As Democrats seek to pile pressure on President Trump with public hearings scheduled next week, Trump team's strategy seems to be to go for the impeachment inquiry's weakest spot -- the political affiliation of the whistleblower -- and undermine the whole effort's public credibility.

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out a news story that identified the whistle-blower and hinted that the person had worked with Christopher Steele, the author of the anti-Trump Steele dossier, and also with former Vice-Presdient Joe Biden.

And the White House added people to its communicaitions team, a clear indication that the President will turn the impeachment battle into one of voter perception. Trump had just last month said: “I don’t have teams, everyone is talking about teams. I am the team. I did nothing wrong.”

International Business Times brings the key developments Wednesday around the Congressional impeachment inquiry against President Trump.

White House adds staff to build impeachment response

Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and ex-Treasury spokesman Tony Sayegh were brought on board by President Trump to structure the White House’s response to the impeachment inquiry.

With polls showing a shift in support and the Democrats planning public hearings starting next week, Trump is now building up his communications team to counter the damaging allegations coming out through the transcripts of witness testimonies.

The President’s allies have also had asked him in the past to build a dedicated team to help with the impeachment response, something similar to what former President Bill Clinton did while he was being impeached.

Democrats release testimony of top U.S. Diplomat

House Democrats released the testimony of Billy Taylor, a top diplomat who serves as the chargé d’affaires for Ukraine. According to the transcript, Taylor had concerns about the influence that Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani had over the proceedings in Ukraine.

Taylor gave details in his deposition about what he considered was an effort by Trump to create a shadow foreign policy to pressurize the Ukrainian president to give in to his demands. He also confirmed that the irregular foreign policy channel was led by Giuliani, who he said was acting on behalf of the President.

“By mid-July, it was becoming clear to me that the [White House] meeting President Zelensky wanted was conditioned on investigations of Burisma and alleged Ukrainian influence in the 2016 elections,” Taylor’s testimony said. Burisma is the Ukraining business group that had appointed Joe Biden's son Hunter to its board.

Impeachment transcripts reveal details of Giuliani's role

The transcripts released this week by impeachment investigators establish that Giuliani, who was President Trump’s enforcer, circumvented the official channels to pressurize Ukraine to give into Trump’s demands to investigate his political opponents. Diplomats and foreign service officers became collateral damage along the shady path that Giuliani took.

The details revealed in the transcript build a consistent and damaging narrative against Trump, according to Politico.

“I think you will see throughout the course of the testimony — not only their testimony but many others — the most important facts are largely not contested,” House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said.

The report said that the transcripts showed a widespread concern among American diplomats over the way military aid was used as a bargaining chip by the President.

Trump rails against Schiff at Louisiana rally

Trump continued to rail against the Democrats and whistleblower as he remained defiant about the concerns raised by the transcripts.

In his campaign rally in Louisiana on Wednesday, Trump attacked Schiff over the Ukraine call transcript, saying the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee only offered a controversial, confusing paraphrase of the President's phone call with Ukraine's president.

He also criticized the whistleblower for disappearing after releasing a rough transcript of his “perfect call” with the Ukraine President.

At one point, the President made a curious claim that he was indeed a member of the elite.

"I went to better schools than they did, I have nicer houses than they do, I have nicer apartments, I have nicer everything. And they're 'elite,' but we're not elite," Trump said.

Rand Paul blocks bill to protect Trump whistleblower

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky) blocked a resolution Wednesday that reaffirmed whistleblower protection.

"I support whistleblowers, and I do think they have a role to play in keeping government accountable ... but what we have seen over the last few years is that we have a system that we should continue to refine,” Paul said.

Paul also accused the Democrats of “selective outrage.”

Trump Jr calls attention to whistleblower's politics

Donald Trump Jr. tweeted out an article that linked the alleged whistleblower to Christopher Steele, the man who compiled a discredited dossier that President Trump says started an FBI probe into the Russian intervention in the 2016 elections, and said the person had worked for Joe Biden.

Trump has used the Steele dossier and the FBI's reliance on it to great political advantage, blunting all efforts by Democrats to take down his presidency.

Establishing clear links between the whistle-blower and Steele, and Biden, could help Trump and his team replicate the same success with the current impeachment inquiry. And leave the Democrats with some really uncomfortable questions to answer that will take away public focus from their current impeachment effort.

US President Donald Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry that has only grown in intensity, and now poses the greatest threat to his presidency
US President Donald Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry that has only grown in intensity, and now poses the greatest threat to his presidency AFP / MANDEL NGAN