Congressional impeachment proceedings move to the next phase of investigations by going live this week | ‘Orange is the New Peach’ Trump Impeachment series

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Introducing a temporary series, Orange is the New Peach, the Ark Republic news desk will provide regular updates on the impeachment proceedings against US President Donald Trump.

On Wednesday, congressional hearings regarding the impeachment inquiry for President Donald Trump go live after more than a month of closed testimonials. 

Scheduled to testify under oath are U.S. charge d’affaires in Ukraine, Bill Taylor, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, George Kent. This Friday, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch will testify.

Trump is being investigated for allegations by an intelligence officer that POTUS placed pressure on current Ukraine president, Volodymyr Zelensky just months after he was elected. The impeachment proceedings are a result of a whistleblower launching a complaint against Trump on August 12, 2019. 

In a report, the claimant stated that Trump withheld congressional-approved military aid to Ukraine, in order to force Zelensky to open a corruption investigation against international corporate lawyer, Hunter Biden, who is the son of Trump’s political opponent, Joe Biden. Several months later, on October 2, another whistleblower corroborates the initial report.

Currently the House, which is Democrat-led, gathers information and evidence to see if Trump’s actions are impeachable.

On speaking about the proceedings to the National Newspaper Publishers Association NNPA, Congressional Black Chair, Rep. Karen Bass stated:

“The first two years of his presidency, when Republicans were in charge, they refused to provide any oversight whatsoever. And so, the investigation that took place before that was done by [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller was not a part of a congressional process . . . 

“When the whistleblower came forward, well, that’s happening right now. Many of us believe this was [Trump’s] attempt, actually to be involved in the election next year. 

The ‘do nothing democrats’

Leading up to the public hearings, three longtime civil servants testified in front of congress in closed sessions. This past Monday, Catherine Croft and Christopher Anderson, both advisers to Ambassador Kurt Volker on Ukraine policy, testified, as well as, Pentagon official, Laura Cooper, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense.

In a released statement on the closed hearings, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-CA), the Chairman of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-NY), the Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs; and Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY), the Acting Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, said: 

“Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Laura Cooper testified that President Trump, through the Office of Management and Budget, directed the freeze on hundreds of millions of dollars of critical military aid for Ukraine, against the judgment of career officials in the Department of Defense, Department of State, and other relevant agencies. Cooper also told the Committees that she raised concerns, as did others on several occasions, to senior U.S. government officials about the legality of withholding the congressionally-authorized money, and the challenges that White House delays would put on spending it.

According to Cooper when ‘the White House Chief of Staff . . . conveyed that the President [had] concerns about Ukraine and security assistance,” the legalities of this maneuver emerged. 

Also, numerous National Security Council leaders attempted to “engage” the president with the importance of releasing the aid. 

Commented Bass, “He is holding back hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign assistance, military assistance to one of our allies who are in the middle of a war. Now you refuse to assist them until they publicly say that they are going to investigate your opponent.”

When it became apparent that Trump refused, Cooper recommended that Congress was informed that funding would not be “appropriated by the end of the fiscal year.” However, that did not happen.

Meanwhile, Republicans have attempted to disrupt proceedings. In October, three-dozen Republican elected officials stormed the closed congressional hearings in protest. Reuters reports that last week, Trump put out 400 ads on Facebook in an attempt to energize his supporters. In response to the accusations, he denies any wrongdoing. He tweeted, “A total Impeachment Scam by the Do Nothing Democrats!”

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