Listen: Today The Public Phase Of The Impeachment Inquiry Opens In Washington
"Today today. The public phase of the impeachment inquiry begins in Washington. DC Two witnesses will give evidence on the allegations that president. Donald Trump abused his office for personal personal political gain in his dealings with Ukraine. Well joining me on the line is Scott Lucas. WHO's professor? US politics at the University of Birmingham. Scott why is this being televised. Well this is being televised because we are now at the portion of the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump where everything everything is to be transparent open because this is a process which could lead to a vote to impeach to indict him and then later trial in the Senate so As was the case in the nineteen seventies as we proceeded towards the impeachment of Richard Nixon. The decision has been made that this will be a televised proceeding with Al- testimony on public record. In contrast to the closed door testimony which was Carried out in preparation over the past two months. And it's really important to to get the the public inside really. Isn't it. Well I think the initial point of this is simply again. This is one of the high or low points if you want to the US S. political system. It is not often that the president has been impeached or is on the cusp of impeachment. This is only the fourth time so I think there's a priority to make it public but as you you do not. There's also a public opinion contest between this Democrats and Republicans will each be making their cases as to whether or not trump should be impeached aged. Donald trump is making his own case through the use of twitter Through some rather bizarre at hot press conferences and so yes the formal proceedings will not be linked to a battle beyond the hearing room in terms of how it is spun how each side presents its case to a wider forum. So how will the Democrats Democrats make their case and will it be enough to move the American public even without talking about the Democrats. Let's just take it from the basis of the facts. What we already know from from the testimony that has been behind closed doors because many of the witnesses provided initial statements that were posted and then over the course of the past? Ten days. Transcripts have been posted that testimony that more than a dozen current. US public officials have said that. Donald Trump carried out an irregular foreign policy in which he made demands of Ukraine including cutting off military to that country including the condition for any visit visit by President to Washington. He said you have to have investigations of a of the presidential candidate. Joe Biden you have to have investigations of the Democratic Party. You have have to have investigations which would cover up Russia's role in the two thousand sixteen election. Those are the facts as they have emerged. The Democrats I think can simply try to draw. Draw out more of that. Beginning with William Taylor This afternoon the current. US charge eight affairs Kiev. What is more interesting to me will be the Republican tactics tactics? Not to illuminate the facts but to divert from them which will be trying to undermine the credibility of the witnesses to try to divert by saying go we must know the identity of the whistle blower the official who made the initial complaint against trump and to be honest with you by misrepresenting which they have already done in certain cases this firsthand testimony supposedly being hearsay but it surely trump never actually said the words. I mean you in order to go for this. You have to understand the the white context and it's whether that's believed or not whether you're referring to two points here regarding the question of whether trump explicitly said you do not get military aid unless you investigate the presidential candidate Joe Biden in the specific phone call on July twenty any fifth to the new Ukrainian President Florida's Alinsky trump doesn't say it explicitly but it is done implicitly. Zilenski says you know we would really like to have military from the United in states because we are threatening this challenge from Russia and trump immediately. Says you know I would really like to have you talked to my people about carrying out investigations including investigations of Joe Biden. Now he doesn't explicitly say. Oh by the way that's because you just referred to military aid but the link there perhaps more importantly it is explicitly licitly stated in the testimony of multiple officials that when Donald Trump froze military aid to Ukraine a few days before that call. He did it as part art putting pressure on Ukraine to accede to his demands so the Republicans not only have to knock back the implicit connection and the phone call they somehow somehow have to undermine each and every one of these witnesses finally quickly before we go. Thanksgiving's been flagged up as a possible end date any later than that it starts. What's eating into campaigning? Time for the twenty twenty elections distinct that timeframes realistic. I actually a couple of weeks in which Congress comes back after Thanksgiving recess before breaking up for Christmas and it's then when I can impeachment vote is possible if not definite Scott. Thank you very much. Indeed that was Scott Lucas and now with a look at the day's headlines His monocle yearning gopher"