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Trump impeachment investigation: 2677 pages of testimony on the Trump scandal in Ukraine

However, a review of more than 2,600 pages of transcripts published this week by eight witnesses who appeared before the House following an impeachment investigation over the last six weeks shows how much of the controversy surrounding Trump in Ukraine had been launched in the US government for months. He sought to strengthen a key strategic alliance after Trump hired his personal lawyer to work outside of normal diplomatic channels in order to enhance his chances of re-election.

In addition, testimonies show a detached president of the vital role played by Ukraine in US policy against Russia – but also driven by its unrest towards Ukraine. And the testimony of at least one witness connects Trump to the decision to withhold nearly 400 million dollars of security assistance to Ukraine until this country announces that He would pursue investigations of his political rivals.

There remains, however, an unanswered question: why was the help delayed by the White House? Although ample circumstantial evidence shows the president's desire to push Ukraine to publicly announce an investigation of its political rivals, the White House has prevented key figures – such as the chief of staff by interim Mick Mulvaney – to testify, and they could further illuminate the decision to retain the aid.
"It's actually a directive from the office of the chief of staff," said Fiona Hill, one of Russia's leading advisers to the White House.

Trump pressure for Ukraine to investigate rivals goes beyond simple phone call

Trump continued to follow on Twitter and in public on his phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, calling him a "perfect" call. But the case of Democrats now goes well beyond this conversation.

Officials who testified explained that pressure on Ukraine to investigate the president's political opponents was already ongoing well before the call and for weeks after the president urged Zelensky to investigate the Bidens.

Hill, former Supreme House advisor for Russia, and National Security Council expert in Ukraine, Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, said the Ukrainians had learned on July 10 that the White House meeting with Trump They were looking for was conditioned to their opening. President's rivals investigations.
READ: Transcript of the testimony of the House, former White House aide, Fiona Hill
The US ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, has conveyed the message to Ukrainians, said officials, who said he was urged to do so, Mulvaney. White House officials raised serious objections to Sondland, questioning his testimony that John Bolton, then a national security adviser, "never shared" his apprehensions. ".
The SMS sent to the impeachment investigators in the House show how the conversation with the Ukrainians about the public announcement of an investigation continued several weeks after the 25 July appeal. The texts show that the then American special envoy, Kurt Volker and Sondland, urged Ukraine to include Burisma – a Ukrainian natural gas company, where Hunter Biden sat on the board of directors .- and the election of 2016 in a public statement at the request of Giuliani, although the case was eventually abandoned.
But on September 1, after Ukraine had learned that the United States had frozen $ 400 million worth of security assistance, Mr. Sondland told lawmakers – in a review of his original testimony this week – that he had told the Ukrainian authorities that aid would not be released without investigation.
Bill Taylor, the most senior US diplomat in Ukraine, said Sondland had said Trump had told him that "everything", that is, money from help and a meeting , was conditional on Ukraine publicly announcing an investigation.

But Sondland did not state that Trump had told him that, but only that he "presumed" that the help was related to the investigations. He claimed that he could not remember exactly how he had learned that the two were related.

Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani voiced his support for Donald Trump, presidential candidate, at a protest in Naples, Florida in October 2016.

The power of Trump's personal prosecutor

Giuliani tried to show that his only role in Ukraine was to defend his client – Trump – and repel the attacks against him.

But this is not what was said to senior US officials – nor how the Ukrainians considered it. Time and time again, Trump explained that in order to cope with the politics of Ukraine, she had to first take care of Giuliani, which hampered their efforts with their main ally, who fought against Russian aggression and desperately needed American help.

This also raised serious concerns among senior diplomats as Giuliani lobbied for Ukraine to announce investigations likely to help the president politically. And after Giuliani helped send US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch, to his post, many efforts to push Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to make a statement of support on his behalf remained unanswered. .
Read: Testimony of former US ambassador to Ukraine, Marie Yovanovitch
During a conversation between George Kent, senior state official, responsible for Ukrainian politics, and Volker, he explained that the latter would deal directly with Giuliani "because it was clear that the old mayor had an influence on the president terms of how the president thought of Ukraine ".

For Sondland, Trump was even more direct: "He does not stop saying," Talk to Rudy, talk to Rudy. "

Sondland then testified that Giuliani's requests continued to be "insidious" by May 23 at the latest, when he realized that there might be a connection between the visit to the White House and help in Ukraine, which I could not get. a clear answer as to why the help was blocked ".

Vindman testified that Giuliani's "alternative narrative" "undermines the US government's efforts to expand cooperation with Ukraine".

And he added that Ukrainians were confused by Giuliani's role and feared that "this could undermine consensus politics".

"It is only since this call that it has become its official role," added Vindman, citing the July appeal in which Trump had urged the Ukrainian president to collaborate with Zelensky.

Best American diplomat in Ukraine: the proposal to buy Greenland took a lot of energy 's.

Yovanovitch and others have described a series of "lies" pushed by Giuliani to tarnish his reputation and make it look unfair to the president. efforts.

"Has anyone in the State Department tried to stop these efforts?" Yovanovich was asked. She replied, "I do not think so, I do not think they think they can do it."

Pompeo "rolled his eyes" discussing Giuliani and said, "Yes, it's something we have to deal with," according to Sondland's testimony.

Career leaders: Trump-Giuliani's efforts a major violation of standards

Michael McKinley, a former senior adviser to Pompeo who has worked for 37 years in the diplomatic service, made it clear to investigators in the House that State Department officials were being used "in a manner that certainly did not correspond to no example of the past., "referring to efforts to target a political rival through investigations by a foreign country.

He is hardly alone.

Kent was supposed to be responsible for Ukraine's policy at the State Department, but he was dismissed. And he was alarmed by what he saw.

"I wrote a note in the file saying that I feared that efforts would be made to prosecute for political reasons prejudicial to the rule of law, in Ukraine and the United States," he said. Kent.

Taylor termed this as "an irregular informal channel of US policy-making vis-à-vis Ukraine", referring to the efforts of Volker, Sondland, Giuliani and the Secretary at the time. Energy, Rick Perry.

"Although this irregular channel is well connected to Washington, it operates mainly outside official diplomatic channels," he said.

Trump's obsession for Ukraine

The President's suspicions with regard to Ukraine date back to the 2016 election, due to unfounded conspiracy theories that it is Ukraine, not Russia. who intervened in the American election.

This long-standing mistrust of Ukraine fueled Trump's vision of the conspiracy theories promoted by Giuliani and the conservative media that year, prompting him to stop to deal with Ukraine and to ask officials to talk with him about Giuliani.

"They are all corrupt, they are all terrible people," Volker recalled, at a meeting held on May 23, during which he was encouraged to hold a meeting of the Oval Office with Zelensky. "I do not want to spend time with that."

Trump's attitude towards Ukraine helped to reinforce Giuliani's influence on US policy in Ukraine, as Trump administration officials felt bound to convince Giuliani to convince the president.

"It started with a conversation with Rudy," said Sondland.

But years before Ukraine was propelled into the public sphere while a scandal threatened the president with disqualification, Trump's views on Ukraine raised concerns within the US. Trump administration.

Trump also seized the plot that Ukraine, not Russia, had been ingested in the 2016 election, on the basis of unproven assertion according to which the server of the National Democratic Committee was in Ukraine. Trump alluded to the conspiracy theory during his telephone conversation with Zelensky on July 25: "The server, they say that Ukraine has some," he said.

Hill explained how there had been an effort to convince Trump that it was a "conspiracy" conspiracy theory. "We spent a lot of time" with Tom Bossert, former Trump Homeland Security Advisor, former National Security Advisor, Mr. R. McMaster and others, Hill said, "trying to refute this one. first year of government ".

"Tom and others working on cybersecurity have exposed to the president the facts about the interference," she said. "I can not say more than that."

Fiona Hill, former director of European and Russian affairs at the National Security Council, resigns after testifying as part of the Capitol's indictment investigation in Washington on October 14, 2019.

Transcripts undermine Trump defense by GOP

The publication of the transcripts has considerably complicated Republican defense of Trump. Indeed, in private testimony, one witness after the other overturned some of the main arguments put forward by Trump and his allies.
Witnesses denied Trump's main allegations that Biden pressured the Ukrainian authorities to protect his son Hunter, who sat on Burisma's board of directors, and that the US ambassador in Ukraine was part of the so-called "deep state" against Trump. Some of these allegations came from the former Ukrainian Attorney General, Yuriy Lutsenko, described by Volker as "non-credible" and by Kent as someone who sought to "take revenge".

The story that Giuliani had put forward was essentially a "campaign of lies," Kurt said.

Until now, the investigation revealed many clear examples of the Trump-Ukraine quid pro quo, where an invitation to the White House and military aid had been concealed while handpicked diplomats had pushed the Ukraine to lobby for investigations to be conducted on its rivals. It was established in Sondland's testimony and in Volker's textings – both of which asked Ukrainian officials to announce the investigations. The main actors, including Taylor, Tim Morrison and Vindman, Supreme Councilor for Russia and Europe at the National Security Council, also stated that they understood that there was a compromise between having heard Trump's call with Zelensky or discussed the matter with Sondland.

If Trump wants to continue to claim "no counterpart", Democrats seem to have the means to prove him wrong. Some congressional Republicans suggested recognizing a counterpart, but claiming that it was not an impenetrable offense.

The Democrats also refuted Trump's argument that he was only putting pressure on Ukraine for it to investigate the Bidens because he was genuinely concerned about cleaning up corruption in Ukraine . Kent said that ask Ukraine to investigate the Bidens "per se is not anti-corruption".

. (TagsToTranslate) Politics (t) Trump Removal Survey: What 2 (t) 677 pages of testimonys reveal about the Trump scandal in Ukraine – CNNPolitics

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