All the latest updates as US House launches official impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the United States‘ House of Representatives, has announced a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, acquiescing to mounting pressure from fellow Democrats and plunging a deeply divided nation into an election-year clash between Congress and the president.
The announcement on Tuesday came amid reports Trump may have abused his presidential powers and sought help from a foreign government to undermine former Vice President Joe Biden, the current Democratic frontrunner, and help his own re-election.
In a summer phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Trump asked for help investigating Biden, according to a White House-released summary of the call. In the days before the call, Trump ordered advisers to freeze $400m in military aid for Ukraine – prompting speculation that he was holding out the money as leverage for information on Biden. Trump has denied that charge but acknowledged he blocked the funds, later released.
The Trump-Ukraine phone call is part of the whistle-blower’s complaint that was released this week.
Trump has blasted the inquiry as “Witch Hunt garbage” and said he has done nothing wrong.
As a formal impeachment inquiry in the House gets under way, here are all the latest updates:
Saturday, September 28
White House restricted access to Putin, Saudi transcripts: Report
The White House restricted access to the transcripts of US President Donald Trump’s calls containing sensitive conversations with both his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin and the leaders of Saudi Arabia, according to a media report.
Following the practice put in place after previous leaks, the documents were concealed in the ultra-secure computer system accessible with only the highest security access, The New York Times reported late on Friday citing current and former officials.
“The Saudi calls placed in the restricted system were with King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and Prince Khalid bin Salman, who at the time was the Saudi ambassador to the United States,” the report said.
Read more here.
Friday, September 27
Trump’s envoy for Ukraine resigns amid controversy: Reports
Trump’s special representative for Ukraine, Kurt Volker, resigned on Friday, US media reported.
A whistle-blower complaint from within the intelligence community, released publicly on Thursday, described Volker as trying to “contain the damage” from efforts by Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani to press Ukraine to investigate Democrats.
Volker, who had served in the position on a part-time, unpaid basis since 2017, had sought to help Ukraine’s government resolve its confrontation with Russia-sponsored separatists.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Volker’s resignation was first reported by The State Press, a student-run publication at Arizona State University, which backs a think-tank where Volker serves as executive director.
Read more here.
US House panel to hear from inspector general on whistle-blower complaint
A House committee will hear closed-door testimony from the intelligence community’s inspector general on October 4, a congressional official said on Friday.
The hearing before the House Intelligence Committee relates to the whistle-blower report alleging Trump abused his office in attempting to solicit Ukraine’s interference in the 2020 US election for his political benefit.
The inspector general, Michael Atkinson, a Trump appointee, determined that the whistle-blower’s report was credible.
Atkinson was also concerned that Trump potentially exposed himself to “serious national security and counter-intelligence risks” when he pressed his Ukrainian counterpart to investigate Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden and his son during a July 25 phone call, according to a Justice Department legal opinion.
House panel subpoenas Pompeo for Ukraine documents
Three Democratic-led US House of Representatives Committees announced a subpoena on Friday for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, seeking to compel him to hand over documents concerning contact with the Ukrainian government.
The House Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Oversight Committees also scheduled depositions for five State Department officials over the next two weeks, including former US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, Ambassador Kurt Volker, the US special representative for Ukraine, and Ambassador Gordon Sondland, the US ambassador to the European Union.
Trump advertisement claims Dems trying to ‘steal’ election
Trump accused Democrats of trying to “steal” the 2020 election in a new television advertisement, as he fends off an impeachment inquiry by House Democrats.
The advertisement also attacked Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden, highlighting his efforts to make US aid to Ukraine contingent on that country firing its chief prosecutor. The advertisement claims that the fired prosecutor was investigating the former vice president’s son.
In fact, the prosecutor had failed to pursue any major anti-corruption investigations, leaving Ukraine’s international donors deeply frustrated. In pressing for the prosecutor’s removal, Biden was representing the official position of the US government, which was shared by other Western allies and many in Ukraine.
Trump’s re-election campaign said the new advertisement is the subject of a $10m buy, with $2m coming from the Republican National Committee.
Brad Parscale, Trump’s campaign manager, says, “This is a Joe Biden scandal and the Democrats are trying to use it to steal the election.”
Conway: Trump is the most ‘battle-tested person I know’
White House Counsellor Kellyanne Conway dismissed a question of whether the White House was organising an impeachment war room, saying the president is “the most battle-tested person I’ve ever met”.
US House could kick off impeachment hearings next week: CNN
The US House of Representatives Intelligence Committee could open hearings as early as next week in its impeachment inquiry into President Trump, CNN reported on Friday, citing an interview with the panel’s chairman.
“We will move as expeditiously as possible,” Adam Schiff said, according to the broadcaster. “But we have to see what witnesses are going to make themselves available and what witnesses are going to require compulsion.”
Schiff said subpoenas could be issued and depositions taken as early as next week, CNN reported.
White House lawyers directed sealing of phone transcript
The White House on Friday confirmed a key detail in the intelligence whistle-blower’s complaint alleging that Trump abused the power of his office.
A senior administration official acknowledged to the Associated Press that the rough transcript of Trump’s July 25 phone conversation with Ukrainian President Zelenskiy was moved to a highly-classified system maintained by the National Security Council at the direction of lawyers. The motivation and timing of the move remained unclear.
White House attorneys were made aware of concerns about Trump’s comments on the call before the intelligence community whistle-blower sent his allegations to the inspector general.
Biden: Let’s be clear Trump is trying to hijack this election
Former Vice President Joe Biden tweeted on Friday, “Let’s be clear, President Trump is trying to hijack this election.”
He added, “This isn’t a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. This is a national issue.”
Let’s be clear, President Trump is trying to hijack this election.
This isn’t a Democratic issue or a Republican issue. This is a national issue. pic.twitter.com/me7g8R0h72
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) September 27, 2019
House defeats Republican measure disapproving of impeachment inquiry
The Democratic-led US House of Representatives killed a Republican resolution on Friday disapproving of the formal impeachment inquiry into Trump Pelosi announced this week.
The vote was 222-184, largely along party lines, in favour of a motion to table the resolution introduced by Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican leader.
The introduction of the resolution, and the vote, underscore the deep partisan divide in the House over the effort to investigate the Republican president.
Bernie Sanders: Trump is ‘spoiled brat’
Bernie Sanders, a 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful, says Trump is a “spoiled brat”.
“He grew up as a very rich kid,” Sanders tweet. “And now he thinks he can do anything he wants. Most people work hard, they tell the truth, they pay their taxes. Trump does the opposite.”
Donald Trump is a spoiled brat.
He grew up as a very rich kid. And now he thinks he can do anything he wants.
Most people work hard, they tell the truth, they pay their taxes. Trump does the opposite.
— Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) September 27, 2019
Ukraine agency says allegations against Burisma cover period before Biden joined
A Ukrainian investigation of gas company Burisma is focused solely on activity that took place before Hunter Biden, son of former US Vice President Joe Biden, was hired to sit on its board, Ukraine’s anti-corruption investigation agency said.
The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) said it was investigating permits granted by officials at the Ministry of Ecology for the use of natural resources to a string of companies managed by Burisma.
But it said the period under investigation was 2010-2012 and noted that this was before the company hired Hunter Biden.
“Changes to the board of Burisma Limited, which are currently the object of international attention, took place only in May 2014, and therefore are not and never were the subject of [the anti-corruption bureau’s] investigation,” the bureau’s statement said.
Hunter Biden was a director on Burisma’s board from 2014-2018, according to documents filed by the company in Cyprus, where it is registered.
Get caught up on the Trump impeachment inquiry
A quick round-up of how the US got here:
- August 12: Whistle-blower files complaint
- September: Media reports begin surfacing on some of the details of the complaint; demands grow for the complaint to be released; Trump suggests he raised Bidens with Ukraine president
- September 24: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announces the House is moving forward with an impeachment inquiry
- September 25: The White House releases a summary of the phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian president. Read the summary here. House and Senate intelligence panels receive the whistle-blower complaint
- September 26: The House Intelligence Committee releases a redacted version of the whistle-blower complaint. Read the complaint here. Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testifies before congress.
Pelosi: Attorney General Barr ‘has gone rogue’
US Attorney General William Barr and the US Justice Department have gone “rogue”, US House Speaker Pelosi said on Friday, days after opening an impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump over allegations that the president solicited Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 US election.
“He’s gone rogue,” Pelosi said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” programme.
Trump calls on House intel chair to resign
In a pair of angry tweets Friday morning, Trump went after the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and called on him to resign.
Trump accused Adam Schiff of having “lied” when during his opening remarks to a committee hearing on Thursday.
Republicans have accused Schiff of “inventing” a conversation between Trump and the Ukrainian president.
Schiff responded to the allegations, saying his account was “meant to be at least part, in parody”.
“The fact that that’s not clear is a separate problem in and of itself,” he said.
Markets in Asia fall ‘over impeachment sentiment’
Asian markets fell on Friday following declines on Wall Street as the impeachment inquiry into Trump weighed on sentiment.
Political turmoil in Washington following the release of the whistle-blower’s complaint overshadowed positive comments from Trump on US-China trade talks and steps towards a new agreement with Japan.
“The market isn’t clear on what to make of the latest impeachment developments in the US, and this continues to increase uncertainly and could be weighing on investor sentiment,” Stephen Innes, Asia Pacific market strategist at AxiTrader, said in a note.
Thursday, September 26
Vermont Republican governor backs Trump impeachment inquiry
Governor of US state of Vermont has become the first Republican chief executive to support an impeachment inquiry against President Trump.
Phil Scott said at a news conference on Thursday that he was not surprised by the news that Trump repeatedly urged Ukraine’s president to “look into” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden because he has “watched him over the years”.
“I think the inquiry is important, yes, and where it leads from here is going to be driven by the facts that are established,” Scott said.
Scott’s remarks are one of the few signs of Republican discomfort with the revelations.
House chairmen to Trump: Stop attacking whistle-blower, witnesses
The chairmen of three House panels released a statement on Thursday, demanding Trump to stop attacking the whistle-blower and the individual’s sources.
“President Trump is fully aware that our committees are seeking testimony from this whistle-blower and others referenced in the whistle-blower’s complaint released today as part of the House’s impeachment inquiry, and our nation’s laws prohibit efforts to discourage, intimidate, or otherwise pressure a witness not to provide testimony to Congress,” said Eliot L Engel, the chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, and Elijah Cummings, the chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform.
” No officials with knowledge relevant to the committees’ investigation, including knowledge of the subject of the whistle-blower complaint, may be subject to any intimidation, reprisal, or threat of reprisal, and all witnesses must be made available for congressional testimony,” the chairmen added.
“The president’s comments today constitute reprehensible witness intimidation and an attempt to obstruct Congress’s impeachment inquiry. We condemn the president’s attacks, and we invite our Republican counterparts to do the same because Congress must do all it can to protect this whistle-blower, and all whistle-blowers. Threats of violence from the leader of our country have a chilling effect on the entire whistle-blower process, with grave consequences for our democracy and national security.”
US spy officials were forthcoming in testimony: Senate panel chair
The top US spy official and the inspector general for intelligence agencies “were extremely forthcoming” in closed-door testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday on a whistle-blower complaint against Trump, the panel’s chairman said.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr said acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire and Inspector General Michael Atkinson “were extremely forthcoming with us today, extremely helpful at trying to fill in some of the things that we haven’t been able to pick up just from the published documents”.
Schiff: President’s comments invite ‘violence against witnesses’
Responding to reports that US President Trump likened the whistle-blower’s sources “to a spy” and said, “You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart?”, the House intelligence chair said Americans should denounce such witness intimidation.
“The President’s suggestion that those involved in the whistleblower complaint should be dealt with as ‘we used to do’ for ‘spies and treason’ is a reprehensible invitation to violence against witnesses in our investigation. All Americans must denounce such witness intimidation,” Adam Schiff tweeted.
The President’s suggestion that those involved in the whisteblower complaint should be dealt with as “we used to do” for “spies and treason” is a reprehensible invitation to violence against witnesses in our investigation.
All Americans must denounce such witness intimidation. https://t.co/cTQQXdbGsa
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 26, 2019
Whistle-blower is a CIA officer detailed to White House: NYT
The whistle-blower who filed a complaint against President Trump was a CIA officer who was detailed to work at the White House at some point, according to the New York Times, who site three people familiar with the matter.
The newspaper said that the man has since returned to the CIA.
Lawyers for the whistle-blower declined to confirm the New York Times reporting, the newspaper said.
“Any decision to report any perceived identifying information of the whistle-blower is deeply concerning and reckless, as it can place the individual in harm’s way,” said Andrew Bakaj, his lead counsel. “The whistle-blower has a right to anonymity.”
Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, defended the newspaper’s decision to publish the information, saying, “The role of the whistle-blower, including his credibility and his place in the government, is essential to understanding one of the most important issues facing the country – whether the president of the United States abused power and whether the White House covered it up.”
Trump seeks whistle-blower sources, mentions treason: reports
President Trump told staff from the US mission to the United Nations on Thursday he wanted to know who provided information to a whistle-blower on his phone call with Ukraine’s president, likening them to a spy, two newspapers reported.
“I want to know who’s the person who gave the whistle-blower the information because that’s close to a spy,” Trump was quoted as saying by the New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
“You know what we used to do in the old days when we were smart? Right? The spies and treason, we used to handle it a little differently than we do now,” the Los Angeles Times reported.
Schiff: Complaint lays out scheme to use leverage to obtain dirt on opponent
US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said the whistle-blower complaint released on Thursday reveals a series of “damning allegations” concerning President Trump’s conduct, including a telephone call in which he sought dirt on a political opponent from Ukraine’s president.
The complaint “sets out a series of the most damning allegations concerning the conduct of the president and others potentially within the administration,” Schiff told reporters after a hearing in which the acting US director of national intelligence testified that the complaint was credible.
On whistle-blower complaint, Pompeo says State Department acted appropriately
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said he had not yet fully read the whistle-blower complaint about US President Trump’s interactions with the leader of Ukraine but that he believed the State Department had acted appropriately.
“To the best of my knowledge and from what I have seen so far, each of the actions that were undertaken by State Department officials was entirely appropriate,” Pompeo told a news conference.
House intelligence panel hearing adjourns
The House Intelligence Committee hearing with testimony from acting National Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire has ended.
‘This is a cover-up’: Pelosi says Trump betrayed oath of office
US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says an intelligence community whistle-blower’s complaint shows President Donald Trump has undermined national security and tried to cover it up.
Pelosi told reporters Thursday at her weekly press conference that allegations Trump pressured Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political rival Joe Biden show he “betrayed his oath of office, our national security and the integrity” of US elections.
She added: “This is a cover-up.”
Trump has denied doing anything wrong.
Amid House testimony, Trump goes to fundraiser
While the nation’s top intelligence official is testifying in Washington, DC, President Donald Trump is attending a closed fundraising breakfast in New York.
The fundraiser is at a Manhattan restaurant and is expected to raise about $3 million for Trump and other Republican campaigns.
A woman on Thursday held a sign through the window of a nearby sandwich shop that said, “Whistle-blowers set us free.” Next door, a pizza place posted a homemade sign written on a pizza box that said “We love Mr Trump.”
Trump began his day with tweets denouncing House Democrats’ impeachment inquiry and urging Republicans to “fight hard,” saying “our country is at stake.”
Republican member of panel tells president ‘this is not OK’
A Republican member of the House Intelligence Committee said Trump’s conversation with the Ukrainian leader “was not OK”.
“I want to say to the president, ‘This is not OK,'” Mike Turner said of Trump’s call with the Ukrainian president. “That conversation is not OK. And I think it’s disappointing to the American public when they read this transcript.”
Read a summary of the call here.
Maguire: I didn’t withhold the complaint, I ‘delayed’ it
Acting National Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire said he didn’t withhold the whistle-blower complaint, he “delayed” it. He also said he was not directed to withhold the complaint from Congress by the White House or Trump administration.
“This is a unique situation,” Maguire said.
Read the full complaint here.
Maguire says whistle-blower can testify freely after clearances
Acting National Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire told the House Intelligence Committee that the whistle-blower, whose identity is unknown, will be able to testify freely once the security clearance issues for the individual’s counsel is sorted.
CNN reported late on Wednesday that the whistle-blower had tentatively agreed to testify if Maguire approved security clearance of the individual’s legal counsel so the lawyers can accompany their client.
Nunes to Maguire: ‘Be careful what you say’
At the end of his questioning, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, told acting National Intelligence Director Joseph Maguire to be “careful what you say because they are going to use your words against you”.
Acting DNI says he went to White House counsel after receiving complaint
After being pressed, the acting director of national intelligence said he first went to the White House Office of Legal Counsel to determine any executive privilege concerns regarding the whistle-blower complaint.
Maguire says whistle-blower ‘did the right thing’
The acting director of national intelligence said a whistle-blower “did the right thing” by coming forward to report concerns over the White House’s handling of a call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s leader.
Joseph Maguire told the House intelligence committee at a hearing on Thursday the whistle-blower followed the law “every step of the way”.
Acting DNI: Everything in this matter is totally unprecedented
Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, citing questions of executive privilege regarding the whistle-blower complaint, said the matter is “totally unprecedented”.
Acting DNI: I handled this matter in full compliance with the law
Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire told the House Intelligence Committee that he believes he was acting in full compliance with the law at all times.
Schiff to spy chief: Why did you seek DOJ opinion
The House Intelligence Committee chairman asked the US’s top spy chief why he asked for Justice Department’s opinion on whether to provide the whistle-blower complaint to congress.
Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is testifying before the House Intelligence Panel.
House intel committee releases redacted whistle-blower complaint
The House Intelligence Committee has released a redacted version of the whistle-blower complaint.
This complaint should never have been withheld, and it provides a roadmap for our investigation.
We will do everything we can to protect this courageous whistleblower.
The public has a right to see the complaint and what it reveals.
Read it here:https://t.co/B0DrqDt4MS
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 26, 2019
Acting DNI chief Maguire to testify
Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire is set to testify on Thursday morning on the whistle-blower complaint that helped prompt House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to announce the House was moving forward with an impeachment inquiry of Trump.
The hearing is set to begin at 10am local time (13:00GMT)
Whistle-blower complaint declassified, may be released Thursday
US Representative Chris Stewart tweeted late on Wednesday that the whistle-blower complaint has been declassified.
US media, citing unnamed sources, reported that it could be released as early as Thursday.
“I encourage you all to read it,” Stewart said.
Majority of US House now favour impeachment inquiry
The majority – 217 Democrats and one Independent – of the US House members now favour some kind of impeachment inquiry or action, according to US media.
Some tallies put the number at 219 Democrats and one Independent.
US media tallies are based on public statements and comments to US news outlets.
According to the New York Times, more than 70 Democrats have said they support impeachment since Monday.
Whistle-blower tentatively agrees to testify: CNN
The whistle-blower who filed the complaint now at the centre of an impeachment inquiry of Trump has tentatively agreed to testify, CNN reported.
According to the news outlet, the whistle-blower will only agree to appear before members of congress if acting DNI chief Joseph Maguire approves security clearances of the individuals legal counsel so the counsel can accompany their client.
Wednesday, September 25
Schumer calls for whistle-blower complaint to be ‘immediately’ released
Chuck Schumer, the US Senate’s top Democrat, on Wednesday called for the immediate release of a complaint filed by an intelligence official reportedly about a call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.
“The public has a right to read the whistle-blower’s complaint for themselves. The contents of the complaint should be made public immediately,” Schumer said in a statement.
Some politicians were able to view the complaint on Wednesday, but have been barred from publicly discussing the contents of it.
Republican US senator calls details in whistle-blower complaint ‘troubling’
A Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday said there are “real troubling things here” in a whistle-blower’s complaint about President Donald Trump’s conversation with Ukraine’s leader.
Senator Ben Sasse, speaking to reporters upon leaving a secure room for senators to read the complaint, added that “Republicans ought not just circle the wagons” to protect Trump.
Similarly, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told reporters that the document was “very troubling.” “There are so many facts that have to be examined,” Schumer said.
US House intel panel chair Schiff says whistle-blower complaint credible, disturbing
US House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said on Wednesday after viewing a whistle-blower complaint concerning President Donald Trump that the allegations were “deeply disturbing” and “very credible”.
“I found the allegations deeply disturbing. I also found them very credible,” Schiff told reporters.
“I want to thank the whistle-blower for coming forward. I think what this courageous individual has done has exposed serious wrongdoing,” he said.
Trump says he doesn’t like precedent of releasing details of calls with foreign leaders
US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he decided to release a summary of a controversial phone call with Ukraine’s leader because “horrible things” were being reported about it, but that he did not like the precedent of releasing details of such calls.
“I don’t like the precedent,” Trump said at a news conference on the sidelines of a UN General Assembly meeting. “I don’t like it where you’re dealing with heads of state and to think that their call is going to be released.”
Trump calls inquiry ‘a hoax’
Trump again used his often repeated line when it comes talking about investigations of him and his administration: “a hoax”.
“The Democrats did this hoax during the United Nations week. It was perfect,” Trump said during a news conference in New York on Wednesday. “Because this way it takes away from the tremendous achievements that we’re taking care of doing that we’re involved in. In New York City at the United Nations.”
Trump also said he “didn’t threaten anybody”, denying that he attempted to pressure Ukraine’s leader.
Trump says he backs transparency, calls for transparency from Dems
Trump on Twitter and in a press conference said he has informed Republicans that he full supports transparency “on so-called whistle-blower information” but he said he insists “on transparency from Joe Biden and his son Hunter, on the millions of dollars that have been quickly and easily…taken out of Ukraine and China”.
“Additionally, I demand transparency from Democrats that went to Ukraine,” he said.
Ukraine president thought only US side of Trump call would be published
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday he thought that only US President Donald Trump’s side of their July phone call would be published.
According to a summary of the momentous telephone call released by the Trump administration, Trump pressed Zelensky to investigate a political rival, former Democratic Vice President Joe Biden, in coordination with the US attorney general and Trump’s personal lawyer.
“I personally think that sometimes such calls between presidents of independent countries should not be published,” Zelensky told Ukrainian media in a briefing in New York that was broadcast in Ukraine. “I just thought that they would publish their part.”
Zelensky said he did not know the details of an investigation into Biden’s son, repeating that he wants his new general prosecutor to investigate all cases.
Whistle-blower complaint to be delivered to Congress Wednesday: reports
Several US media outlets reported that the House and Senate intelligence committees will gain access to the the whistle-blower complaint at 4pm local time (20:00 GMT) on Wednesday.
Biden says Trump hurt US national security
Joe Biden said President Donald Trump not only has compromised national security but mounted “a direct attack on the independence” of the Justice Department.
The document shows Trump asking Zelensky to “do us a favour” by investigating Biden and his son, Hunter. Trump urged Zelensky to talk to Attorney General William Barr about the matter.
Biden said Trump “put personal politics” above US national security interests by soliciting a foreign leader’s help in damaging one of the US president’s domestic political rivals. Biden is a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
Trump says he put ‘no pressure’ on Zelenskiy
President Donald Trump said he placed “no pressure” on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden.
Trump commented on Wednesday during a meeting in New York with Zelenskiy on the sidelines of the annual UN General Assembly.
Asked about their July telephone call, Zelensky said it was a “good phone call” and “normal” and that he and Trump discussed “many things.”
Zelenskiy added, “Nobody pushed me.”
Top US spy official threatened to quit if pressured on testimony: report
The top US spy official threatened to resign over concerns the White House might press him to withhold information from Congress in scheduled testimony on Thursday about a whistle-blower complaint about President Donald Trump, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
Citing unnamed current and former US officials, the Post said acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire told the White House he was not willing to stonewall Congress.
It said the move was partly aimed at forcing the White House to make an explicit legal decision on whether it was going to assert executive privilege over the whistle-blower complaint, which Maguire has so far withheld from Congress.
Ukraine president says was not pushed by Trump to act on Biden
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Wednesday he was not pushed by US President Donald Trump to investigate a political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, and does not want to involved in the US elections.
“I don’t want to be involved to democratic open elections of US state,” he said. “We had I think good phone call, it was normal, we spoke about many things … I think, and you read it, that nobody pushed me.”
Republicans slam Democrats, defend Trump
The vast majority of Republicans have dismissed Trump’s phone call with his Ukrainian president as a “nothing call”.
Republicans leaned heavily on the fact that the rough transcript did not include direct evidence of a quid pro quo.
“Dems launched an impeachment inquiry based on a rumor instead of waiting for the facts,” tweeted Republican Representative Steve Scalise.
Dems launched an impeachment inquiry based on a rumor instead of waiting for the facts.
It’s now clear: there was no quid pro quo. @realDonaldTrump didn’t break any laws.
But this has never been about facts or laws for Dems & the media—they just want to undo the 2016 election.
— Steve Scalise (@SteveScalise) September 25, 2019
“Nothing remotely impeachable in transcript,” tweeted Republican Pete King. “Ukrainian President brought up Giuliani before @POTUS Trump mentioned Biden. No quid pro quo. Pursuing impeachment is indefensible.”
Nothing remotely impeachable in transcript. Ukrainian President brought up Giuliani before @POTUS Trump mentioned Biden. No quid pro quo. Pursuing impeachment is indefensible.
— Rep. Pete King (@RepPeteKing) September 25, 2019
Schumer calls for Senate intelligence panel to probe Trump’s handling of Ukraine
The US Senate intelligence panel should probe President Donald Trump’s handling of Ukraine, Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer told reporters on Wednesday following the release of a memo outlining Trump’s July call with the Ukrainian president.
Schumer, speaking to reporters, said the memo – which showed Trump asking Kiev to investigate his potential 2020 Democratic presidential rival Joe Biden – raised a number of questions that Republicans should also want answered.
The Senate committee, led by Republican Senator Richard Burr, conducted a largely bipartisan investigation into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 US election.
US House chairmen threaten subpoenas after ‘damning, shocking’ call
The chairmen of four of the US House of Representatives committees involved in the impeachment investigation of President Donald Trump called a summary of his call with Ukraine’s president “an unambiguous, damning, and shocking abuse” of office on Wednesday.
The four committee leaders, all Democrats, repeated that Congress needs full, unredacted access to the whistle-blower complaint that fueled calls for the impeachment inquiry and threatened to subpoena the State Department and White House if they do not turn over related records for a Thursday deadline.
Pelosi: Memo confirms need for impeachment inquiry
Democratic US House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the summary of a July phone conversation between US President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s president released by the Justice Department on Wednesday confirmed the need for an impeachment inquiry of Trump.
“The release of the notes of the call by the White House confirms that the President engaged in behavior that undermines the integrity of our elections, the dignity of the office he holds and our national security,” Pelsoi said in a statement.
House intel panel chair: Trump’s Ukraine call far more damning than expected
The chairman of the US House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff, on Wednesday said President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s president was far more damning than expected.
Schiff, a Democrat, said the memo of the call that the White House released earlier on Wednesday in which Trump asked Ukraine to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, currently seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, sounded like threats made by the mafia.
The transcript of the call reads like a classic mob shakedown:
– We do a lot for Ukraine
– There’s not much reciprocity
– I have a favor to ask
– Investigate my opponent
– My people will be in touch
Nice country you got there.
It would be a shame if something happened to her.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) September 25, 2019
Nadler calls on Barr to recuse himself ‘until we get to the bottom of this’
Jerrold Nadler, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, tweeted on Wednesday that Barr “must recuse himself until we get to the bottom of this matter”.
— (((Rep. Nadler))) (@RepJerryNadler) September 25, 2019
Barr connection marks possible new issue for Trump
Trump told Zelensky that Attorney General William Barr, the top US law enforcement official, would reach out to him about re-opening the investigation into the Ukrainian gas company, according to the rough transcript of a call between the US and Ukrainian leaders.
The connection to Barr marked a new and potentially more serious issue for Trump because it shows he took steps to involve the US government with a foreign country to investigate a political rival.
Trump did not ask Barr to contact Ukraine, Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec said, and Barr has not communicated with Ukraine about a possible investigation or any other subject. Barr, a Trump appointee, first found out about the conversation several weeks after it took place, Kupec said.
Memo shows Trump repeatedly prodded Ukraine president
President Donald Trump repeatedly prodded Ukraine’s new leader to work with Rudy Giuliani and the US attorney general to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden. That’s according to a five-page memo summarising the July 25 call.
The White House released the memo on Wednesday.
The conversation between Trump and Ukraine’s president is just one piece of a whistle-blower’s complaint made in mid-August.
The complaint is central to the impeachment inquiry announced Tuesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Trump told the Ukrainian president “If you can look into it … it sounds horrible to me”.
Trump was talking about unsubstantiated allegations that Biden sought to interfere with a Ukrainian prosecutor’s investigation of his son, Hunter.
Trump also confirmed that he ordered his staff to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine a few days before the call.
The president said he did nothing wrong.
House to vote on resolution calling for release of whistle-blower complaint
The Democrat-led House of Representatives plans to vote on Wednesday on a non-binding resolution condemning the Trump administration for withholding the whistle-blower complaint related to Trump’s phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart. The resolution also calls on the administration to release the complaint.
Asked about Trump, Ukrainian leader says only his son can pressure him
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, asked whether US President Donald Trump had put improper pressure on him during a July phone call, said nobody can put pressure on him except his six-year-old son.
“Nobody can put pressure on me because I am the president of an independent state,” Zelensky told Russian reporters in New York where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly.
“The only one person by the way who can put pressure on me … is my son, who is six years old,” said Zelensky whose comments were broadcast by the Rossiya 24 channel on Wednesday morning ahead of an planned meeting between Zelensky and Trump.
Trump complains again of harassment
Donald Trump described himself Wednesday as the worst-treated president ever after Democrats announced a formal impeachment inquiry against him.
“The Democrats are frozen with hatred and fear. They get nothing done. This should never be allowed to happen to another President. Witch Hunt!,” Trump tweeted.
Prior to the Democrats announcement, Trump asserted than an impeach inquiry would be a “positive” for him.
Tuesday, September 24
White House to release whistle-blower complaint
The White House is preparing to release a whistle-blower complaint about US President Donald Trump’s call with Ukraine’s leader by the end of the week, Politico magazine reported on Tuesday, citing a senior administration official.
Trump said on Tuesday he would release a transcript of the call between the two leaders, but the White House had previously resisted releasing the complaint.
Trump: impeachment inquiry ‘garbage’
President Donald Trump reacted swiftly to Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s announcement that the Democratic-controlled House is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry.
Trump noted that Pelosi’s announcement comes as he meets Tuesday with world leaders at the United Nations. He tweeted that “the Democrats purposely had to ruin and demean it with more breaking news Witch Hunt garbage. So bad for our Country!”
He added: “They never even saw the transcript of the call. A total Witch Hunt!”
Before the announcement, Trump asserted that an impeachment inquiry would be “positive for me”.
Pelosi orders impeachment inquiry
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced the US House is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.
Pelosi made the announcement on Tuesday from the speaker’s office at the Capitol saying “no one is above the law”.
The move puts the Democratic speaker’s stamp on the investigations that have been under way in the House.
Pelosi said the president “must be held accountable.”
Senate approves resolution of release of complaint
The Republican-led Senate has approved a nonbinding but symbolically important resolution calling on the Trump administration to immediately provide the House and Senate intelligence committees a copy of a whistle-blower complaint involving President Donald Trump.
The measure put forward by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer passed by a voice vote after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell endorsed the idea and noted that the bipartisan leadership of the Senate Intelligence Committee was working behind the scenes to obtain the complaint.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Tuesday that the House would vote on a similar resolution on Wednesday.
Biden: Congress must use ‘full constitutional authority’
Former Vice President Joe Biden said Congress must use its “full constitutional authority” to determine whether President Donald Trump asked the Ukrainian president for dirt on Biden as he runs for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Biden said if Trump doesn’t comply on that and other inquiries, he “will leave Congress … with no choice but to initiate impeachment”.
Biden said that would be a tragedy of Trump’s “own making”.
He added that the president apparently believes he is “above the law”.
Whistle-blower wants to speak
The chairman of the House intelligence committee said a whistle-blower who has been blocked by the Trump administration would like to speak to Congress.
The whistle-blower, whose identity is unknown, lodged a formal complaint with the inspector general for the intelligence community, but the acting director of national intelligence, Joseph Maguire, determined that it could not be forwarded to Congress.
The complaint at least partly involves President Donald Trump’s interactions with the leader of Ukraine.