Starting Wednesday, the public will hear what has been happening behind closed doors on Capitol Hill for weeks as witnesses tell lawmakers what they know about the Trump administration’s dealings with Ukraine.
What is being investigated? Who is testifying? And where can you watch? Here’s everything you need to know:
Where to watch?
What is being investigated?
At the heart of the impeachment probe is the question of whether Trump acted improperly in attempting to enter a quid pro quo with Ukraine.
The inquiry centres around a July 25 phone call between the leaders.
On the call, Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to “look into” former vice-president and political rival Joe Biden’s son Hunter and his work on the board of Burisma, a Ukrainian energy company.
Trump allegedly froze nearly $400 million in military aid for Ukraine — prompting speculation he was using the money as leverage for information on the Bidens.
Trump has denied that charge, but acknowledged that he had blocked the funds, which were later released.
He has called the probe a “witch hunt” and a “sham.”
What to watch out for
Here’s what Democratic lawmakers are expected to ask about:
1. Did Trump request that Ukraine initiate investigations for his own personal political interests, including one into Joe Biden.
2. Did Trump — directly or through agents — seek to use the power of the Office of the President and other instruments of the federal government in other ways to apply pressure on Ukraine to advance his own personal political interests?
3. Did Trump and his administration seek to obstruct, suppress or cover up information to conceal from Congress and the American public evidence about the president’s actions and conduct?
Who is scheduled to testify and how will it work?
This week, the public will hear from three U.S. diplomats. Each have already provided testimony behind closed doors to House investigators.
According to a memorandum released on Tuesday, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, who is leading the investigation and Rep. Devin Nunes of California, the panel’s top Republican, will each be have the opportunity to question witnesses for 45 minutes at a time.
Ranking members on the committee will each be given five minutes to question the witnesses.
Here’s who will testify this week:
Bill Taylor, a longtime U.S. diplomat and charge d’affaires in Ukraine will be the first to testify on Wednesday.
Taylor told lawmakers in private that Trump held back nearly $400 million in military aid from Ukraine until the country agreed to investigate the Biden family, corroborating the quid pro quo allegation at the centre of the inquiry.
Taylor expressed concern about the withheld aid, saying it was his “clear understanding” that financial support would not come until Ukraine’s president committed to pursuing the investigation.
George Kent the deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau will also testify on Wednesday.
He told lawmakers during his closed-door testimony that he was alarmed by the efforts of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and others to pressure Ukraine to accede to Trump’s demands.
On Friday, the public will hear from former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch.
During her testimony, she told House investigators she had come under attack by Giuliani and was removed from her post based on “unfounded and false claims.”
Giuliani accused Yovanovitch of blocking efforts to convince Ukraine to investigate the Bidens and suggested she was biased against Trump.
Yovanovitch expressed alarm over damage to diplomacy under Trump and warned about “private interests” circumventing “professional diplomats for their own gain, not the public good.”
Who else could testify?
On Saturday, Republicans released a list of eight witnesses they believe should testify in the public hearings.
Included on the list were Hunter Biden and Devon Archer, a businessman who also served on the Burisma board.
The Republicans are also seeking testimony from the whistleblower.
Trump too, has shared a list of people he says should testify.
In a tweet posted Saturday, Trump recommended that Schiff, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, the whistleblower and the Inspector General be added to the list.
However, while Republicans are able to request witnesses, it is ultimately up to Schiff to approve them.
On Tuesday Schiff said additional witnesses for impeachment hearings would be announced later this week.
What’s at stake? Could Trump be removed from office?
Once these public hearings conclude, the House Intelligence Committee will summarize its findings in a report and send it to the House Judiciary Committee.
The House Judiciary Committee will then hold additional hearings — which Trump and his lawyers would be invited to attend.
After the hearings, the committee will decide whether to draft articles of impeachment against Trump. If articles of impeachment are developed, the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a vote. A simple majority is needed to impeach him.
If Trump is impeached by the House of Representatives, the process moves on to the Senate where a trial and vote would be held to convict and remove him from office.
It would take a two-thirds majority vote to oust Trump, something experts say is not likely to happen in the Republican-held Senate.
—With files from Global News’ Rachael D’Amore, The Associated Press and Reuters