(CNSNews.com) - The House intelligence committee will accelerate its push for impeachment this week by holding public hearings with some of the same witnesses they're already heard from in private.
On Wednesday, November 13, the Committee will hear from Ambassador William Taylor and Deputy Assistant Secretary George Kent. Taylor currently serves as the Chargé D'affaires for the U.S. State Department in Ukraine. Kent serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the U.S. Department of State.
On Friday, November 15, the Committee will hear from former Ambassador Marie “Masha” Yovanovitch. Until May 2019, when she was removed by President Trump, Yovanovitch served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine.
On Sunday, NBC's "Meet the Press" asked Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.), a member of the intelligence committee, if we'll learn any "new information" from the witnesses whose testimony has been publicly released:
"There will be new information," Himes said.
"I suspect most of the public has not read the released transcripts. And what they're going to hear is they are going to hear immensely patriotic, beautifully articulate people telling the story of a president who -- let's forget quid pro quo, quid pro quo is one of these things to muddy the works -- who extorted a vulnerable country by holding up military aid. So, yes, they are going to hear something new."
Himes argued that "what the president did was wrong and impeachable," nothing at all like Joe Biden holding up a loan guarantee until Ukraine fired the prosecutor-general; and nothing at all like Hillary Clinton using foreigners to do opposition research on Donald Trump during the 2016 campaign.
Himes said he has a problem with the phrase "quid pro quo," or doing this in exchange for that.
Well, I have two problems with quid pro quo. Number one, when you are trying to persuade the American people of something that is really pretty simple, which is that the president acted criminally and extorted in a way a mob boss would extort somebody, a vulnerable foreign country, it's probably best not to use Latin words to explain it.
But the other thing I object to is that this is where Republicans went. Extortion doesn't require a 'you give me this and I'll give you that' kind of quid pro quo, it simply requires using your muscle to get something you don't have a right to.
So look -- and by the way, of course, the crowning absurdity here is now they are all pretty much admitting, because Ambassador Sondland has refreshed his recollection, they are all basically admitting there was a quid pro quo, but, gosh, it wasn't that bad, it was exactly the same thing as Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton.
So, look, we have got to get off this quid pro quo thing, because it's complicated. They've attested to the fact that it occurred. And what we're dealing with here is corruption, abuse of power, in a way that damaged American national security.
Host Chuck Todd pointed to "missing piece of the story," which is the lack of a first-hand witness who could say that President Trump directed OMB Director Mick Mulvaney to hold U.S. military aid to Ukraine until the Ukrainians agreed to publicly announce an investigation into the Ukraine's alleged role in the 2016 election and the Bidens.
"Of course we would like to have Mick Mulvaney in to the Congress to say what I think we know," Himes said. "You will learn in the testimony that it was Mick Mulvaney that was driving the decision, pushing the decision to suspend aid, and everyone who saw it happen will tell you we had no idea where this was coming from and it was unanimously opposed.
"So, it would be good to have Mick Mulvaney come in and explain to us his conversation with the president.
"But remember, Chuck, his conversations with the president, unlike all of the other claims of privilege, that is actually probably covered by executive privilege, but the American people are going to need to decide, did Mick Mulvaney go home and think this up? Like, yeah, what the heck, I'm going to suspend $400 million in military aid to Ukraine -- or did he perhaps get some kind of suggestion or order from the president of the United States?
Himes said even if Mulvaney's conversations with the president are protected by executive privilege, it would be "wildly unusual" for an OMB director to sit "in a room full of national security leaders and said we`re cutting off this aid."