If the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump were a play, the first act would now close.
That's because, starting Wednesday, we will begin to hear witnesses in the inquiry testifying publicly. Which will be a MAJOR change from the release of transcripts from closed-door interviews that have dominated the conversation around impeachment to date.
Those transcripts have provided a more robust picture of the goings-on in the White House both before and after that fateful July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky. And that picture makes a few things very clear:
1. Several senior officials were convinced the call was inappropriate from the get-go.
2. Trump personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney were knee-deep in the attempts to convince (coerce?) Ukraine to open investigations into Joe and Hunter Biden as well as the whereabouts of the hacked Democratic National Committee server.
3. US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland openly floated a quid pro quo -- security aid for opening investigations -- in a conversation with a top Ukrainian official.
The truth is, however, wrapping your arms around these lengthy -- and, at times, hard to follow -- transcripts is no easy task. And that means that for most people outside the world of politics, the real impeachment inquiry will begin next week.
We are a visual people. Images have a power to move us that words on a page often do not. (He says as someone who writes for a living.) The public hearings, then, are the truly high-stakes fight here. There will be moments from each day of testimony, moments that get played (and replayed) on cable TV. Moments that will come to define not just a witness but the proceedings more broadly.
The Point: Act 1 is over. And Act 2 is where all the major drama happens.
- Impeachment deposition: Pompeo and other State leaders ignored pleas to help ambassador amid Giuliani campaign
- Trump welcomes World Series champs Washington Nationals
- US begins formal withdrawal from Paris climate accord
- Democrats will control Virginia government for the first time in more than two decades
- Key diplomat changes testimony and admits quid pro quo with Ukraine
- Biden slams Warren's 'wrong presidential primary' comment as elitist
- Impeachment investigators announce first public hearings next week
- Bevin campaign formally asks for a recanvass in Kentucky
- Trump asked for Barr to host news conference clearing him on Ukraine
- Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions praises Trump in announcing run for his old US Senate seat
- Donald Trump to pay $2 million to settle New York Attorney General civil lawsuit against Trump Foundation and his children
- Pence dismisses 'Anonymous' book claim that senior officials believed VP would back 25th Amendment push
- Washington Post/New York Times: 'Anonymous' author claims officials considered resigning last year to sound alarm about Trump
- Mick Mulvaney refuses to comply with House subpoena and doesn't show up for impeachment deposition
- White House officials testify quid pro quo effort was coordinated with Mulvaney
- Bannon testifies Trump campaign viewed Stone as access point to WikiLeaks
- Bolton's lawyer says he has information on Ukraine that hasn't been disclosed
And that was the week that was in 17 headlines.