President Donald Trump will hold a news conference with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House on Wednesday, the same day the House of Representatives will hold the first public hearings in its impeachment inquiry into Trump.
Trump and Erdogan will appear for the news conference after the pair meets, the White House announced Sunday.
The controversial Turkish incursion into Syria, Syrian Kurd leaders’ claims of attacks on their population and the US decision to keep some US troops in Syria will all be major issues for the meeting and likely topics for questions during the news conference — in addition to impeachment.
The open impeachment hearings mark a new phase of the Democrats’ impeachment inquiry into Trump’s dealings with Ukraine and will be the first time that the country hears directly from the officials at the center of allegations that Trump pushed the country to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and the 2016 election in order to help the President politically. The hearings are the next step for Democrats as they move closer to impeaching a President for the third time in US history.
There is no evidence of wrongdoing by Joe Biden or his son Hunter in Ukraine.
On Wednesday, two witnesses are expected to testify in the televised congressional hearings: George Kent, a deputy assistant Secretary of State, and Bill Taylor, a former ambassador and the top US diplomat in Ukraine.
Taylor’s testimony behind-closed-doors was among the most significant so far in the investigation. His opening statement alone was considered an explosive document, in which Taylor corroborated many of the claims made by the intelligence community’s whistleblower, whose complaint and subsequent inspector general’s report prompted the inquiry. Taylor also provided witness testimony to the events around the temporary withholding of US military aid to Ukraine, the July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
In Kent’s testimony, he told lawmakers that Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani had a “campaign of lies” against the former Ukraine ambassador Yovanovitch, according to a transcript of his comments released last week. Kent’s deposition provided new insight into how former US special envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker and US ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland worked with Giuliani on Ukraine, as well as the reactions inside the State Department to Giuliani’s efforts that Kent and others say ran counter to US foreign policy.