Envoy energizes impeachment

Source:AFP Published: 2019/10/23 21:58:41

Top US diplomat in Ukraine debunks Trump’s claims

US President Donald Trump attends a joint press conference with visiting Finnish President Sauli Niinisto (not in the picture) at the White House in Washington D.C., the United States, on Oct. 2, 2019. Photo:Xinhua


The top US diplomat in Ukraine poured fuel on Donald Trump's impeachment probe Tuesday with a detailed account of how the US president pushed Kiev to discredit one of his main political rivals, withholding US military aid to exert pressure.

Democrats said the congressional testimony by Bill Taylor was a stunning confirmation of their allegations that Trump abused his office by seeking foreign help to hurt Democratic candidate Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.

"It's all there. What's there left for me to say when you have such a clear and detailed statement?" said House Democrat Tom Malinowski, a former diplomat.

The White House rejected what it called a "coordinated smear campaign from far-left lawmakers and radical unelected bureaucrats."

"Today was just more triple hearsay and selective leaks from the Democrats' politically motivated, closed door, secretive hearings," the administration said. "Every day this nonsense continues more taxpayer time and money is wasted."

In a 15-page opening statement quickly leaked to US media, Taylor recounted in deep detail how Ukraine's new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, came under sustained pressure after taking office.

Taylor said he was told Trump wanted Zelensky "to state publicly" that he would investigate Biden and his son Hunter for what he said was corruption in the ex-Soviet republic.

He said that the US Ambassador to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, told him that "'everything' was dependent on such an announcement, including security assistance."

A new CNN/SSRS poll on Tuesday showed support for Trump's removal from office is now 50 percent to 43 against.

However, reflecting the intensely partisan divide among voters, 87 percent of Democrats are pro-impeachment, compared with just 6 percent of Republicans.

Trump admits to asking Ukraine's government to probe what he says is corruption related to Biden. However, he denies Democrats' allegation that he tried to strong-arm the Ukrainians by linking the delivery of US military aid to his request for an investigation.

He has already branded the impeachment proceedings a "coup," a "hoax," a "witch hunt" and a variety of swear words.

Posted in: AMERICAS

blog comments powered by Disqus