After weeks of closed door hearings, the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump’s actions regarding Ukraine and the Bidens goes live today at 10 a.m. Eastern time.
Democrats will try to make their case to the American people that Trump committed “high crime and misdemeanors” worthy of impeachment. They key allegation is this: Trump withheld military aid to Ukraine in a bid to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open an investigation into Hunter Biden’s business dealings with Ukrainian gas company Burisma Holdings, and former Vice President Joe Biden’s alleged involvement in an effort to shit down prior investigations.
Here is the key information to know.
When to watch
Hearings will be conducted today and Friday starting at 10 a.m. EST.
Where to watch
The Intelligence Committee will be streaming the hearings live on YouTube. You can find live streams elsewhere (PBS, C-SPAN, Bloomberg) but why bother when YouTube has all the coverage. Cable news will also have extended coverage and will be interrupting regular programming with breaking news updates.
Who is testifying
Today: Democrats will call top U.S. envoy to Ukraine William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State George Kent. Both have offered evidence in closed door hearings that support the Democrats’ charge of a quid pro quo. Democrats have release the closed door transcripts of testimony from Taylor and Kent.
Friday: Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify and is expected to provide information on Rudy Giuliani’s involvement in pressuring Ukraine, as well as Trump’s decision to fire her from her post. Yovanovitch’s closed door testimony has also been released (here and here).
Under the rules set up for the hearings, Republicans can request that witnesses be subpoenaed to testify, but Democrats who are majority leaders of the Intelligence Committee can veto those requests. Democratic Chairman Adam Schiff has already rejected an effort to call Hunter Biden as a witness.
Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D) and ranking Member Devin Nunez (R) will each have equal time in 90 minute rounds to question the witnesses. They are expected to hand over their time to committee staff members who will conduct the questioning.
For the Democrats, Dan Goldman is expected to lead the questioning. Goldman is a former Manhattan federal prosecutor who made a name prosecuting the Russian mob.
For the Republicans, Steve Castor will take lead. Castor is the General Counsel for Republicans on the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and is a veteran of the hearings on IRS targeting of Tea Party groups and the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
Trump likely to be live on Twitter
If past history is instructive, expect President Trump to be live Tweeting during the hearings. Follow the live Trump action here. He is already at it this morning.
If Democrats are successful in their efforts, Trump will be only the third president in American history to be impeached, joining Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton.
It will then be up to the Republican controlled Senate to decide whether to convict and remove Trump from office.