First public hearing of Trump impeachment inquiry

Washington

WASHINGTON (WSAV) – It was a historic day on Capitol Hill Wednesday. Congress held its first public impeachment hearing in the ongoing investigation into President Donald Trump.

It was the first time in two decades the public has witnessed an impeachment inquiry into a president.

Two career diplomats testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee: Bill Taylor and State Department official George Kent.

Taylor currently serves as the Chargé D’affaires for the U.S. State Department in Ukraine. Kent serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the U.S. Department of State.

Democrats are accusing Trump of trading military aid to Ukraine for their help in investigating his political rival Joe Biden. Taylor told lawmakers Wednesday that the president, in fact, leveraged U.S. aid in exchange for an investigation of Joe Biden and his son.

“If he sought to condition, coerce, extort or bribe an ally into conducting investigations to aid his reelection campaign and did so by withholding official acts, a White House meeting or hundreds of millions of dollars of needed military aid, must we simply get over it?” asked House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). “Is this what Americans should now expect from their president? If this is not impeachable conduct, what is?”

Republicans are denouncing the impeachment inquiry as an effort to undo the results of the 2016 election.

“Republicans can’t call the witnesses they want to call,” said Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga.). “We’re not able to ask questions of the witnesses like we should be able to ask questions, the whole process is just a sham impeachment inquiry.”

The impeachment hearings continue Friday. News 3 will bring you live coverage on-air and online.

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