Wednesday, 16 October, 2019

Ukraine to investigate potential 2016 U.S. election interference

Ukraine to investigate potential 2016 US election interference Trump impeachment inquiry: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says there was "no blackmail" in call with Trump
Deanna Wagner | 12 October, 2019, 16:15

An anonymous intelligence community whistleblower filed a complaint about the call, accusing Trump of leveraging his office and withholding US aid to Ukraine to obtain "dirt" on a political opponent-2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Sondland was initially scheduled to testify before the House committees on Tuesday, but was blocked by the Trump administration from appearing.

"I think she's been a model diplomat who deserves better than the shabby treatment she received from this President and Secretary of State, so I think we're all deeply in her debt for representing the country so well around the world and for so long", he said of the former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine.

President Trump, despite admitting that he wanted the Bidens investigated, has said he did nothing wrong.

President Donald Trump asked Zelensky to look into election interference and Joe and Hunter Biden's Ukrainian business dealings during a July 25 phone call with Zelensky that Democrats are attempting to use as grounds for impeachment. "She's telling the truth, she's credible and she should not be penalized for that".

Sullivan has been a career USA diplomat since 1990, with posts in Ukraine, the US mission to the European Union, South Korea and Honduras. She speculated that "individuals who have been named in the press as contacts of Mr. Giuliani" may have believed their personal financial ambitions were stymied by USA anti-corruption policy. She left her post in May and was later told the president had lost confidence in her and had been pressuring State Department officials for many months to remove her, she said.

The drive to collect compromising material was lead by Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and according to former officials, one of the reasons Yovanovitch was dismissed was because she refused to help Giuliani to collect information outside official channels. "He added that there had been a concerted campaign against me", Ms Yovanovitch said. From the transcript, Trump does not appear to pressure Zelensky or offer any quid pro quo.

Yovanovitch addresses point-by-point some of the charges that have been made against her, notably those from Giuliani.

"To make matters worse, all of this occurred during an especially challenging time in bilateral relations with a newly elected Ukrainian president".

Ukraine president: 'No blackmail' in conversation with Trump KYIV, Ukraine
The White House published its summary of the call between Mr Zelensky and Mr Trump in September. Ukrainian officials have said there is no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens.

"I heard very bad things about her", Trump said to reporters at the White House last week.

Yovanovitch did not respond to TIME's request for comment, and has shunned the news media as the Ukraine scandal has escalated.

She said she had "only minimal contacts" with him - only three that she could recall and none of their interactions had related to the investigation.

Zelensky commiserated with Trump and described his own issues with the female Ukrainian ambassador to the United States, whom he says he also immediately recalled due to her outward criticism of him.

Fiona Hill, Trump's former Russian Federation adviser at the White House who resigned in August, is expected to testify on Monday.

Sondland, a Trump political donor who contributed $1 million United States to the Republican president's inauguration committee, exchanged text messages about Washington's relationship with Ukraine with other top diplomats.

"You have denied the President the right to cross-examine witnesses to call witnesses, to receive transcripts of testimony, to have access to evidence, to have counsel present, and many other basic rights guaranteed to all Americans". The lawyers, Robert Luskin and Kwame Manley, said that State Department regulations prohibit Sondland from producing documents concerning his official responsibilities and that the department has the "sole authority" to do so.