For the first time, Congress will hold public testimony this week in the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.

New York will play a major role. A former mayor is at the center of Trump's call to the president of Ukraine, and New York members of Congress are leading several committees running point on the investigation.

Washington D.C. Bureau Reporter Jeevan Vittal explains what New Yorkers need to know about impeachment:

Give me a brief overview of all things impeachment. Why is this happening?

This impeachment inquiry is to determine whether Trump used the Office of the Presidency for personal political gain.

The president is accused of withholding around $400 million in congressional-approved military aid in order to apply pressure on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to dig up dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, stemming from unfounded allegations.

So far there's been:

  • A memo of a call between Trump and Zelensky
  • A whistleblower complaint
  • Several depositions from high-ranking officials in the State Department corroborating the allegations that the president abused the powers of his office.

Is this an impeachment hearing, inquiry, or trial Wednesday and Friday?

A lot of terms are being thrown around. The impeachment inquiry is the House's investigation of the president and his alleged actions involving Ukraine.

An impeachment hearing is when members of Congress hear testimony and gather facts from people, either in public or behind closed doors.

The trial happens in the Senate, but only if the House votes to approve articles of impeachment.

How does Rudy Giuliani play into all of this?

The president tasked his personal attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, to essentially be the point person on trying to find any evidence of wrongdoing by Hunter Biden — but, so far, none exists.

According to multiple witness testimonies, Giuliani went outside normal diplomatic and national security protocols and may have broken the law in doing so.

Giuliani is being compared to Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, as a so-called fixer.

Will Giuliani testify at some point?

Giuliani has been subpoenaed, but for now, he's defying it, although it's possible he could testify if a court orders him to comply with Congress's subpoena.

How do New York members of Congress play into all of this?

New York's congressional delegation plays a key role in all of this, beginning with Rep. Jerry Nadler, a Democrat who represents parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan in the 10th Congressional District. He is the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. That's where articles of impeachment, if necessary, will be written up and sent to the full House for a vote.

Eliot Engel, a Democrat who represents parts of the Bronx and Westchester County in the 16th Congressional District, is chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee — one of the three key committees running point on the Ukraine investigation. Along with House Intelligence, the House Oversight Committee is also part of the investigation. Carolyn Maloney — a Democrat who represents parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and Manhattan in the 12th Congressional District — is acting chairwoman of that committee.

Watch NY1 at 10 a.m. on Wednesday and 9 a.m. Friday to see the impeachment hearings live.


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