The Democratic-led house is finally taking their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump public on Wednesday with open, televised hearings.
Trump and his loyal Republican supporters are now bracing for the biggest showdown yet of the president’s three-year presidency.
The investigation has taken place behind closed doors, with information coming only out of transcripts and sources leaks from news reports.
These public hearings are the next phase of congressional Democrats’ probe, as they move closer to impeaching a president for just the third time in U.S. history.
A political scientist Americans will be glued to the developments.
“Television brings it into your living rooms and your bedrooms and your offices, onto your laptops and onto your phones, it has emotional power because you’re hearing it from witnesses, people will watch, they will see excerpts, they will follow it, they want to know what everybody else is talking about in the country. So I do think it will capture a lot of the attention of the American people.”
House members are exploring whether Trump violated his oath of office by asking Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son Hunter, all while withholding military aid to the eastern European ally.
The first witnesses this week were three state department diplomats: Bill Taylor, George Kent and Marie Yovanovitch, who have all provided consistent accounts of the administration’s actions.
Republicans, on the other hand, want to hear from others – including Hunter Biden and even the anonymous whistleblower who sparked the inquiry in the first place – but is unlikely that the Democrats will agree.
Trump has long denied any wrongdoing and insists the probe is nothing more than a hoax.
It’s been 20 years since the American public and the rest of the world last witnessed impeachment proceedings in the U.S., that was when republicans charged then-president Bill Clinton with lying under oath and obstruction of justice – charges on which he was ultimately aquitted by the Senate.
With less than a year to go before the country goes to the polls to choose their next leader, for both Democrats and Republicans, the stakes couldn’t be higher.