The Latest: Trump asked Ukraine leader to ‘look into’ Biden
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump and the House impeachment inquiry (all times local):
A rough transcript released by the White House shows President Donald Trump pressing the leader of Ukraine to “look into” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
The July 25 phone call is now at the center of House Democrats’ impeachment probe.
Trump repeatedly prodded Volodymyr Zelenskiy, the new president of the East European nation, to work with U.S. Attorney General William Barr and Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer. At one point in the conversation, Trump said, “I would like for you to do us a favor.”
The initial response highlights the deep divide between the two parties: Democrats say the call amounted to a “shakedown” of a foreign leader, while Trump and the vast majority of Republicans are dismissing it as a “nothing call.”
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff says after reading a complaint from an intelligence community whistleblower that the person’s allegations are “deeply disturbing” and “very credible.”
The House and Senate intelligence committees reviewed the complaint on Wednesday after it had been withheld from Congress for several weeks because acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire had determined it wasn’t an “urgent concern.”
The complaint deals at least partly with President Donald Trump’s dealings with the president of Ukraine. The White House released a rough transcript Wednesday of a July call in which Trump pressured Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his family.
Democrats have said Maguire was protecting the president. Schiff says the matter “is an urgent matter” and it was a “travesty” that it was withheld.
Joe Biden says a rough transcript of a summer phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s leader is “very revealing.”
In the call, Trump pressed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to look into Biden, his Democratic rival in the 2020 White House race.
Biden’s comment came Wednesday in response to shouted questions from reporters after a Manhattan Beach, California, fundraiser in which he never mentioned the impeachment inquiry or the phone call transcript.
Biden called the president a “serial liar” who represented a threat to America’s future.
Biden told the crowd of about 150 donors: “We should not walk around with our heads down, like everybody is because he’s got us so depressed. It’s time to lift our heads up.”
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren says she’s glad to see the House has “stepped up” on an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump and hopes it can be done quickly.
Warren was the first 2020 candidate to fully embrace starting impeachment proceedings back in April after the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report. House Democrats launched a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump on Tuesday.
Speaking Wednesday in New Hampshire, Warren says, “This is not a matter of politics. This is a matter of constitutional responsibility. Nobody is above the law. Not even the president of the United States.”
She says, “As we now know, if Congress does not hold this man accountable then he will break the law again and again and again. It is time for impeachment now.”
President Donald Trump says the diplomacy he conducted this week is being overshadowed by a conversation in which he urged Ukraine’s president to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden.
Trump is telling reporters at a news conference that he met with nearly 20 different world leaders during three days in New York, and signed a partial trade agreement with Japan.
But he says that, instead of covering those topics, journalists choose to waste their time covering “nonsense.”
Trump is referring to reports that he pressured Ukraine’s leader to investigate Biden.
The White House has released a rough transcript of the July conversation in which Trump repeatedly asked Volodymyr Zelenskiy to open an investigation.
Zelinskiy says no one “pushed” him.
Trump says there was “no push, no pressure, no nothing.”
House Democrats are weighing the next steps in their impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump.
Some lawmakers want to limit the impeachment probe to Trump’s push for Ukraine to dig up dirt on Democrat Joe Biden. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a closed-door meeting Wednesday that if the inquiry generates articles of impeachment, they would cover more than just Ukraine. But there’s also discussion of imposing some limits.
A leadership aide said no final decision has been made.
Pelosi’s comments were described by two people familiar with them who were unauthorized to talk about the private meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The talks Wednesday came just a few hours after the White House released transcript notes of a conversation Trump had with Ukraine’s president. Trump says he did not link U.S. aid to Ukraine’s cooperation with the probe of Biden’s family.
--Lisa Mascaro and Mary Clare Jalonick
Joe Biden says President Donald Trump not only has compromised national security but mounted “a direct attack on the independence” of the Justice Department.
The former vice president made his statement Wednesday in response to the White House releasing a rough transcript of a conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy.
The document shows Trump asking Zelenskiy to “do us a favor” by investigating Biden and his son, Hunter. Trump urged Zelenskiy to talk to Attorney General William Barr about the matter.
Biden says Trump “put personal politics” above U.S. national security interests by soliciting a foreign leader’s help in damaging one of the U.S. president’s domestic political rivals. Biden is a leading candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.
House Democrats have opened an impeachment inquiry into Trump’s request.
President Donald Trump says he placed “no pressure” on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden.
Trump commented Wednesday during a meeting in New York with Zelenskiy on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly.
Asked about their July telephone call, Zelenskiy said it was a “good phone call” and “normal” and that he and Trump discussed “many things.”
Zelenskiy adds: “Nobody pushed me.”
A rough transcript summarizing the call that the White House released Wednesday shows Trump repeatedly prodded Zelenskiy to work with the U.S. attorney general and Trump’s personal attorney to investigate Biden, a former U.S. vice president.
The call is the subject of a whistleblower complaint against Trump and the basis for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s decision to open an impeachment inquiry.
Four House Democratic committee chairmen are saying that a rough transcript of a phone call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s president “confirms our worst fears.”
The Democrats say the call was a “shakedown” because Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to investigate political rival Joe Biden and his family.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Elijah Cummings and House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel said the call was a “betrayal” and they want to speak to those knowledgeable about the efforts to secure the political help and a decision to temporarily freeze military aid to Ukraine.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi fully endorsed an impeachment investigation on Tuesday and six committees are investigating the president.
President Donald Trump is using an event on trade to attack Democrats for pursuing an impeachment inquiry.
During a meeting with Japanese President Shinzo Abe in New York, the discussion turned to a proposed trade agreement with Canada and Mexico.
Trump downplayed prospects for a vote and claimed that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would not have time to consider what is referred to as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement.
Trump says Pelosi is wasting her time on a “manufactured crisis.” He is also raising the issue of gun safety negotiations and says of Democrats, “all they’re talking about is nonsense.”
Trump’s comments come after his administration released a rough transcript of the call in which Trump asks Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
House Democratic leaders are calling President Donald Trump’s conversation with the Ukraine president a “shake down” of a foreign leader for his own reelection campaign.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi says Trump “engaged in behavior that undermines the integrity of our elections” and national security.
The Trump administration released a rough transcript of the call in which Trump asks Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to dig up dirt on Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, says Trump sounds like a “mafia boss.”
He calls it “powerful evidence” of an impeachable office.
The House has opened an impeachment inquiry over Trump’s actions and the administration’s refusal to turn over a whistleblower’s complaint.
Pelosi said, “Congress must act.”
Utah Sen. Mitt Romney says that he has read the rough transcript of the call between President Donald Trump and the Ukrainian president and finds it “deeply troubling.”
Asked whether what he saw in the rough transcript amounted to direct quid pro quo, Romney said that “if the president of the United States asks or presses the leader of a foreign country to carry out an investigation of a political nature, that’s troubling.”
Romney was the 2012 Republican presidential candidate. He spoke Wednesday at The Atlantic Festival in Washington shortly after the White House released its rough transcript of the July call between Trump and the newly elected Ukrainian leader.
President Donald Trump says “there was no pressure whatsoever” when he spoke with Ukraine’s leader about working with Rudy Giuliani and the U.S. attorney general to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden.
The conversation between Trump and Ukraine’s president is just one piece of a whistleblower’s complaint made in mid-August. The White House released a rough transcript of the call on Wednesday.
The complaint is central to the impeachment inquiry announced Tuesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Trump says the impeachment inquiry is the “single greatest witch hunt in American history.” He also says of the call that it turned out to be “a nothing call.”
Trump’s comments Wednesday came as he met with world leaders in New York after addressing the U.N. General Assembly the day before.
Trump emphasized how well the economy is doing.
The memo summarizing President Donald Trump’s call with the Ukraine leader shows the president’s lingering fixation on special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.
Trump flippantly refers to the ex-FBI director as a “man named Robert Mueller” and says he turned in “a very poor performance.”
The memo also shows that the president made reference to the private cybersecurity firm that investigated Russia’s hack of the Democratic National Committee servers during the 2016 election.
Trump suggests that Ukraine may be in the possession of the email server, though it’s unclear what he’s referring to.
Trump also says he’d like to have his attorney general “call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.”
The White House released the memo Wednesday.
The intelligence community’s inspector general told the acting director of national intelligence that a call between President Donald Trump and Ukraine’s leader could have been a federal campaign finance violation.
But the Justice Department determined the president did not commit a crime after prosecutors reviewed a rough transcript of the July 25 call.
A Justice Department official says the inspector general suspected that the call could have been a violation of federal law if the president was soliciting a campaign contribution from a foreign government by asking the Ukraine leader to investigate a political opponent.
The official says that was based on the whistleblower’s complaint and the inspector general didn’t have access to a rough transcript of the call.
Prosecutors from the Justice Department reviewed a rough transcript of the call and determined the president did not violate campaign finance law.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal investigative deliberations.
—By Michael Balsamo
President Donald Trump repeatedly prodded Ukraine’s new leader to work with Rudy Giuliani and the U.S. attorney general to investigate Democratic political rival Joe Biden. That’s according to a five-page memo summarizing the July 25 call.
The White House released the memo Wednesday.
The conversation between Trump and Ukraine’s president is just one piece of a whistleblower’s complaint made in mid-August.
The complaint is central to the impeachment inquiry announced Tuesday by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Trump told the Ukrainian president “If you can look into it ... it sounds horrible to me.” Trump was talking about unsubstantiated allegations that Biden sought to interfere with a Ukrainian prosecutor’s investigation of his son, Hunter.
Trump also confirmed that he ordered his staff to freeze nearly $400 million in aid to Ukraine a few days before the call.
The president says he did nothing wrong.
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is demanding that Attorney General William Barr produce the legal basis for withholding a whistleblower’s complaint against President Donald Trump.
Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California said Wednesday in a letter to Barr that the refusal to turn over the complaint risks raising “the specter that the department has participated in a dangerous cover-up to protect the president.”
Schiff says the statute “makes no provision” for withholding the information from Congress. He wants the Office of Legal Counsel’s reasoning.
The administration is considering whether to release the complaint, which is based in part on Trump’s conversation to the Ukraine president that reportedly involved digging up dirt on rival Joe Biden.
But Schiff told reporters the administration has communicated “nothing” about its intentions.
Trump has denied doing anything wrong.
The House intelligence committee chairman says regardless of what a transcript of President Donald Trump’s phone call with Ukraine’s leader says, Trump himself has said plenty to warrant an impeachment inquiry.
Trump plans to release the transcript Wednesday. On Tuesday, Trump criticized House Democrats for opening an impeachment probe without seeing the transcript of the call.
Chairman Adam Schiff told “CBS This Morning” Wednesday that “what the president has said publicly is damning enough.”
The impeachment probe focuses partly on whether Trump abused his presidential powers and sought help from Ukraine to undermine Democratic foe Joe Biden and investigate his son, Hunter Biden.
Trump has acknowledged temporarily freezing $400 million in military aid for Ukraine but denied it was leverage for information on the Bidens.
Schiff said national security is at risk “when the president would use military assistance to an ally as a cudgel.”
Schiff says there’s “no reason to wait” to see a whistleblower’s complaint or a transcript of the call between Trump and Ukraine’s president before starting the impeachment inquiry.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has launched a formal impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, yielding to mounting pressure from fellow Democrats and plunging a deeply divided nation into an election-year clash between Congress and the commander in chief.
The probe focuses partly on whether Trump abused his presidential powers and sought help from a foreign government to undermine Democratic foe Joe Biden and help his own reelection. Pelosi said Tuesday such actions would mark a “betrayal of his oath of office” and declared, “No one is above the law.”
The impeachment inquiry, after months of investigations by House Democrats of the Trump administration, sets up the party’s most direct and consequential confrontation with the president, injects deep uncertainty into the 2020 election campaign and tests anew the nation’s constitutional system of checks and balances.