The impeachment hearings are a battle between oligarchy and democracyRoundup
tags: Russia, impeachment, US History
Heather Cox Richardson is professor of history at Boston College and co-host of NPR's politics and history podcast Freak Out and Carry On.
Since the House of Representatives opened an impeachment inquiry in late September into the actions of Donald Trump over his withholding of aid to Ukraine, the Republican defenders of the president have dismissed the inquiry on the ground that hearings were held behind closed doors. On Wednesday, the House Intelligence Committee, charged by House speaker Nancy Pelosi with spearheading the investigation, answered those complaints by opening public hearings. Deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs George P Kent and Charge d’Affaires for Ukraine William Taylor were the first public witnesses on Wednesday. On Friday, former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch was the third, testifying about the events surrounding her abrupt removal from her position in May 2019.
For all their complicated names and dates, what has emerged at the hearings is a clear picture of an epic battle between the rule of oligarchs, who pervert government to suit their own interests, and the rule of law, in which everyone has the same right to representation and legal protection.
The witnesses have explained that under both Republican and Democratic presidents, America’s policy toward Ukraine has been to bolster the rule of law after that country’s domination by oligarchs. Led after August 2016 by senior diplomat Yovanovitch – the most senior female diplomat in the US Diplomatic Corps – they tried to curb corrupt rulers and bring Ukraine out from under the influence of Russia and closer to Europe and America.
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