Following the reveal of info about President Donald Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukrainian authorities into trying to dig up dirt on former Vice President and leading Democratic presidential primary candidate Joe Biden, House Democratic efforts to hold him and his cronies accountable have greatly intensified. Now, following the release of an outline of a scrutinized call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, House Democrats chairing committees have released a joint statement slamming the president as having engaged in an “unambiguous, damning, and shocking abuse of the Office of the Presidency for personal political gain.” Thus, they continue, impeachment is warranted.
The figures including Intel Committee Chair Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Judiciary Committee Chair Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.), Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), and Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) all share:
‘The transcript is an unambiguous, damning, and shocking abuse of the Office of the Presidency for personal political gain. This is a clear breach of trust placed in the President to faithfully execute the laws and to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution… the President abused his office by directly and repeatedly asking a foreign country to investigate his political rival and open investigations meant to help the President politically. Not once, not twice, but more than half a dozen times during one telephone call. This was a shakedown.’
‘Congress is now exercising its constitutional responsibility to investigate under the umbrella of impeachment, and we need cooperation immediately. Nothing less than full transparency will do when our national security is at risk.’
As they go on to note, the president’s behavior even stood to directly benefit Russia, who he’s often been found to be in cahoots with. Ukraine had been after military aid to respond to Russia aggression that’s not just a matter of speech — they took over the whole Crimean peninsula, which according to every international standard is a part of Ukraine. But as has come out, as Trump zeroed in on baselessly alleged Biden corruption surrounding his dealings in Ukraine, he also ordered aid to Ukraine to be halted before a phone call the committee chairs are referring to in which he incessantly sought for the Ukrainians to investigate the Bidens.
The call sparked a whistleblower complaint that Congress has now received and released to the public, in which — among other things — key details that the committee chairs mention are formally confirmed. Trump really did halt military aid prior to a phone conversation with the Ukrainian president in which he really did repeatedly seek to turn into an anti-Biden push — and which officials around the president sought to cover up via putting records of the call into a system for handling classified information, despite nothing being classified.
This Thursday, the House Intel Committee is hearing publicly from acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire, who for some time refused to hand over the whistleblower complaint in question despite a legal mandate to do so considering the relevant inspector general had deemed it urgent.
The whistleblower themselves apparently wants to speak with Congress too, but it remains an open question when that will be able to happen — and who else Congress might try and procure testimony from, considering the implication in the scandal of figures as high-ranking as Attorney General William Barr.
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