Donald Trump impeachment cries growing over Ukraine phone call

Donald Trump slammed for discussing rival Joe Biden in phone conversation with Ukrainian leader

US President Donald Trump confirmed on Sunday that he discussed former vice president Joe Biden and corruption allegations in a phone call with Ukraine’s leader, adding to calls by Mr Trump’s opponents for his impeachment.

A whistleblower’s complaint sparked off accusations that Mr Trump had sought to persuade President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a son of Mr Biden, Mr Trump’s possible 2020 election challenger — raising concerns of dangerous foreign meddling in the US election similar to the interference blamed on Russia in 2016.

Mr Trump said the conversation, held in July, addressed alleged corruption involving Mr Biden and his son Hunter, and he floated the possibility that a transcript could be released.

“We had a very great conversation, very straight, very honest conversation. I hope they can put it out,” Mr Trump said, repeating that he had done nothing wrong in the latest scandal to shake his presidency.

“The conversation I had was largely congratulatory, was largely corruption … and largely the fact that we don’t want our people, like vice president Biden and his son, creating … the corruption already in the Ukraine.”

US President Donald Trump confirmed on Sunday that he discussed former vice president Joe Biden and corruption allegations in a phone call with Ukraine’s leader.

Mr Trump reportedly pressed Mr Zelensky about eight times on the call to investigate possible corruption involving Hunter Biden, who worked with a Ukrainian natural gas company while his father was vice president.

Mr Biden told reporters on Saturday that Trump’s actions appeared “to be an overwhelming abuse of power”.

“I know what I’m up against, a serial abuser. That’s what this guy is,” Mr Biden said.


The Democratic Party has been split on whether to push for impeachment proceedings against Mr Trump since he came to power in 2017.

But influential congressman Adam Schiff, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, on Sunday said that his own reservations about impeachment were fading over Mr Trump’s Ukraine call.

“We’re talking about serious or flagrant abuse and potential violation of law,” Mr Schiff told CNN.

“I have been very reluctant to go down the path of impeachment (but) the President is pushing us down this road.

“This seems different in kind, and we may very well have crossed the Rubicon here.”

Mr Trump is accused of seeking to persuade President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate a son of Mr Biden.

The Ukraine scandal mushroomed last week when Mr Schiff revealed the acting Director of National Intelligence, Joseph Maguire, had refused to hand over the whistleblower complaint to Congress — the latest administration rebuff to congressional oversight efforts.

Mr Maguire is scheduled to publicly testify before Mr Schiff’s committee on Thursday.

Nancy Pelosi, the top Democrat in Congress, said overnight that if Mr Trump’s administration continued to block the complaint being released “they will be entering a grave new chapter of lawlessness which will take us into a whole new stage of investigation”.

The phone call, reportedly made on July 25, came the day after former special counsel Robert Mueller testified before Congress about his report that catalogued extensive contacts between Mr Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russians, including attempts to co-operate or collude — neither of which is a specific crime.

It also laid out in detail 10 instances when Mr Trump allegedly tried to obstruct the investigation, which Mr Trump dismissed as a “big hoax”.

Mr Trump’s senior staff swung behind him on Sunday. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNN that “I don’t have any reason to believe that the President pressured” President Zelensky.

“People know there were issues that Biden’s son did business in Ukraine. I, for one, have concerns about that,” Mr Mnuchin said.

Impeachment calls are growing among Democrats like Nancy Pelosi.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told ABC that “if vice president Biden behaved inappropriately, if he was protecting his son and intervened in a way that was corrupt, I think we need to get to the bottom of it”.

But Republican Senator Mitt Romney, a regular critic of the President, said any evidence of Mr Trump asking Ukraine’s president to investigate Mr Biden “would be troubling in the extreme”.

Mr Trump and Mr Zelensky will meet for the first time Wednesday at the UN General Assembly in New York.


Mr Schiff has called on the President to release the transcript of his phone call with the Ukrainian leader.

“Why doesn’t the President simply release the transcript of that call?” he told CNN. “And I don’t know whether the whistleblower complaint is on this allegation, but if it is, and even if it isn’t, why doesn’t the President just say ‘release the whistleblower complaint?’

“Clearly, he’s afraid for the public to see either one of those things and we’re determined to make sure the public does, the nation is protected.”

Mr Trump has suggested he is open to releasing the conversations, telling reporters: “I hope they can put it out.”

But Mr Pompeo said there was no evidence that would be “appropriate” at this time.

“We don’t release transcripts very often. It’s the rare case,” Mr Pompeo told ABC America. “Those are private conversations between world leaders, and it wouldn’t be appropriate to do so except in the most extreme circumstances. There’s no, there’s no evidence that would be appropriate here at this point.”

Mr Minchin also weighed in, saying it would set a “terrible precedent” and that “conversations between world leaders are meant to be confidential”.

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