Public impeachment proceedings start next week following an accidental phone call.
The impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump has entered a new phase as of Oct. 31, when a House vote officially set up rules for the impeachment process. This process would be giving President Trump due process with public hearings, something Republicans had been asking for.
This vote allows House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff to publicly release transcripts of depositions that had previously been happening behind closed doors. Democrats believe there will be another week of closed hearings and that public hearings will begin in the second week of November. The vote was not one to impeach the President, but set up guidelines to be followed to ensure that the law is correctly followed.
On Oct. 30, National Security Council Aide Alexander Vindman said in a closed door testimony that he was told not to discuss his concerns about the July 25 Ukraine call. After hearing the call he went to the NSC lawyer John Eisenberg who told him not to discuss the call.
Vindman also stated that the original transcript of the Ukraine call left out important words and phrases. It was also revealed that Vindman tried to get the document corrected before it was released, but those changes were never made. He said that the transcript left recordings of Joe Biden discussing corruption in Ukraine and that the President of Ukraine named the company for which Biden was working.
Vindman did not appear concerned that this information was left out, and the rest of the transcript can be viewed as evidence in support of impeachment. However, many people question why it was not reported and it raises more questions as to how the document was handled by the White House.
The Washington Post/ABC News released a poll on Nov. 1 that shows that the nation is currently split on the decision to impeach the President. Forty-nine percent support impeachment and removal of the President while 47 percent believe he should not be. Despite this, 55 percent of those polled believe that Trump’s dealing with Ukraine was wrong, and 60 percent believe it was inappropriate to involve Rudy Giuliani in Ukraine.
The poll also shows disapproval ratings amongst the American people. For Democrats, Trump’s disapproval rating is 91 percent. It is 57 percent for independents and a record high for Republicans at 74 percent.
Rudy Giuliani has found himself at the center of the impeachment process after butt dialing an NBC reporter. It is hard to make out completely what was said in the call, and the other party has not been identified, but phrases such as “we need money” and “I gotta get you to get on Bahrain” are audible.
It’s assumed that Giuliani was discussing his affairs in the nation, but no one is clear why he would be meeting there. No one is sure if he’s acting as a consultant, Trump’s lawyer or if he’s running a shadow foreign policy for the President.
Many feel that Giuliani is acting as a shadow secretary of state, so much so that he was the front page of Time magazine. Witnesses have stated that it was Giuliani that set up back door communications with Ukraine in an attempt to bypass the State Department. Trump told the Ukrainian President to speak to Giuliani concerning Hunter Biden’s dealings in Ukraine, which some feel is further proof of the illegality of the deal.
After associates of Giuliani were found to be guilty of circumventing US election laws, Giuliani has been appearing less in public and has been searching for an attorney of his own.
Despite the House currently being in recess, the impeachment inquiry will continue. Four witnesses are set to testify behind closed doors on Monday, including John Eisenberg, yet it is still unclear if any of them will end up testifying.
The impeachment inquiry is sure to be a long process as shown by past impeachments, but the House vote is likely to help smooth things out and make it harder for people to say it is unconstitutional or illegal.