47ºF

What you need to know ahead of the public presidential impeachment hearings

Hearings will be televised on KSAT 12 and KSAT.com starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday

(AP/KSAT) – The House Intelligence Committee is set to hear testimony from two career diplomats on Wednesday over their concerns about a possible quid pro quo involving President Donald Trump.

Bill Taylor, acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, are scheduled to speak.

The allegations at the center of the impeachment inquiry: President Trump pressured Ukraine to produce dirt on his Democratic political rivals by withholding military aid and an Oval Office meeting craved by the country’s new president.

The public hearing comes after weeks of closed-door depositions, a process that Republicans attacked.

David Crockett, chair of the political science department at Trinity University, said moving the hearings into the public eye is a crucial step.

“It’s important, I think, for the political branches to demonstrate to the American people that they’re doing this in the right way. Otherwise, they’ll lose public support. It’s already a controversial measure regardless of how this plays out,” he said.

If the House Intelligence Committee decides to move forward with the impeachment inquiry, it will head to the Judiciary Committee.

The Judiciary Committee would then decide whether to recommend that the House impeach Trump — a finding that he should be removed from office.

“I think the odds of impeaching the president (in the House) are very successful because all you need is a simple majority, and Democrats don’t like Donald Trump,” Crockett said. “The odds of success in a Senate impeachment trial are not very good. You have to have 20 Republicans cross over. And I always tell people that if the Republicans in the 1860s couldn’t get rid of Andrew Johnson and they had a two-thirds control plus of the Senate, then you’re not going to get rid of Donald Trump," he said.

Trump has been an outspoken critic about the impeachment probe.

On Friday, Marie Yovanovitch, former Ukraine ambassador, is scheduled to testify.

You can watch the hearing starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday on KSAT 12 and KSAT.com. On Friday, you’ll be able to see coverage of the hearing starting at 8 a.m.