PV International Desk : President Donald Trump faces more potentially damning testimony in the Ukraine scandal as a critical week of public impeachment hearings opens Tuesday in the House of Representatives.

Trump’s suggestion that he might himself testify in the investigation which threatens his presidency had no impact on the House Intelligence Committee’s plans to interview nine witnesses this week.

Most significantly, they include Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union, who allegedly transmitted to the Ukraine government Trump’s demands for help in finding dirt on his Democratic rivals ahead of next year’s presidential election.

The hearings also include diplomats who have already testified privately that Trump and Sondland repeatedly pushed Kiev to open investigations into Democrat Joe Biden — Trump’s potential 2020 reelection challenger — and withheld nearly $400 million in aid and a White House meeting requested by Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky as pressure.

House leader Nancy Pelosi said Monday in a letter to fellow Democrats that Trump engaged in “extortion and bribery.”

“The facts are uncontested: that the president abused his power for his own personal, political benefit, at the expense of our national security interests,” she said.