Nov 6, 2019

Adam Schiff announces first public House impeachment hearings

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

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The highlights from all of the public impeachment hearings

The view before Marie Yovanovitch's impeachment hearing. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House Intelligence Committee wrapped up on Thursday its planned schedule of public testimony in its impeachment inquiry, holding seven hearings with 12 witnesses over the past two weeks.

The big picture: The committee heard hours of testimony from witnesses who were both working on the ground in Ukraine and within the Trump administration at the time of the alleged White House pressure campaign against the Ukrainian government to secure an investigation into the Biden family's business dealings.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 22, 2019

A viewer's guide to the impeachment hearings

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos by Alex Wong via Getty Images, and Maxym Marusenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images

The next phase of impeachment begins at 10 a.m. today with the first public hearing about President Trump's actions toward Ukraine — so here's a look at the witnesses you're likely to see.

Why it matters: Impeachment so far has been a messy and confusing process, with so many subplots that it's easy to lose track of what really matters: whether Trump held up military aid and a White House meeting with Ukraine's new president in exchange for a public promise to investigate Joe Biden's family.

Go deeperArrowNov 13, 2019

Trump impeachment hearing: Highlights from Bill Taylor's and George Kent's testimonies

George Kent (L) and Bill Taylor. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent testified Wednesday in the House's first public impeachment hearing.

Driving the news: In a new revelation, Taylor testified that a member of his staff overheard EU Ambassador Gordon Sondland on July 26 discussing "the investigations" on a phone call with Trump. When the staffer asked Sondland what Trump thought of Ukraine, "Ambassador Sondland responded that President Trump cares more about the investigations of Biden, which Giuliani was pressing for," Taylor said.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Nov 13, 2019