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Politics The real reasons Democrats want open impeachment hearings

02:50  13 november  2019
02:50  13 november  2019 Source:   vox.com

Touting membership cards, Trump campaign steps up anti-impeachment Facebook ads

  Touting membership cards, Trump campaign steps up anti-impeachment Facebook ads President Donald Trump's re-election campaign is ramping up a Facebook ad blitz.(Pictured) Donald Trump, accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks on Oct. 23 in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.

Democrats say they want open impeachment hearings to get the American people on board and The open hearings , then, will serve as part ongoing examination, part public relations campaign The real reasons Democrats want open impeachment hearings . A Republican memo details the

House Democrats have released a resolution that calls for “ open and investigative proceedings” in the impeachment inquiry against President Trump “[T]he next phase will move from closed depositions to open hearings where the American people will learn firsthand about the President’s misconduct

Witness after witness after witness in the House Democrat-led impeachment inquiry has outlined a clear quid pro quo in which Trump and his administration withheld US military aid from Ukraine in order to compel the new Ukrainian president to open investigations that would benefit Trump politically in the 2020 presidential election.

Jerrold Nadler, Carolyn Maloney, Adam Schiff, Eliot Engel are posing for a picture: House Democrats hold a news conference following the passage of a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry on October 31, 2019 in Washington, DC. © Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images House Democrats hold a news conference following the passage of a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry on October 31, 2019 in Washington, DC.

And yet House Democrats are holding public hearings this week — prolonging the investigation and, crucially, a vote on whether or not to impeach the president.

Nunes brands impeachment hearing 'low-rent, Ukrainian sequel' to Russia collusion

  Nunes brands impeachment hearing 'low-rent, Ukrainian sequel' to Russia collusion House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Devin Nunes kicked off the first public hearing of the impeachment probe by dismissing the allegations against President Trump.Nunes addressed Wednesday's witnesses, Acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor and State Department official George Kent, stating that they are being used in a "televised theatrical performance staged by the Democrats," after accusing Democrats of selecting witnesses "deemed suitable for television" and auditioning them during the closed-door sessions at the beginning of the inquiry.

The biggest question people have surrounding this impeachment push is if the Democrats don't have a crime, why are they bothering to go through with the

On the substance, Democrats have won the first two weeks of the impeachment hearings by a TKO. Republicans will now begin to emphasize that none of the European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland testifies during Wednesday's impeachment hearings . Ron Sachs - CNP / MEGA. More from

The question, then, is why? Why continue the probe and commit to days of open testimony that will almost certainly devolve into a partisan political circus? Especially when some Democrats involved in the inquiry say they already have enough to impeach Trump?

According to Democratic House members and aides I spoke to, there are two main reasons. First, they believe that the process of impeaching a president requires a completed probe. “We have a responsibility to follow through with the full investigation,” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), a member of the House Intelligence Committee that leads the inquiry, told me Thursday. Democrats, it seems, have yet to decide whether or not articles of impeachment against the president should be brought up.

New testimony ties Trump more directly to Ukraine pressure campaign

  New testimony ties Trump more directly to Ukraine pressure campaign The acting ambassador to Ukraine described a phone call in which the president checked on the status of “the investigations.”William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine, told lawmakers that the phone conversation between the president and U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland in Kyiv was overheard by one of his aides. Afterward, Sondland told the aide that Trump cared more about investigations of former vice president Joe Biden than other issues in Ukraine, Taylor said.

The revelation came as Democrats opened the first public impeachment hearing in more than two decades, moving into the After Mr. Taylor testified that military aid for Ukraine was withheld and conditioned on Ukraine launching the investigations that Mr. Trump wanted , Mr. Jordan jumped on

Republicans don’t want impeachment at all. From their point of view, they don’t care if Trump has committed crimes. They care about staying in power; which requires pandering The Democrats care about moving impeachment along, but their bigger concern is conducting the proceedings by the book.

Second, Democrats say they must hold hearings on camera so that the American people can see what investigators have already learned behind the scenes — and perhaps glean some new information. “The importance of public hearings is to make the case to the American people,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), a House Oversight Committee member involved in the inquiry, told me.

The open hearings, then, will serve as part ongoing examination, part public relations campaign before any steps are taken to impeach the president (or not). Which means the next few days and weeks will likely be particularly raucous, both on Capitol Hill and across the country.

Democrats say the benefits of open impeachment hearings outweigh the costs

The closed-doors hearings have uncovered an established, indisputable fact pattern: that there was a quid pro quo with Ukraine and that the president is implicated in it.

Taylor testifies he was told Trump cared more about 'investigations' than Ukraine

  Taylor testifies he was told Trump cared more about 'investigations' than Ukraine William Taylor said U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland told a member of his staff in July that President Trump cared more about an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden than he did about Ukraine. Taylor described the conversation relayed to him last week by a member of his staff during his opening remarks at the first hearing in the House impeachment inquiry on Wednesday.

The fourth day of televised impeachment hearings has heard arguably the most important testimony yet. The Democratic -led inquiry is trying to determine if President Trump The impeachment saga involves a vast cast but one of the central figures is President Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani.

Democratic Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi has refused to hold a chamber-wide vote to authorise the impeachment inquiry, despite As it stands, several House committees, all chaired by Democrats , are investigating the president, looking for evidence to support impeachment .

But Democrats I spoke with said that outside of Washington and the politicians, political junkies, and journalists obsessively following the nitty-gritty details of the investigation, most Americans are far less up to speed on what the investigation has uncovered.

The public hearings will give Democrats a chance to change that.

“Many of the Democrats who won seats in key districts have come out in favor of an impeachment inquiry, but they haven’t endorsed impeachment,” a Democratic congressional aide told me. “There’s a need to shore up support from people in their districts, and ideally put more pressure on Republican senators.

“Video and audio are powerful mediums for humans,” the staffer continued. “The facts of Watergate were well established, but it was the Nixon tapes that sunk him.”

Yet some Democrats worry that prolonging the impeachment inquiry could lead to unnecessary stumbles. For instance, witnesses may not be as frank on camera as they were speaking behind closed doors in a Capitol Hill basement.

Still, most Democrats say that the benefits outweigh the potential costs.

Read: William Taylor's opening statement at impeachment hearing

  Read: William Taylor's opening statement at impeachment hearing Read: William Taylor's opening statement at impeachment hearing(Pictured) Donald Trump, accompanied by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaks on Oct. 23 in the Diplomatic Room of the White House in Washington, D.C.

New public opinion polls are moving against Democrats on impeachment as independents sour on the House inquiry and increasingly express opposition to the hearings that have consumed Washington in recent weeks.

Some Progressive Democrats have joined calls for an impeachment inquiry, arguing that it will strengthen the party’s efforts to stop President Trump’s stonewalling. WASHINGTON — A bloc of liberal Democrats began pressing on Tuesday for an impeachment inquiry of President Trump

The open sessions will also introduce most members of Congress to the facts of the case. Only three House committees — Intelligence, Oversight, and Foreign Affairs — have participated so far, making the majority of lawmakers unfamiliar with what’s been said in the closed testimonies. Giving them intimate familiarity with the quid pro quo evidence might steady them against skeptical constituents.

Finally, most say Democrats just have a duty to keep the American people informed about something as consequential as impeachment. “It’s important that Americans hear the evidence for themselves directly from these witnesses,” Castro told me.

Khanna agrees: “We have had the grand jury investigation phase where the evidence is overwhelming. Now we are in the trial phase to present that evidence simply and convince our fellow citizens and senators that the president compromised our national security and abused his office.”

The timeline for wrapping the entire House impeachment drama is still in flux. But the consensus for now is to have open hearings done before the Thanksgiving recess — “though that’s not hard and fast,” one staffer told me — and to hold a floor vote on articles of impeachment by mid-December. “It’ll partially depend on how hearings go next week,” another Democratic aide said.

“Everyone’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth,” the first staffer concluded.

Which means the sessions this week won’t just serve as a political spectacle, they’ll also be the compass for the direction the impeachment process is heading. That makes them even more consequential than they’re already expected to be.

Read George Kent Full Opening Statement at the First Public Hearing in Trump’s Impeachment Inquiry .
The U.S. State Department official with decades of experience in Ukraine policy appeared Wednesday morning before the House Intelligence Committee. Both officials have expressed alarm in previous closed-door testimonies about Trump’s conduct with regards to Ukraine — highlighting allegations that he pressured President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate his political rival, Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden, and used his personal attorney Rudy Giuliani to subvert normal diplomatic channels in this pursuit.

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