Public impeachment hearings to begin Wednesday
Starting Wednesday morning, people will hear for themselves whether or not President Trump should be impeached by the House of Representatives after a July phone call with the leader of Ukraine.
At the center of it all, Democrats say that the phone call showed President Trump threatening to withhold $400 million in aid from the European country, in an effort to dig up dirt on Joe Biden’s son.
But Republicans believe the whole thing is bogus.
Three things are on the table during the inquiry.
The House of Representatives will be looking into whether the President broke any laws during that phone call, whether there was an effort to cover it up, and whether the President and his team tried interfering with witnesses that were set to testify.
Democrats believe there could be potential bribery, but Republicans think otherwise.
An official inquiry was opened in September, and last month, several witnesses testified behind closed doors.
Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse would be jurors if the House votes to impeach.
The two said they will be keeping a close eye on the testimony in the coming weeks.
“To this point they’re allegations. The president was essentially trying to shake down the government of Ukraine for political favor,” Reed said.
“The important thing about this is to get the facts out on the table.”
“We’ll be watching this to kind of get a preview of coming attractions for what we will likely be hearing in the Senate at trial,” said Senator Whitehouse. ” It was a pretty obvious solicitation of a bribe.”
But Jerry Zarrella, Co-Chair of the Trump Campaign in Rhode Island said impeaching the president is outrageous.
“I don’t know the intention of what the president wanted, but I can tell you that’s not enough to remove him from office,” Zarrella said. “That type of stuff goes on all the time.”
Zarrella believes the inquiry will only help President Trump when voters hit the polls next November.
“I think it’s a farce. I think it’s a waste of our money,” he said. “[Democrats] are helping [Trump] because people, like myself, who support him, I’m fired up about this.”
The House of Representatives would need a majority vote to impeach the President and send it to trial at the Senate. To remove Mr. Trump from office, 67 Senators need to vote guilty.
The trial would be overseen by Chief Justice of the Supreme Court John Roberts.
The problem, according to Joe Cammarano, Political Science Professor at Providence College, in a Republican-controlled Senate, it’s unlikely that would happen.
“It’s seen sort [sic] of a way as publicly expressing a rejection of presidential behavior like that,” Cammarano said. “This is a political process with a political tool that’s increasingly being used.”
Cammarano believes the House will finish its inquiry by Christmas, and if it goes to trial, the Senate will finish its work by the end of January.
“Remember, there are six Democrats who are running for the White House who are Senators,” he said. “They need to be in Washington for the trial if it happens in January, during the Iowa Caucus campaign.”
The hearings begin Wednesday at 10:00 a.m. with the House Intelligence Committee.