Tuesday, 12 November, 2019

Caught up in Trump impeachment, US diplomats fight back

House Minority Leader Kevin Mc Carthy during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Friday House Minority Leader Kevin Mc Carthy during a news conference on Capitol Hill on Friday
Patty Aguilar | 20 October, 2019, 19:34

But acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged in a briefing with reporters that the U.S. aid - already approved by Congress - was held up partly over Mr Trump's concerns about a Democratic National Committee (DNC) computer server alleged to be in Ukraine. "There is going to be political influence in foreign policy", Mr Mulvaney said.

Mr Trump also asked Mr Zelensky to investigate a domestic political opponent, former USA vice-president Joe Biden, and Mr Biden's son Hunter, who had served as a director for a Ukrainian energy company.

It was apparent to all of us that the key to changing the president's mind on Ukraine was Mr. Giuliani.

The DNC server issue is a discredited claim that Ukraine and not Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 U.S. election, and that a Democratic Party computer server was being held somewhere in Ukraine.

Gordon Sondland, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union has said behind closed doors that he is disappointed with President Trump as he has told him to work with attorney Rudy Giuliani in dealing with the Ukrainian government.

"I have no idea why he said what he said", Kinzinger said of Mulvaney's comments, which the acting chief of staff later tried to walk back. "But that is it".

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He added: "The look-back to what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the things that he was anxious about in corruption in that nation".

Florida Rep. Francis Rooney has broken with many of his GOP colleagues who have continued to back the president, telling CNN in an interview Friday that "whatever might have been gray and unclear before is certainly clear right now" with regard to a quid pro quo of military aid to Ukraine for an investigation into Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

"The look back at what happened in 2016 certainly was part of the thing that he was anxious about in corruption of that nation", Mulvaney said, the first time a senior White House official has acknowledged what Democrats have been alleging for weeks.

During last week's news conference, Mulvaney insisted he knew only of a United States request to investigate the handling of a DNC server hacked in the 2016 election, but text messages between U.S. diplomats show efforts to get Ukraine to commit to an investigation into Burisma, the company on whose board former Vice President Joe Biden's son Hunter Saturday. "There never was any condition on the flow of the aid related to the matter of the DNC server". There is no evidence of wrongdoing in Ukraine by either Biden. Senators serve as the jury on whether a president is guilty of any articles of impeachment approved by the House, and the Utah Republican said he will make his decision "when those facts are presented". "And extortion, the last time I checked, is still a crime". In the inquiry Trump urged Zelensky to look into concerns about former Vice President Joe Biden's conduct in the country.

Mulvaney also denied the notion that hosting the event could afford Trump a good branding opportunity, considering the hundreds of government officials-both from overseas and domestically-who attend the G7 and the wide array of global press it receives.

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