Public hearings in the impeachment process could start as soon as next week due to a variety of factors, the Washington Examiner reported Monday.
The main reason is the closed-door proceedings that began with the Ukraine whistleblower complaint have stalled as a half-dozen Trump administration witnesses are refusing to appear for depositions this week. This has halted the proceedings and left the three committees carrying out the probe with little to do.
On Monday alone, four senior White House officials refused to testify, according to Politico, a victory for the White House, which has otherwise failed to keep administration officials from being deposed.
The other contributing factor is Democrats are eager to begin the public hearing phase of their impeachment proceedings.
"Public opinion is everything," Rep. Terri Sewell, D-Ala., a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told NBC's "Meet the Press," adding, "I think the American people understand right and wrong. And I think that it's important that we let them hear for themselves the testimony."
Democratic leaders have suggested public impeachment hearings could begin Nov. 12, when the House returns to session.
The House voted on formal rules for public hearings last week, and Democrats are becoming increasingly worried people are becoming bored with impeachment.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Trump's efforts to block the witness testimony would be used to build a case charging him with obstruction of Congress.
Schiff said, however, Democrats "are not going to delay our work. That would merely allow these witnesses or the White House to succeed with their goal, which is to deny, delay, and obstruct."
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