The current hearings going on in the US Congress are intended to determine if there are grounds for the impeachment of President Trump. If Congress determines that there are such grounds, the matter would proceed to a trial in the Senate and it would require a 2/3rds majority of senators for the President to be removed from office. Very few people expect that Trump would be found guilty by a large enough majority in the Senate due to the partisan divisions within the Senate. However, the first hurdle is to start a formal impeachment of the President and that is looking more likely.
The crux of the matter is whether President Trump used his office to solicit help from a foreign power to gain a domestic political advantage as the US heads into its presidential electoral cycle. The specific allegation is that Trump used US military aid and the prospect of a meeting at the White House to induce the Ukrainian President to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son Hunter, the latter’s involvement with a Ukrainian company, Burisma and the former’s role (whilst vice president of the USA) in the dismissal of a Ukrainian prosecutor. Joe Biden is a front runner to be the Democratic nominee for President in next year’s election.
The latest problem for Trump comes from testimony from his political appointee as ambassador to the EU, Gordon Sondland, whose memory has improved since an earlier submission.
In damning testimony, Sondland stated that the involvement in the Ukrainian affair of Rudi Giuliani (Trump’s personal lawyer) was on the direct instructions of Mr Trump. He testified:
"We did not want to work with Mr Giuliani. Simply put, we played the hand we were dealt. We all understood that if we refused to work with Mr Giuliani, we would lose an important opportunity to cement relations between the United States and Ukraine. So we followed the president's orders. I know that members of this committee have frequently framed these complicated issues in the form of a simple question: Was there a quid pro quo? As I testified previously, with regard to the requested White House call and White House meeting, the answer is yes."
On the face of it, if Sondland’s account is to be believed (and it is corroborated by direct and second hand testimony related to the affair), Mr Trump has indeed committed an impeachable offence.