Here we go: public impeachment hearings to start next week https://t.co/pl0dGgeg6x
— Mother Jones (@MotherJones) November 6, 2019
Taylor testified that he had confronted EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland about the conditions being placed on Ukraine military aid. In a text message to Sondland, Taylor wrote “it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”
The deposition by Taylor, as well as the text messages that he and others in the State Department exchanged, provide evidence in Democrats’ eyes that the quid pro quo existed, beyond the concerns of a whistleblower who brought about worries over Trump’s words to Zelensky during a July 25 phone conversation between the two leaders.