House Intelligence Committee Adam Schiff announced on Twitter this morning that next week his committee would be holding its first public hearings of the House impeachment inquiry. The first three witnesses will be ones who have already given depositions to impeachment investigators in private, and who will now be called back to summarize and expand upon that testimony in public.
On Wednesday, the committee will hear from Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent. In prior testimony, Kent told lawmakers that Mick Mulvaney worked to freeze out government diplomats and Ukrainian experts as the White House instead put Rudy Giuliani as primary Ukrainian strategist and go-between. Taylor testified that he was told explicitly that Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, a Trump ally who worked aggressively to further Trump’s Ukraine demands, had told Ukrainian officials that Trump’s freeze of U.S. military aid to the country was directly tied to the Trump-Giuliani demands that Ukraine publicly announce “investigations” favorable to Trump and his allies; he also implicated Energy Secretary Rick Perry.
On Friday, the committee will hear from ousted Ambassador to the Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch. Yovanovitch was removed from her post after a smear campaign led by Giuliani, who saw her as interfering with the effort to force Ukrainian officials to accept Trump’s demands. Multiple impeachment witnesses have testified that the Giuliani campaign against Yovanovitch was based on false premises and conspiracy theories, but that State Department leadership refused to defend her.
House Republicans have expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the alleged “secrecy” of private House testimony to date. They will no doubt be relieved that Kent, Taylor, Yovanovitch and others will now be given the opportunity to publicly testify as to what Giuliani and Trump were demanding of Ukraine and the precise details of how they sought to enforce those demands.