Published: Fri, November 22, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Fresh testimony after bombshell in Trump impeachment inquiry

Fresh testimony after bombshell in Trump impeachment inquiry

The Ukrainian meddling story has not been supported by any public intelligence reports, and critics say it's a way for Trump to cast doubt on allegations that he held up military aid for Ukraine to pressure the country to investigate Joe Biden's son Hunter's involvement with a Ukrainian company.

The British-born Hill is a Russian Federation expert who's written extensively on the Kremlin, and she made that clear from the outset when she scolded Republicans lawmakers for propagating what she said was a "fictional narrative" - that somehow Ukraine, not Russian Federation, interfered in the 2016 USA presidential election.

In his November 15 closed door testimony, Holmes said that after overhearing Sondland's phone conversation with Trump at an outdoor restaurant in Kyiv, he asked the ambassador if it was true that the president did not care about Ukraine.

In an October 8 tweet, Mr Trump had described his ambassador to the European Union as "a really good man and great American". "Try it", he suggested. But more broadly, he emphasized that everyone in a position of authority in the administration, including the president, knew of and approved his work with Rudy Giuliani, Trump's personal lawyer. It was a concern shared by others, he testified.

"He's gonna do it", replied Sondland, he said.

"Mr Giuliani's requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit for President Zelensky".

Dr Hill is a distinguished Russian Federation analyst who took a break from the think-tank world to serve as a national intelligence officer from early 2006 to late 2009. Republicans on the Intelligence panel won acknowledgement from Sondland that Trump had not given him any direct orders linking the investigations to a White House meeting or the release of the military aid.

In her testimony, she stressed she was "nonpartisan" and has worked under Republican and Democratic presidents.

Russia's efforts to meddle in the election have been confirmed by a host of federal, congressional intelligence and national security groups, including the CIA, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the FBI, the Department of Justice, the NSA, the Department of Homeland Security and intelligence committees in both the House and Senate.

"We are running out of time to stop them", she will say.

According to Holmes, Sondland told Trump that Zelenskiy would do it and would do "anything you ask him to" and that "he loves your ass".

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Rep. Kelly Armstrong, a North Dakota Republican and member of the House Judiciary Committee, which will likely draw up the specific articles of impeachment, said he has been hearing that Democrats want to expand their probe beyond Trump - but cautioned against it.

"I refuse to be part of an effort to legitimize an alternative narrative that the Ukrainian government is a United States adversary, and that Ukraine - not Russian Federation - attacked us in 2016", Hill told the hearing.

He called it all part of the same effort, from "the Russian Federation hoax" to the "shoddy sequel" of the impeachment inquiry. Although the public hearings were expected to be televised replays of the initial, closed-door depositions, almost all the public witnesses have provided new information about pertinent events that have raised even more questions for House investigators.

That was the same day that Trump told Zelensky in a phone call that he wanted a favour, asking for investigations into Biden specifically and the 2016 conspiracy theory.

Holmes also alleged that Trump only cared about "big stuff" like the Biden investigation and not about Ukraine.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said at her weekly press conference that she did not want to play the waiting game of fighting in the courts to secure testimony from Trump officials.

Gordon Sondland testified that "everyone was in the loop" about his months-long push for a quid pro quo from Ukraine.

Highlighting just how much could still be revealed, testimony from a Wednesday evening witness upended Republicans' claim that Ukraine only learned about a US hold on security aid in late August, days before the money was eventually released. The goal of the Russians was to put whoever became president under a cloud...

Later on Wednesday (local time), another witness undercut a main Republican argument - that Ukraine didn't even realise the money was being held up. That same day, members of Congress learned of the whistleblower complaint that would trigger the impeachment inquiry.

At a meeting in Moscow on Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was pleased that talk of interference in the 2016 USA presidential election has shifted away from Russia during these impeachment hearings.

"Thank God", Putin said, "no one is accusing us of interfering in the USA elections anymore".

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