I have every intention of watching as much as I can of the public hearing on whether the U.S. House of Representatives should impeach Donald J. Trump. The hearing will convene Wednesday morning.
Believe it or not, I am going to keep an open mind. Yes, I believe the president has committed impeachable offenses. However, I want to hear from the principal witnesses themselves what they knew, what they heard and saw and whether they — as men and women who are closest to the situation — have drawn any conclusions about what the president has done to deserve impeachment.
OK. That all said, I have a fear that some House Intelligence Committee members will have another agenda. They will seek to destroy the credibility of these witnesses. I am referring to Republicans on the panel. Their strategy is shaping up: attack the critics and do not seek to defend the president as a man of high honor and integrity, as someone who would never do the things that have been alleged.
And what has been alleged? As I understand it, there are allegations that Trump sought a political favor from the president of Ukraine. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy sought weapons from the United States to help him fight Russia-backed rebels; Trump said he wanted a “favor, though” before he would send the weapons to Ukraine. The “favor” involved obtaining critical information about Joe Biden and his son, Hunter; Biden is running for president and might oppose Trump in 2020.
Abuse of power? Violation of the presidential oath? Obstruction of justice? It’s all on the table.
I am hoping to hear from these individuals who were “on the call” to tell the world what they heard. These individuals are patriots, career diplomats, military personnel. They, too, take oaths to defend the nation and to serve the Constitution.
Intelligence Committee Republicans, though, seem hell bent on destroying their credibility.
I want some discernment to come from these public hearings. Republicans have clamored for public testimony. The impeachment inquiry has gone according to rules established by GOP House leadership. So now the hearings are going to unveiled in full public view.
I fear the worst, which is that the hearings could become a sideshow.
I will hope for the best, which will be that dedicated public servants will be able to clear out all the rhetorical underbrush and reveal what we need to know.
I am all ears for as long as it takes.