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Volodymyr Zelenskiy

Dec 10, 2019, 02.57 AM IST

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VOLODYMYR ZELENSKIY

Donald Trump to release account of 2nd Ukraine phone call

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  • After emerging from an all-day closed door meeting, House Judiciary Committee Democratic lawmakers said they were still in the process of drafting formal charges, known as articles of impeachment, that the panel could recommend for a full House vote as early as Thursday. The lawmakers released a 55-page report.

    "The facts are uncontested. The president abused his power for his own personal political benefit at the expense of our national security by withholding military aid and (a) crucial Oval Office meeting in exchange for an announcement of an investigation into his political rival," Pelosi said in a televised statement.

    US President Donald Trump's lawyer Pat Cipollone said he cannot fairly be expected to participate in a hearing while the witnesses are yet to be named and while it remains unclear whether the Judiciary Committee will afford the president a fair process through additional hearings.

    Democrats on the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee said they may look beyond President Donald Trump's relations with Ukraine as they draw up articles of impeachment, to include his earlier efforts to impede former Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of his campaign's relations with Russia

    William Taylor, the acting ambassador to Ukraine, described his shock when he was informed that the President through acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney had ordered a hold on assistance to Ukraine on July 18.

    Trump said, he would likely release the transcript on Tuesday, describing it to reporters as "very important." He said on Twitter on Monday evening, however, that he would be releasing it "sometime this week," adding: "I am sure you will find it tantalizing!" Just two days before the first public hearings in the inquiry, Trump issued a series of scathing tweets.

    This week, the House of Representatives begins public hearings that could lead to the impeachment of a president for only the third time in U.S. history. More than a half-dozen Trump administration officials have called the phone conversation with Volodymyr Zelenskiy and the events surrounding it insidious and shocking. Five officials who dealt with Ukraine have resigned since September.

    In public testimony before the House impeachment inquiry, Kurt Volker said he understands now, thanks to hindsight and the testimony of other witnesses, that Trump was using the aid to pressure Ukraine to investigate Biden's son, Hunter, and his role on the board of a Ukrainian gas company, Burisma.

    Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, an Army officer at the National Security Council, and Jennifer Williams, his counterpart at Vice President Mike Pence's office, said they had concerns as Trump spoke on July 25 with the newly elected Ukraine president about political investigations into Democrat Joe Biden.

    Democrats say Wednesday's extraordinary public session in the House revealed a striking account of Trump abusing his office by pressing the newly elected president of Ukraine for political investigations of rival Democrats, all while holding up needed military aid. “Bribery,” they said, and “extortion.” Republicans counter that the hearing showed none of that.

    Vindman testified that Gordon Sondland, a Trump donor serving as ambassador to the European Union, told the visiting officials that if they hoped to win that coveted face-to-face meeting, "the Ukrainians would have to deliver an investigation into the Bidens." Despite Trump's dismissive comments, the new testimony has become pivotal.

    An eight-page resolution calls for open hearings and requires the House Intelligence Committee to submit a report outlining its findings and recommendations, with a final recommendation on impeachment left to the Judiciary Committee.

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