Here's what the Trump impeachment inquiry has turned up and how Republicans are opposing it




  • In Business
  • 2019-11-06 17:59:38Z
  • By USA TODAY
Here\
Here\'s what the Trump impeachment inquiry has turned up and how Republicans are opposing it  

The impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's interactions with Ukraine has heated up over the last several weeks, bringing with it a mountain of backlash from the president and his supporters.

House Democrats have heard testimony from diplomats and officials involved in Trump's mission to get Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to look into domestic political rivals, and the withholding of $400 million in military aid to Ukraine.

An anonymous whistleblower complaint alleged the Trump administration pressured Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter Biden. Trump acknowledged asking for an investigation into the Bidens. He also asked Zelensky to look into the origins of 2016 election interference, which he has claimed, without evidence, involves Ukraine.

What the inquiry has turned up so far

  • Former envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker testified that Biden's name never came up in his conversations with the president. Volker helped Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani contact Ukrainian officials.

  • Text messages released by House Democrats after Volker's testimony show some U.S. diplomats were concerned that a visit to the White House and military aid were conditioned on Ukraine's involvement in U.S. politics.

  • Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch testified that Trump pressured the State Department to remove her from her position.

  • George Kent, a State Department official, told representatives that he voiced concerns about Giuliani's efforts to pressure Ukraine.

  • P. Michael McKinley, who resigned as an aide to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, testified that he quit because he was frustrated with Pompeo's refusal to defend career diplomats who felt sidelined by Giuliani's pressure campaign in Ukraine.

  • Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland said that he was disappointed he had to work with Giuliani on foreign policy related to Ukraine.

  • Bill Taylor, a top diplomat to Ukraine, gave explosive testimony that Trump's allies made it clear to Ukraine: Military aid would be tied to Ukraine opening an investigation into the company tied to Biden.

  • Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who listened in on Trump and Zelensky's July 25 phone call, testified that he raised concerns about the call to superiors more than once.

  • Timothy Morrison, a National Security Council adviser, backed up Taylor's testimony about a quid pro quo.

  • Newly released testimony from Sondland revised his earlier statements, now acknowledging that he communicated a quid pro quo to a Ukraine official.

  • Volker's testimony shows he realized U.S.-Ukraine relations were in jeopardy because of Trump's negative perception of the country, which he believed Giuliani was fueling.

More: Read all the released transcripts from the closed-door testimony in the Trump impeachment inquiry

Here is how both sides defend their views on impeachment:

Democrats' case for impeachment

House Democrats, who overwhelmingly favor impeachment, argue that Trump's conduct with Ukraine was intended for personal political gain, at the detriment of the best interests of the country.

"In the course of my official duties, I have received information from multiple U.S. Government officials that the President of the United States is using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election," the whistleblower wrote in the complaint. Democratic lawmakers have said testimony supports the claims made by the whistleblower.

Democrats have honed in on a phrase Trump used in his phone call with Zelensky: "I would like you to do us a favor though." He went on to ask the Ukrainian leader to look into the details of the hacking of the Democratic National Committee prior to the 2016 election that was linked back to Russia.

And, in October the White House seemed to acknowledge, then later denied again, that the delay in military aid previously approved by Congress was, in part, tied to the theory that Ukraine was involved in the hacking of the server. Democrats' claims of a quid pro quo were revitalized.

Their theory is supported, they say, by the text messages between U.S. diplomats and testimony heard over the last several days. On Tuesday, Taylor testified he was "alarmed" by the linking of aid to investigations of Biden.

Sondland also revised his testimony on Nov. 4 to say that he now recalled a conversation with Zelensky adviser Andriy Yermak.

"I now recall speaking individually with Mr. Yermak, where I said that resumption of U.S. aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks," Sondland said.

This confirms the testimony of Taylor and Morrison, who recalled hearing about Sondland's conversation.

But what does that mean?: The Trump impeachment is all about an allegation of quid pro quo.

The case against impeachment

Trump and his political allies maintain that there he did nothing wrong, calling the impeachment probe a "witch hunt" and a "lynching" as Democrats persist with their investigation of potential wrongdoing.

Key arguments coming from the Trump camp revolve around the way Democrats are operating their proceedings.

So far, testimony has taken place behind closed doors. The Constitution allows Congress to determine appropriate protocol during an impeachment, but Republicans accuse Democrats of "secrecy."

Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, a Democrat, announced Nov. 6 that the House would begin with public testimony, following a resolution vote to open up the proceedings and releases of closed-door testimony transcripts.

"The Democrats Scam goes on and on! They Do Nothing!" Trump said in a tweet, sharing a House Republican's complaint about the closed-door testimony.

In October, Republicans who are not on the committees conducting private sessions disrupted a deposition in protest.

Trump says that he should be able to cross-examine witnesses, as well as identify and question the anonymous whistleblower. He says Democrats are violating his due process rights.

"This is a partisan inquiry," Trump campaign press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said on Fox News. "This is serious, it's overturning an election. And we can't read transcripts, and we can't present evidence and we can't have an attorney present."

Trump has also argued that he has a duty to ask other countries to help the U.S. investigate potential corruption, and that he never suggested a quid pro quo. He says his conversation with Zelensky was "a perfect call."

Trump and his allies have made an effort to discredit certain witnesses. He called Taylor a "Never Trumper" after the diplomat testified that Trump allies told Ukraine there was a link between military aid and an investigation into the Bidens. He used the same label for Vindman, and some conservatives questioned Vindman's loyalty to the U.S. because he was born in Ukraine.

Trump has also pointed to Volker's newly released testimony, in which he said "Well, you asked what conversations did I have about that quid pro quo, et cetera. None, because I didn't know that there was a quid pro quo."

"Witch Hunt!" Trump tweeted after the transcript was released.

Quid pro quo?: How the Trump White House's messaging changed on whether there was a Ukraine quid pro quo

Contributing: Bart Jansen, Nicholas Wu

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Trump impeachment: Why Democrats want it and why Republicans reject it

COMMENTS

More Related News

'No choice but to act': House Speaker Pelosi asks chairmen to pursue articles of impeachment against President Trump

Pelosi's statement came shortly after Trump invited House Democrats to impeach him quickly so the country could "get back to business."

Georgia governor picks political newcomer for U.S. Senate
Georgia governor picks political newcomer for U.S. Senate
  • US
  • 2019-12-04 18:43:53Z

Georgia's Republican governor has chosen a wealthy businesswoman and political newcomer to fill an upcoming vacancy in the U.S. Senate, flouting President Donald Trump's preferred candidate in a play for moderate suburban voters. Gov. Brian Kemp formally announced his selection of Kelly Loeffler on Wednesday, pushing aside intense criticism from hard-core Trump advocates who wanted Kemp to appoint Rep. Doug Collins, one of Trump's staunchest defenders in Congress. Kemp and Loeffler moved quickly to extinguish the rebellion from the right, pitching the little-known candidate as a Trump supporter and emphasizing her rural roots.

Trump was embarrassed on the first day of the NATO summit, and it shows no one is bothering to take him seriously anymore
Trump was embarrassed on the first day of the NATO summit, and it shows no one is bothering to take him seriously anymore

President Donald Trump went into the NATO summit triumphant, claiming credit for large structural budget changes. That success waned quickly.

Trump claimed he doesn
Trump claimed he doesn't know Prince Andrew. These photos say otherwise.

President Donald Trump apparently tried to distance himself from Prince Andrew, who is in hot water over his friendship with Jeffrey Epstein.

In 300 pages, House lays out evidence for Trump impeachment
In 300 pages, House lays out evidence for Trump impeachment

The House released a sweeping impeachment report Tuesday outlining evidence of what it calls President Donald Trump's wrongdoing toward Ukraine, findings that will serve as the foundation for debate over whether the 45th president should be removed from office. The 300-page report from Democrats on the

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Comments

Top News: Business