Published: Sat, October 05, 2019
World Media | By Camille Neal

Donald Trump: Biden Investigations Are About Corruption, Not Politics

Donald Trump: Biden Investigations Are About Corruption, Not Politics

On a trip in the city of Zhytomyr, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, when asked by The Associated Press about Trump's comment that the US has an "absolute right" to ask foreign leaders to investigate corruption cases, Zelenskiy said that Ukraine is "open" and that all the cases under investigation are "transparent".

The former special USA envoy to Ukraine testified Thursday of turmoil within the State Department over President Donald Trump's push to investigate Joe Biden and his family, placing Rudy Giuliani at the centre of the effort.

In the several pages of messages released by the Democratic leaders of the committees, US diplomats discussed setting up the July 25 telephone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that has been central to the impeachment investigation into whether Trump should be removed from office.

Last week, two major groups representing the diplomatic community issued statements in support of the diplomat, with the American Academy of Diplomacy stating that Trump's comments in his call with Zelensky were "deeply troubling". Burisma may have come across your news feed in recent weeks because Hunter Biden, son of former Vice President Joe Biden, sat on the board of the company while it was being investigated for corruption.

The Trump administration sought to use a potential meeting between the president and his Ukrainian counterpart as leverage to press Kyiv to investigate Joe Biden, newly released text messages showed, as President Trump called on China to also investigate his political rival. CNN's read is that it reveals "how Giuliani was pushing for the call and for Zelensky to talk up the investigation".

Volker resigned last week after he was named in a whistleblower complaint about the Trump administration and Ukraine the prompted the House's Democratic leader, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to announce the start of a formal impeachment inquiry.

Committee staff members who attended the briefing said it concerned a package of documents delivered to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that included allegations against Biden and Yovanovitch. Volker told the House investigators it was unusual for the USA to withhold the aid, but he said he was given no explanation for it, the person said.

Our president "admits having done it, but then argues that it's perfectly cool, perfectly legal, and not that big of a deal", Dahlia Lithwick writes in Slate, describes Trump's strategy of escaping accountability.

Trump has said his call with Zelenskiy was "perfect" and portrays the impeachment inquiry as a sham.

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Sondland responds: "Bill, I believe you are incorrect about President Trump's intentions".

"The alleged involvement of some Ukrainian politicians" in USA elections appears to be a reference to a discredited conspiracy theory that Ukraine, not Russian Federation, meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

In Volker's statement, which was delivered during his closed-door testimony Thursday and obtained by CNN, the U.S. diplomat portrays himself as someone who was seeking to divert Giuliani's influence on the President and help Trump see that the new government was serious about reform.

"I want to tell you that I never feel any pressure and there are very many people in the west and in Ukraine who would like to influence me", Zelensky said.

Sondland early on had texted that he wanted to get the conversation started with Ukraine "irrespective of the pretext" because he was "worried about the alternative".

Sondland, clearly anxious that Taylor might become a snitch, replied, "The president has been crystal clear no quid pro quo's of any kind".

He described a text from one senior department official that read, "It's insane if we are trying to leverage United States dollars in security assistance for help in a political campaign".

In releasing the exchanges Thursday, the Democratic committee chairmen said they are "still only a subset of the full body of the materials" provided by Volker, which they hope to make public later.

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