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Trump impeachment hearing: Start time, witnesses, how to watch and stream

In Philly, some broadcast networks will skip Wednesday’s testimony

The next round of the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump started Wednesday at 10 a.m.
The next round of the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump started Wednesday at 10 a.m.Read moreMatt McClain / AP

After holding five days worth of testimony last month, Democrats are moving the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump into a different committee for its next phase of public hearings.

Wednesday’s impeachment hearing is before the House Judiciary Committee, where any articles of impeachment against Trump will be drafted. Chairman Jerry Nadler (D, N.Y.) opened the hearing, which features four constitutional scholars slated to discuss the impeachment process itself, at 10 a.m.

Of the four witnesses, three have been called by Democrats: Harvard Law School’s Noah Feldman, Stanford Law School’s Pamela Karlan, and University of North Carolina School of Law’s Michael Gerhardt. The fourth, George Washington University Law School’s Jonathan Turley, is a Republican witness.

At issue remains whether Trump abused the power of his office by holding back security assistance from Ukraine in an attempt to pressure newly elected president Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation involving Joe Biden’s son, Hunter.

Last month, the House Intelligence Committee heard from 12 witnesses, who detailed what Democrats say was a months-long effort by Trump to use his power as president to push for foreign help of his 2020 reelection campaign.

In a report released Tuesday afternoon, Democrats concluded that Trump “subverted U.S. foreign policy toward Ukraine and undermined our national security” in order to pressure Ukraine to announce investigations into a political rival and push “a discredited conspiracy theory alleging that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.”

» READ MORE: House report outlines evidence for Trump impeachment

Trump has denied any attempt to influence the forthcoming election, repeatedly referring to the phone conversation as “perfect.” Despite complaints about being shut out of the impeachment process, both Trump and his lawyers have turned down an offer from Nadler to participate in Wednesday’s hearings.

You can stream the hearing here, courtesy of PBS:

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Wednesday’s hearing:

What time does the impeachment hearing start?

The hearing, being held by the House Judiciary Committee, began at 10 a.m. Wednesday. Though it’s unclear how long the hearing will last, at least two networks are planning their coverage well into the afternoon.

Both Nadler and Georgia Rep. Doug Collins, the Republican ranking member on the committee, will present opening statements before the witnesses offer their own opening statements and testimony.

How to watch and stream the impeachment hearings live

Unlike the first round of the public impeachment inquiry, not all of the major broadcast networks will cut into their local programming to cover Wednesday’s hearings.

In Philadelphia, WHYY-TV and CBS3 (sorry, The Price is Right fans) confirmed they will have live impeachment coverage. 6ABC began coverage at 10 a.m., but hasn’t committed to full daylong coverage. Fox29 was the only local broadcast network not to offer full coverage last time around, and is once again expected to just carry the opening statements. A spokesperson from NBC10 said they would not know their coverage plan until Wednesday.

All of the major cable news networks — C-SPAN, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC — plan to air every minute live, sandwiched with special coverage and analysis. Viewers can also stream live coverage on the network’s various apps and websites, as well as on YouTube through a host of media companies.

Who are the witnesses who will testify?

On Wednesday, four witnesses are scheduled to testify — three called by Democrats, and one called by Republicans.

Unlike previous hearings, these aren’t factual witnesses testifying about what they knew about Trump’s controversial phone call with Zelensky — they’re constitutional experts meant to examine the premise of “high crimes and misdemeanors” and offer perspective on the impeachment process itself.

The four witnesses are:

  1. Noah Feldman, professor of law at Harvard Law School. He is also a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, where he has written that Trump’s conduct is “a constitutional violation and an abuse of power,” legitimate grounds for Democrats to move forward with impeachment.

  2. Pamela Karlan, professor of public interest law at Stanford Law School. Karlan served for two years as deputy assistant attorney general in the Obama administration, overseeing the voting-rights section. She was also mentioned as a potential Supreme Court nominee when Justice David Souter retired in 2009.

  3. Michael Gerhardt, professor of jurisprudence at the University of North Carolina School of Law. In addition to being part of Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, Gerhardt has ties to Philadelphia, serving as a scholar at the National Constitution Center and University of Pennsylvania Law School. He is also a fellow at Penn’s Katz Center for Advanced Jewish Studies.

  4. Jonathan Turley, professor of public interest law at the George Washington University Law School. Turley is probably best known as a TV legal analyst, and is currently works for both CBS News and the BBC. He is also a frequent columnist, and recently wrote for USA Today that lawmakers lack "direct evidence of a quid pro quo on American military aid to Ukraine

Who will be questioning the witnesses?

The Judiciary Committee’s hearing uses the same format as the Intelligence Committee, which allows for extended questioning of the witnesses following opening statements.

Both parties are once again expected lean on attorneys to question the witnesses. Politico reports that Democrats will turn to Norm Eisen, a former White House lawyer in the Obama administration who has been working with the Judiciary Committee since February.

It’s unclear who Republican will turn to, if anyone. They could bring back Steve Castor, a Philadelphia-area native who became an unlikely star during the first round of the impeachment inquiry last month.

Members of the House Judiciary Committee

There are 41 lawmakers on the Judiciary Committee (24 Democrats and 17 Republicans), nearly double the size of the Intelligence Committee (21 members in total). With each member afforded the opportunity to question the witnesses for five minutes, expect Wednesday’s hearing to be lengthy.

There are three lawmakers from Pennsylvania on the committee: Democratic Reps. Mary Gay Scanlon and Madeleine Dean, and Republican Rep. Guy Reschenthaler.

Also on the Republican side are some of Trump’s most outspoken supporters — Collins, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Jim Jordan of Ohio, John Ratcliffe of Texas, and Debbie Lesko of Arizona.