Democrats set first public impeachment hearings for next week

As more White House officials refused to come to Capitol Hill for closed door depositions in the impeachment investigation against President Donald Trump, Democrats announced they would hold their first public hearings next week with a series of U.S. diplomats.

"We will be beginning with the testimony of Ambassador Taylor and Ambassador Kent on Wednesday," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), as he addressed reporters outside the secure room in the bowels of the Capitol which has been used for depositions in recent weeks.

"And we will have Ambassador Yovanovitch testify on Friday," Schiff added.

Democrats said it was time to show what was going on with the White House and Ukraine.

"Next week the House will begin open hearings to bring the truth directly to the American people," said Rep. Katherine Clark (D-MA).

"The President and his enablers can’t hide from the facts," Clark added.

“The President has blatantly abused his office, and betrayed the constitution,” said Rep. Joe Negeuse (D-CO). “We will hold him accountable.”

Republicans in Congress had an entirely different take.

"You are being sold a false bill of goods - a fairy tale - by a group of people who want to take down this President by any means necessary, hook or crook," said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC).

The announcement of public hearings came as Democrats released a fifth transcript from closed door depositions in recent weeks, this time from the acting U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Bill Taylor.

In sometimes sharp questions from Republicans, Taylor said President Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani was the person who spearheaded the plan to withhold military aid from Ukraine, in order to get the government to approve election investigations sought by President Trump.

Taylor said it was the very definition of a 'quid pro quo.'

Republicans pressed Taylor's conclusion, saying there was no evidence that Ukraine even realized the military aid was on hold - either during the July 25 call between President Trump and the Ukraine leader - or through August.

Taylor acknowledged it took him time to reach that conclusion as well, but it came into focus in early September.

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