The first hearing in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump yesterday dealt the president a heavy blow just one year before the elections in which his re-election is at stake.
Two veteran U.S. diplomats openly accused the president in front of the television cameras and before the attentive eyes of the nation of having tried by all means that the government of Ukraine opened an investigation into Joe Biden, his main rival in the Democratic party.
One of the witnesses, U.S. acting ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor, openly testified that Trump, with respect to Ukraine, only cared if the new Ukrainian government investigated Biden. Because Ukraine did not investigate the Democrat politician, Taylor said, the president withheld a $400 million aid package for a few weeks, which was finally delivered. “It seems to me that there were two different channels of formulation and implementation of official U.S. policies, one conventional and the other highly irregular,” Taylor said during the interrogation. According to this diplomat, one of his employees listened to a conversation between the president and his ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, “in which it became clear that President Trump of Ukraine was only interested in Biden’s investigations”.
Yesterday’s day was for the history books, the first time in two decades that the nation listened attentively to the testimony of witnesses of a possible crime of the president, so serious according to the democrats that it could be cause for dismissal.
The investigation began a month ago on Capitol Hill behind closed doors, but Trump, trying to hinder it, asked for it to be open. Thus, due to a miscalculation by the president, the Americans heard yesterday the accusations against them by respected diplomats who are not active in one party or another.
The other witness, Undersecretary of State for Europe and Eurasia George Kent, openly denied the president by testifying that “there is no proof” that Biden committed a crime with respect to Ukraine. When the Democrat was Barack Obama’s vice president, his son served on the board of a Ukrainian energy company, something that Trump considers a clear case of corruption linked also to some controversial White House decisions at the time.
On Friday the second hearing will take place, with an interrogation that promises to be even worse for the president. The Ukrainian ambassador whom Trump dismissed and who denounced behind closed doors having been the victim of a smear campaign against her initiated by the president’s own lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, will go to the Capitol.