Friday, December 6, 2019

Mike Pence: Trump’s call to Zelensky was improper

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US Vice President Mike Pence told lawmakers that the telephone conversation between President Donald Trump and his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky in July was “inappropriate”.

The call, the focus of an ongoing congressional inquiry to isolate Trump, is investigating whether the Democrat-led inquiry is investigating whether the Republican president misused US foreign policy to undermine former vice president Joe Biden’s chances in the 2020 presidential election.

The House of Representatives on Saturday also issued the testimony of Tim Morrison, a former White House aide to work with the National Security Council, on foreign policy toward Europe and Russia, heard a telephone conversation between Trump and Zelensky, and testified in a closed-door session.

Jennifer Williams, assistant vice president for foreign affairs, was listening to the July 25 telephone call, saying in a transcript of her testimony before Congress on Saturday that she said Trump’s insistence that Ukraine conduct politically sensitive investigations “shocked me as unusual and inappropriate”.

She said the conversation was “more political in nature” than phone calls with other foreign leaders and included what she described as specific references to the president’s “personal political agenda”.

Morrison, who resigned a day before testifying last month, and Williams expressed concern about Trump’s statement to the Ukrainian president. Morrison and Williams are due to testify publicly next week.

“I was uncomfortable with the idea that President Zelensky was allowing himself to interfere in our policies,” Morrison told lawmakers, adding that he found Zelensky’s tone in telephone contact with Trump “meek”.

Morrison stopped short of saying that he saw the contact as illegal or improper, stressing instead that he believed the contact would harm relations with Ukraine and said he only learned later that aid to Ukraine was conditional on the investigation.

At the first public hearing last week, Acting US Ambassador to Ukraine William Taylor noted that Trump was keen to investigate Ukraine on Biden and reiterated his understanding withholding $391 million in US security assistance from Kiev unless it cooperates.

Morrison said on Saturday he had heard Taylor’s testimony and did not disagree with the core points.

On Saturday, House of Representatives investigators heard testimony in a closed-door hearing by Mark Sandy, a White House budget official, on the withholding of military aid to Ukraine. Sandy is the first official in the Office of Management and Budget to testify in the investigation, after he refused three certain members respond to subpoenas from Congress to appear before him and testify.

Democrat Jimmie Raskin, a member of the Congressional Judiciary and Surveillance Commission, said Sandy was called in to highlight whether the military aid was withheld for political reasons.

Read more about impeachment: https://wnobserver.com/?s=Trump+impeachment

The House of Representatives on Saturday also issued the testimony of Tim Morrison, a former White House aide to work with the National Security Council, on foreign policy toward Europe and Russia, heard a telephone conversation between Trump and Zelensky, and testified in a closed-door session.

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