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Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) announced on Twitter Wednesday that his committee will hold its first public impeachment hearings next week.

Driving the news: On Wednesday, Nov. 13, the committee will interview top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor and State Department official George Kent. On Friday, Nov. 15, the committee will interview former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch.

Why it matters: The move from closed-door interviews to public testimony is a significant step in the impeachment inquiry and an indication of how quickly the House investigation into Trump and Ukraine is moving.

The big picture: Taylor, a respected career diplomat, told House investigators last month that Trump conditioned the release of military aid on the Ukrainian president's willingness to promise to investigate natural gas company Burisma and alleged interference in the 2016 election. The desired investigations involved Joe Biden and the Democratic National Committee, two of Trump's domestic political opponents.

  • Kent, the deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, testified that he was told to "lay low" on Ukraine matters, and that he was edged out on Ukraine policy by EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland, special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and Energy Secretary Rick Perry, per the New York Times.
  • Marie Yovanovitch testified in private that Rudy Giuliani and his associates led a campaign to have her ousted over allegations that she was blocking Ukraine from opening these investigations, and that she spoke negatively about the president. A transcript of her testimony was released earlier this week.

Between the lines: Committee sources tell Axios' Alayna Treene their goal is to keep the public hearings narrowly focused so that it's both easy for the American public to follow and helps accelerate the impeachment timeline. They're focused on bringing in the career officials who revealed the most about Trump and Ukraine — meaning don't expect many new names or faces as the inquiry shifts to a more public setting.

Go deeper: Gordon Sondland testifies that Ukraine aid was conditioned on Biden investigation

Go deeper

House passes $1.9 trillion COVID relief package

Photo: Screenshot via C-SPAN

The House approved President Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID relief package on a 219-212 vote early Saturday morning, sending it to the Senate for a possible rewrite before it gets to Biden's desk.

The big picture: The vote was a critical first step for the package, which includes $1,400 cash payments for many Americans, a national vaccination program, ramped-up COVID testing and contact tracing, state and local funding and money to help schools reopen.

8 hours ago - Health

Biden says it's "not the time to relax" after touring vaccination site

President Biden speaking after visiting a FEMA Covid-19 vaccination facility in Houston on Feb. 26. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden said Friday that "it's not the time to relax" coronavirus mitigation efforts and warned that the number of cases and hospitalizations could rise again as new variants of the virus emerge.

Why it matters: Biden, who made the remarks after touring a vaccination site in Houston, echoed CDC director Rochelle Walensky, who said earlier on Friday that while the U.S. has seen a recent drop in cases and hospitalizations, "these declines follow the highest peak we have experienced in the pandemic."

Updated 8 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

  1. Health: Most COVID-19 survivors can weather risk of reinfection, study says — "Twindemic" averted as flu reports plummet amid coronavirus crisis
  2. Vaccine: FDA advisory panel endorses J&J COVID vaccine for emergency use — About 20% of U.S. adults have received first vaccine dose, White House says — New data reignites the debate over coronavirus vaccine strategy.
  3. Economy: What's really going on with the labor market.
  4. Local: All adult Minnesotans will likely be eligible for COVID-19 vaccine by summer — Another wealthy Florida community receives special access to COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Sports: Poll weighs impact of athlete vaccination.