The fierce fight between Donald Trump and the Democrats moves Wednesday under the watchful eye of the cameras, with the first public hearings in the US Congress as part of the investigation to impeach the Republican President, suspected of abuse of power.
“Mascarade”, “wild witch hunt” and even “coup d’état”: combative, the billionaire denounces the Democratic investigations on the Ukrainian affair, vowing to wash this “affront” at the polls by winning a second term during the presidential election of November 2020.
The public hearings will start at 10 am with two diplomats: William Taylor, US charge in Kiev, and George Kent, a senior official of the State Department Specialist of Ukraine.
Republicans who accuse them of organizing a show, the Democrats say they are “concerned with the solemn and historic task” that is incumbent on them since the opening, at the end of September, of the investigation in the House of Representatives, which they control. .
Donald Trump is only the third president of American history to be targeted by impeachment proceedings. None have ever been removed from office.
With this rapid tempo, the opposition signals however that it does not want to waste time with a view to a possible vote on the indictment – “impeachment” in English – of the American president in the House.
Given the Republican majority in the Senate, it is unlikely that Donald Trump will be impeached, because the upper house, which will be responsible for judging, will have the last word.
After six weeks of in-camera hearings, the Democrats want to give these testimonials live to the Americans so that they discover “first-hand information about the president’s misdeeds”.
They suspect Donald Trump of pressuring Ukraine to investigate former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, well placed to face him in the White House race in 2020.
As a lever, the billionaire would have suspended military aid of some 400 million dollars intended for Kiev, and put in the balance a possible invitation of the new Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to the White House.
In a telephone conversation on July 25, the report of which was released by the White House, Trump asked his Ukrainian counterpart to “look” at Joe Biden and his son, Hunter.
The call had alarmed several White House officials and intelligence officials, to the point that a whistleblower, a CIA agent, had decided to alert his superiors, exposing the scandal in broad daylight.
The two witnesses expected in public Wednesday have already delivered their in-camera to parliamentarians.
On October 22, William Taylor said he learned that US Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, had explained to the Ukrainians in September that “money for safe help would not be unblocked as long as President Zelensky would not commit to launching the investigation into Burisma, “the gas group that was counting Hunter Biden on his board.
As for George Kent, he had revealed to parliamentary investigators, on October 15, had alerted his superiors in mid-August about the pressure for Kiev to investigate the Biden.
The diplomat also confirmed to the elected officials that Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, had been campaigning for months to investigate Joe Biden.
“The president is suspected of having requested the intervention of a foreign power in an American election” for his personal political interest, said Wednesday on the public radio NPR, the democratic leader of the Intelligence Committee that leads the investigation, Adam Schiff.
He even mentioned suspicions of “corruption” in his broad sense.
In addition to the abuse of power, the Democrats want to know if the White House has tried to obstruct the congressional investigation and / or hide clues.
Tuesday night, they unveiled the schedule of eight more testimonies scheduled next week before the cameras in Congress. All have also been heard in camera.
Donald Trump insists that the call with Zelensky was “irreproachable”, and says he only wanted to strengthen the fight against corruption in Ukraine when he spoke about the Biden.
This is the argument that Republicans on the Intelligence Committee should take up.
They unsuccessfully asked for the public testimony of Hunter Biden and the whistleblower.