Open impeachment hearings: first day

On Wednesday, William Taylor and George Kent, who have already spoken at closed hearings, give public testimony.

The House of Representatives on Wednesday began holding public hearings as part of the investigation into the impeachment of President Donald Trump.

At 10 a.m., the first public hearings began with William Taylor, who heads the US Embassy in Ukraine, and George Kent, Deputy Assistant Secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs.

At the beginning of the meeting, the head of the Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, addressed the meeting with an opening speech. He highlighted the main points of the congressional investigation and emphasized its importance to the country.

“If this is not conduct (entailing) impeachment, what is it?”- said Schiff about the telephone conversations of Donald Trump with Vladimir Zelensky and the events that accompanied them.
Schiff stressed that the public hearings “are designed to reveal the facts to the American people.”

Republican lawmaker Devin Nunes, who then spoke, criticized the way Democrats, who control the Committee and the House of Representatives as a whole, conduct the investigation.
In particular, Nunes spoke out against allegations of cooperation of the Trump campaign staff with Russia.

Nunes called the hearing “a theatrical performance broadcast on television.” According to him, this production is harmful to the country.

In his opening statement, Kent said Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani and others were waging a campaign designed to tarnish the reputation of former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovicth.

He also said that Giuliani’s attempts to achieve “politically motivated investigations” have affected relations with Ukraine. He added that he did not think it appropriate for the US to ask other countries to conduct “selective politically associated investigations into opponents in power.”

As the witness told, the American officials consistently achieved a restart of investigation concerning the founder of the Burisma Company in Ukraine. According to Kent, the US believes that Ukrainian prosecutors received bribes to close the investigation. Kent added that he had expressed concern that Hunter Biden’s work at the company suggested a conflict of interest, but he had never noticed any attempts to protect the company in the United States.

According to the plan, later in the meeting, Adam Schiff and the top Republican on the Committee, Devin Nunes, will begin asking witnesses questions. Each of them is allocated 45 minutes.

There are five minutes for each Committee member to ask questions: Republicans and Democrats must take turns asking questions.

Various materials will also be presented. Democrats are expected to show excerpts from transcripts, text messages, news articles, and social media posts.
The hearing is scheduled to be completed by 16.30.