The Impeachment Inquiry Public Hearings: What To Expect

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In fact, almost every witness who has appeared before the impeachment inquiry - including Trump appointee and National Security Council official Tim Morrison - has testified that Trump was not looking at corruption generally, something NSC official Fiona Hill called a "code" for going after the Bidens, including the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate.

The House impeachment inquiry on Monday released a transcript of the testimony of Laura Cooper, the deputy assistant defense secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia. Volker resigned from his position on September 27.

McClatchy Newspapers: "Trump readies for public phase of impeachment inquiry with new hires, Hill meetings" - "In a quest to streamline its messaging on a fast-moving Democratic impeachment inquiry, the White House has hired two top communications specialists to lead their public response and is sending aides to Republican strategy meetings on Capitol Hill".

The hearings will go a long way to helping the public understand the allegations that the president abused the power of his office for personal political gain by pressuring Ukrainian President Volodomir Zelensky to investigate former US vice-president Joe Biden and his son Hunter around the latter's business dealings in Ukraine.

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What Democrats say they won't present is testimony from the whistleblower whose alarm uncovered Trump's effort to use tax dollars and foreign aid as ransom for his own political benefit.

As they prepare to hold the first open impeachment hearings this week, Democrats had hoped to peel off Republican support from a key bloc - retiring lawmakers who need not worry about internal blowback or primary challenges. "Read the Transcript! There was NOTHING said that was in any way wrong". Critics denounced the lawmakers' actions, saying they had compromised US security by taking phones into the secure room.

Cooper's testimony was among several hundred pages of transcripts released Monday, along with those of State Department officials Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson.

Trump and some of his supporters have argued that the funds - approved by the U.S. Congress to help combat Russia-backed separatists in the eastern part of Ukraine - were blocked by Trump to press Zelenskiy's government to fight corruption, not to seek an investigation of Biden and his son.

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"Somehow an effort that he was engaged in to see if there was a statement that the government of Ukraine would make", said Cooper, an assistant defense secretary, "that would somehow disavow any interference in USA elections and would commit to the prosecution of any individuals involved in election interference".

"They are trying to negotiate a peace with Russian Federation, and if they are seen as weak, and if they are seen to lack the backing of the United States for their armed forces, it makes it much more hard for them to negotiate a peace on terms that are good for Ukraine".

The US president's troubles arose from the second call, which took place on July 25, as mentioned in a whistleblower's complaint of "urgent concern" over the Trump administration. At the end of those hearings, the Democratic-controlled committee will vote on specific articles of impeachment, based on the US Constitution's standard of "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors", and whether Trump's actions constituted abuse of presidential power. He has served under five presidents, three Republicans and two Democrats. Hunter Biden worked on the board of a Ukrainian gas company.

Trump has denied the allegations, namely the "quid pro quo" claim that he withheld military aid to Ukraine in exchange for prosecution. He defended his call with Zelenskiy as "perfect" and branded the probe a politically motivated hoax. On one building the word "IMPEACH" was spelled out, while another had "Dump Trump" on, which was scrawled from a red and yellow flyer and put on the window overlooking the area where the embattled leader gave his speech.

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