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North Korea calls Biden 'rabid dog' that 'must be beaten to death' -

North Korea calls Biden 'rabid dog' that 'must be beaten to death'North Korea launched a visceral diatribe against US Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, calling the former vice-president a "rabid dog" -- while also borrowing the terminology of Donald Trump. Pyongyang is renowned for its vitriol, but the verbal deluge was unusually ferocious even by its own standards. Biden "had the temerity to dare slander the dignity of the supreme leadership of the DPRK", the North's official KCNA news agency said late Thursday, referring to the country by its official name.


Fri, 15 Nov 2019 18:44:34 -0500

Aide Says Trump Asked About ‘Investigations’: Impeachment Update -

Aide Says Trump Asked About ‘Investigations’: Impeachment Update(Bloomberg) -- The House Intelligence Committee held its second public hearing on Friday to hear testimony by former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, who was removed from that post in May by President Donald Trump.The impeachment committees separately met in a closed session with David Holmes, a staff member at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, about this week’s revelation that Trump on July 26 asked Gordon Sondland, ambassador to the European Union, about the status of “investigations” he sought from Ukraine.Here are the latest developments:Aide Says Trump Asked About ‘Investigations’ (6:33 p.m.)CNN reported that Holmes testified behind closed doors that Sondland called Trump on his cell phone, which Holmes could overhear because Sondland held the phone away from his head apparently because Trump’s voice was so loud.Sondland told Trump that Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy “loves your ass,” according to CNN, which said it received a copy of Holmes’s opening statement.“I then heard President Trump ask, so he’s going to do the investigations?” Holmes testified, according to CNN. Sondland said “he’s going to do it,” adding that Zelenskiy will do “anything you ask him to.” CNN said Sondland told Holmes after the phone call that Trump “didn’t give a s--- about Ukraine” and that the president only cares about the “big stuff” that benefits Trump “like the Biden investigation that Giuliani was pushing.”Aide Testimony Said to Confirm Envoy Account (5:54 p.m.)While Holmes testified behind closed doors, Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters outside that “everything he says will confirm that what ambassador Taylor said was true.”Earlier this week, top U.S. envoy to Ukraine William Taylor testified in public that his aide -- later identified by an official as Holmes -- overheard Trump asking U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland about “the investigations” when the ambassador used his cell phone to call the president.Lieu said Holmes “has some specific quotes that leave no doubt of what the president of the United States was thinking” when he said “investigations.” He meant investigations of Joe Biden and the 2016 election, Lieu said.Lieu also criticized the State Department should release notes taken by embassy officials. “If any of those notes exonerated the president, we would have them right now,” he said.Republican Mark Meadows questioned whether someone overhearing a phone call can really have firsthand knowledge.“We know it’s not a firsthand account because this witness, to my knowledge, has never talked to the president. That would be firsthand,” Meadows said. ”Overhearing a phone call of someone else can be very dangerous if you try to draw too many conclusions from it.”Embassy Aide Questioned About Trump Call (4:54 p.m.)Democrats on the three committees leading the inquiry are questioning Holmes about the phone call he overheard between Trump and Sondland that took place in a restaurant “on what looks like a totally unsecured cell phone,” said Representative Ted Lieu, a California Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee.“Cell phones can be hacked by any foreign government,” Lieu said. “It’s very disturbing that maybe it wasn’t just Holmes that heard this but the Russians and other foreign governments as well.”North Carolina Representative Mark Meadows, a Republican on the Oversight Committee, said he didn’t expect to learn much from Holmes’s testimony “other than a phone call was overheard.” He said Democrats still must address what he described as a “fundamental question: why was the aid withheld?”Envoy Was An ‘Obstacle’ to Trump (3:50 p.m.)In closing the hearing after about six hours of testimony, Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff said the entire episode began with an effort to get Yovanovitch out of the way because she was an impediment to the investigation of Joe Biden that Trump and Rudy Giuliani wanted.“The fact that they failed in this solicitation of bribery doesn’t make it any less bribery,” Schiff said. “It doesn’t make it any less immoral and corrupt. It just means that it was unsuccessful.”“You were viewed as an obstacle that had to go,” Schiff said. If people read the transcript of testimony, they’ll see “that the president praises the corrupt, Lutsenko,” referring to former prosecutor general of Ukraine Yuriy Lutsenko, who resigned under pressure in August.“He condemns the just, you,” Schiff said to Yovanovitch. “And then he asks for an investigation of the Bidens. There is no camouflaging that corrupt intent.”After the hearing, Republican panel member Elise Stefanik of New York called the session “day two of an abject failure” by Schiff. She said Republicans will keep asking about Joe Biden’s son Hunter’s membership on the board of Ukraine energy company Burisma Holdings.Stefanik called impeachment “wishful political thinking” by the Democrats and said no impeachable offenses were discussed at Friday’s hearing.Envoy Says Ukraine Didn’t Try to Aid Clinton (3:09 p.m.)Yovanovitch said that in her view, there was no Ukrainian strategy to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.Republican Jim Jordan of Ohio suggested Trump faced opposition from Ukrainian officials during his 2016 campaign, including in an op-ed article in a Washington publication by the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S.Most clearly wanted Democrat Hillary Clinton to win, he said. Jordan asked Yovanovitch if Trump’s concern was justified.She said she couldn’t say, but that in her view there wasn’t a Ukrainian strategy to interfere in the U.S. election. Politicians sometimes criticize the policies of other foreign leaders or candidates, but that’s not election meddling, she said.“This happens in politics, and it doesn’t necessarily” constitute interference, Yovanovitch said.Embassy Official Arrives for Closed Hearing (2:56 p.m.)Holmes, the political counselor for the embassy in Ukraine who overheard a phone call between Trump and another diplomat, arrived on Capitol Hill for a private deposition behind closed doors.Including his testimony as part of the impeachment inquiry became especially important after William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, said during his public hearing Wednesday that one of his staff members overheard Trump ask Sondland, the U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, about “the investigations.”Taylor didn’t identify Holmes during the hearing, but officials familiar with the inquiry later confirmed that he was the aide with Sondland at the time.Trump Ally Told Envoy to ‘Go Big or Go Home’ (2:49 p.m.)Yovanovitch said she reached out to U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland when she realized that Rudy Giuliani was maneuvering against her. She said Sondland told her “I needed to. The best thing to do was to send out a tweet, praising the president, that sort of thing.”She said she thought that wasn’t in keeping with her role as an ambassador and didn’t do so.Asked by Democrat Denny Heck of Washington to assess the impact of the situation on Ukraine, she said, “When we engage in questionable activities that raises a question.””It emboldens those who are corrupt, who don’t want to see Ukraine become a democracy, free market economy, a part of Europe, but want Ukraine to stay under Russia’s thrall, and that’s not in our national security interests,” Yovanovitch said.Envoy Cites ‘Chilling Effect’ of Ouster (1:39 p.m.)Yovanovitch said her ouster as ambassador has had a “chilling effect” within the State Department because officials there can’t be sure if the government will support their efforts.“That is a dangerous place to be,” she said while being questioned by Democrat Terri Sewellof Alabama.“It’s been a very, very difficult time,” Yovanovitch said. “There’s a question as to why the kind of campaign to get me out of Ukraine happened, because all the president has to do is to say he wants a different ambassador.”Republican Mike Conaway of Texas sought to show that Yovanovitch hasn’t been harmed by her dismissal from the ambassadorship. He asked if she continues to get respect from her colleagues at the State Department.“I’ve actually received an outpouring of support,” she said.Later, she said that she agrees that presidents “can remove an ambassador at any time for any reason, but what I do wonder is why it was necessary to smear my reputation.”Envoy Aware of Hunter Biden Role on Board (1:16 p.m.)Under questioning by a Republican staff lawyer, Yovanovitch said she arrived several months before the 2016 elections, and that Hunter Biden’s role on the board of Burisma Holdings energy company wasn’t something she focused on. She said she never spoke with him.She was “aware” of the perception problem with Vice President Joe Biden’s son being on the board.Republican staff attorney Steve Castor asked whether Yovanovitch knew that Trump thought that elements in Ukraine’s government were “out to get him” during the 2016 campaign. She said that wasn’t an area of focus while she was ambassador and that she didn’t perceive any such effort during the election.“People are critical, but that doesn’t mean” that a government is trying toundermine a campaign, she said. “Our own U.S. intelligence community has conclusively determined that those who interfered in the election were in Russia.”Nunes Says Envoy Lacks First-Hand Knowledge (12:35 p.m.)Top committee Republican Devin Nunes said, “I’m not exactly sure what the ambassador is doing here today,” adding that Yovanovitch “is not a material fact witness to any of the accusations being hurled at the president.”Under questioning by Nunes, she affirmed that she wasn’t involved in Trump’s July 25 call with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy or Vice President Mike Pence’s later meeting with Zelenskiy. She also said she hasn’t spoken to Trump or acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney this year.Envoy Calls Trump Tweet ‘Intimidating’ (10:36 a.m.)Yovanovitch said that it is “intimidating” that Trump tweeted an attack on her while she is testifying to the Intelligence Committee.Told by Chairman Adam Schiff that Trump had just written that everywhere she went “turned bad,” she said, ”I don’t think I have such powers.””I actually think that where I’ve served over the years I and others have made things demonstrably better, both for the U.S. and the countries I served in,” she said.Schiff asked, “Now the president in real time is attacking you. What effect do you think that has on other witnesses’ willingness to come forward and expose wrongdoing?”“It’s very intimidating,” Yovanovitch said.“Some of us here take witness intimidation very, very seriously,“ Schiff responded.Yovanovitch also said she had asked the State Department for a public statement of support while false stories were being spread about her work in Ukraine.She said State Department official David Hale told her that the department wouldn’t issue a statement because “the president might issue a tweet contradicting that.”“They were concerned about a tweet by the president of the United States?” asked Democratic committee lawyer Dan Goldman, who was conducting the questioning.“That’s my understanding,” Yovanovitch said.Envoy Says Trump Comment Sounded Like Threat (10:15 a.m.)Yovanovitch said she was “shocked, appalled, devastated” when she learned that Trump called her “bad news” and said she would “go through some things” during his July 25 call with Ukraine’s president.“It didn’t sound good. It sounded like a threat,” she said. “I wondered what that meant. It concerned me.”Yovanovitch also said she felt “terrible” when she was recalled to the U.S.“No real reason was offered as to why I had to leave and why it was being done in such a manner,” she said. “It’s not the way I wanted my career to end.”She said she had been told return to Washington at once. She was told “there were concerns up the street,” which she believed referred to the White House. Yovanovitch said she argued against the return, but eventually did go to Washington.Trump Attacks Yovanovitch During Testimony (10:06 a.m.)During Yovanovitch’s testimony, Trump wrote on Twitter: “Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him. It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”Yovanovitch Says Ukraine Policy in Disarray (9:49 a.m.)Yovanovitch said corrupt forces in Ukraine sought to remove her, and said she was “amazed” they found allies among Americans.“Our Ukraine policy has been thrown into disarray, and shady interests the world over have learned how little it takes to remove an American ambassador who does not give them what they want,” she said.“Such conduct undermines the U.S., exposes our friends, and widens the playing field for autocrats like President Putin,” she said.“I remain disappointed that the department’s leadership and others have declined to acknowledge that the attacks against me and others are dangerously wrong,” she said, in a clear swipe at Secretary of State Michael Pompeo.“This is about far, far more than me or a couple of individuals. As Foreign Service professionals are being denigrated and undermined, the institution is also being degraded. This will soon cause real harm, if it hasn’t already,” she said.Yovanovitch Says Claims About Her Untrue (9:40 a.m.)Yovanovitch called “untrue” the allegations that she “told unidentified embassy employees or Ukrainian officials that President Trump’s orders should be ignored because ‘he was going to be impeached’ -- or for any other reason.”She also said the Obama administration “did not ask me to help the Clinton campaign or harm the Trump campaign, nor would I have taken any such steps if they had.”Regarding Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, she said that she had “minimal” contact with him.“I do not understand Mr. Giuliani’s motives for attacking me, nor can I offer an opinion on whether he believed the allegations he spread about me,” she said.Envoy Describes Service Regardless of Party (9:32 a.m.)Yovanovitch opened her testimony by describing herself as an American citizen “who has devoted the majority of my life, 33 years, to service to the country that all of us love.“She said her job in the foreign service is to carry out the policies of the president “regardless of which person or party was in power.”“I had no other agenda other than to pursue our stated foreign policy goals,” Yovanovitch said.Before she began her testimony, Schiff called on the administration to release a number of withheld documents, including notes kept by Bill Taylor, current envoy to Ukraine. He also said he hopes Trump will explain why he told Vice President Mike Pence not to attend Zelenskiy’s inauguration.Nunes Reads Transcript of Initial Trump Call (9:26 a.m.)Top committee Republican Devin Nunes, during his opening remarks, read the newly released transcript of Trump’s April phone call with Volodymyr Zelenskiy congratulating him on his election as Ukraine’s president.Zelenskiy called Trump a “great example” and invited him to attend the inauguration. Trump responded that at the least, a “great representative” would attend.Nunes also said the witnesses being brought before the impeachment hearings are giving second-hand accounts. “In other words, rumor,” he said.“I’ll note that House Democrats vowed they would not put the American people through a wrenching impeachment process without bipartisan support -- and they have none,” Nunes said. “Add that to their ever-growing list of broken promises and destructive deceptions.”Trump is watching only Nunes’s remarks, said White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham.“The president will be watching Congressman Nunes’ opening statement, but therest of the day he will be working hard for the American people,” she said in a statement.Nunes Says Democrats Aim to ‘Topple’ Trump (9:16 a.m.)The committee’s top Republican, Devin Nunes, opened by accusing Democrats of mounting an “operation to topple a duly elected president.“Nunes just four years ago became the youngest-ever chairman of the Intelligence panel. He was a member of Trump’s transition team, and he’s also a fierce partisan. In the session of Congress, Nunes and other Republicans led a two-year effort alleging that the FBI and Department of Justice opened their investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign in order to hurt Trump.Schiff Says Envoy Viewed as ‘Obstacle’ (9:13 a.m.)Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said in his opening statement that Yovanovitch was recalled from her post because “she was considered an obstacle to the furtherance of the president’s personal and political agenda. For that she was smeared and cast aside.”Getting rid of her “helped set stage for an irregular channel that could pursue the two investigations that mattered so much to the president, the 2016 conspiracy theory, and most important, an investigation into the 2020 political opponent he apparently feared most, Joe Biden,” Schiff said.Schiff Opens Second House Public Hearing (9:08 a.m.)Committee Chairman Adam Schiff opened the hearing by describing Yovanovitch’s recall to Washington in April “because she did not have the confidence of the president.”The hearings have vaulted Schiff to the national stage, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi picked him over House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler to take the leading role. In Wednesday’s hearing, he and other Democrats got what they wanted from the testimony of two career, nonpartisan diplomats who helped frame the impeachment inquiry.House Committee Opens Second Public Hearing (9:06 a.m.)Committee Chairman Adam Schiff gaveled in the panel’s second hearing, with Yovanovitch’s testimony to begin shortly.Yovanovitch to Testify About Her Ouster (6 a.m.)The public will hear for the first time from Yovanovitch about what she experienced as Trump and his personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, maneuvered for her ouster.Yovanovitch testified in private on Oct. 11 that she was called back to Washington after a “concerted campaign” by Trump and his allies, including Giuliani, according to a transcript released later.Because she left Ukraine in May, she lacks direct knowledge of Trump’s effort during a July 25 phone call to pressure Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for an investigation of Joe Biden and his son.Yovanovitch testified that she felt threatened by the way Trump spoke about her on that call, which was documented by a White House memo later made public. Trump called her “bad news” and said “she’s going to go through some things.”Catch Up on Impeachment CoverageKey EventsTrump showed a group of Republican senators a transcript of his April 21 call congratulating Zelenskiy on his election as the president of Ukraine. Trump had said Wednesday he planned to release a summary of the call as soon as Thursday, though he hasn’t yet done so.The Gordon Sondland transcript is here and here; former special envoy Kurt Volker’s transcript is here and here. Former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch’s transcript is here and here; the transcript of Michael McKinley, former senior adviser to the secretary of State, is here. The transcript of William Taylor, the top U.S. envoy to Ukraine, is here and here. State Department official George Kent’s testimony is here and here. Testimony by Alexander Vindman can be found here, and the Fiona Hill transcript is here. Laura Cooper’s transcript is here; Christopher Anderson’s is here and Catherine Croft’s is here.Taylor’s opening statement is here; Kent’s statement is here. Yovanovitch’s opening statement is here.\--With assistance from Daniel Flatley, Laura Litvan, Billy House and Evan Sully.To contact the reporter on this story: Steven T. Dennis in Washington at sdennis17@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Joe Sobczyk at jsobczyk@bloomberg.net, Laurie AsséoFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Fri, 15 Nov 2019 18:35:57 -0500

Trump Wants South Korea to Pay Up for Protection: Report -

Trump Wants South Korea to Pay Up for Protection: ReportPresident Trump is demanding that South Korea pay billions of additional dollars for U.S. protection, according to a report Friday at CNN.South Korea is paying about $1 billion this year to cover the cost of keeping roughly 28,000 U.S. troops in the country, and Trump wants to see that increase to $4.7 billion in 2020.Officials at the Pentagon and the State Department aren’t sure where the $4.7 billion figure comes from, though they reportedly talked the president down from an even higher request of $5 billion. Trump has long complained about the cost of keeping U.S. forces abroad, and last year canceled joint military exercises with South Korea in what was described as a cost-saving effort. Critics, however, worry that Trump may have other motives, perhaps related to his unusual relationship with Kim Jong-un, the dictatorial leader of North Korea who has continued to test missiles and maintain a nuclear arsenal, despite Trump’s claims to the contrary.South Korean officials, along with many military and diplomatic experts in the U.S., expressed concerns that Trump’s demand could be seen as a shakedown, or the first step in an effort to withdraw U.S. troops entirely from the Korean peninsula. At a minimum, it suggests that the U.S. will press harder to collect fees from a staunch ally where it has maintained troops since the Korean War.A congressional aide told CNN that the relationship appears to be getting more transactional. “So if we had bombers stop by the peninsula as a show of force, I guess like an Uber driver, we would bill them for the trip,” the aide said. And South Korea is wondering where that leaves their relationship with the U.S. The aide said that some Koreans are now wondering, “Are you guys mercenaries now? Is this a business arrangement?”Like what you're reading? Sign up for our free newsletter.


Fri, 15 Nov 2019 18:13:35 -0500

Dutch flaunt Brexit booty with EU agency opening -

Dutch flaunt Brexit booty with EU agency openingThe Netherlands showed off the spoils of Brexit on Friday as it officially handed over the European Medicines Agency's new building in Amsterdam after the regulator was forced to move from London. The 300-million-euro ($330 million) building -- which boasts features including a 16-storey high wall of 54,000 plants and a rooftop bar -- was built in less than two years after Amsterdam won an EU-wide contest to host the agency. It will now be home to more than 700 staff who have had to make the "painful" move to the Netherlands from London along with their families, following Britain's shock vote to leave the European Union.


Fri, 15 Nov 2019 17:27:17 -0500

Trump impeachment inquiry: a timeline of key events so far -

Trump impeachment inquiry: a timeline of key events so farPelosi launched inquiry on 24 September over allegations that Trump sought the help of a foreign country to harm a political rival * How Trump’s hardball tactics put the constitution in perilMembers of the media wait at the stairs for former US ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch as she testifies in the impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump on Capitol Hill on 11 October. Photograph: Carlos Jasso/ReutersThe House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, announced an impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump on 24 September. Since then, Congress has been investigating an alleged plot by Trump to use the power of his office to solicit interference from Ukraine in the 2020 election.Democrats say that amounts to an abuse of power impeachable under the US constitution. Republicans have said Trump’s conduct was concerning but not impeachable.A vote to impeach Trump on the House floor, which would be held at the conclusion of televised hearings, could play out by the end of the year. If Trump is impeached, the Senate would hold a trial in which a two-thirds majority vote would be required to remove him from office.Here’s a timeline of key events so far: April and MayThrough his personal emissary, Rudy Giuliani, Trump applies pressure on Ukraine to announce investigations tied to Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The Ukrainian president-elect, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, meets with subordinates on 7 May to discuss how to stay out of it. 23 MayIn a White House meeting, Trump is unmoved by the enthusiasm of a delegation of officials freshly returned from Zelenskiy’s inauguration in Kiev. “He just kept saying: talk to Rudy, talk to Rudy,” EU ambassador Gordon Sondland testified. “I don’t know what he meant. He kept repeating it, though: ‘They tried to take me down, they tried to take me down.’” 3 JulyLt Col Alexander Vindman, the top adviser on Ukraine on the National Security Council, is made aware of the suspension of military aid for Ukraine. In testimony, Vindman said: “But by 3 July, that’s when I was concretely made aware of the fact that there was a hold placed by [Office of Management and Budget].” 10 JulyAt a dramatic White House meeting, Trump emissaries ask top Ukrainian officials to investigate Biden, shocking US national security officials. According to multiple accounts, after Sondland makes the Biden request, then national security adviser John Bolton abruptly terminates the meeting, later calling it a “drug deal”. Mid-JulyThe Office of Management and Budget informs the Pentagon and state department that Trump has suspended $391m in military aid for Ukraine. According to testimony by senior diplomat in Ukraine Bill Taylor: “In a regular, NSC secure video conference call on 18 July, I heard a staff person from the Office of Management and Budget say that there was a hold on security assistance to Ukraine but could not say why.” 25 JulyTrump speaks on the phone with Zelenskiy, reminding him that “the United States has been very, very good to Ukraine” and then asking for a “favor”. Trump wants Ukraine to announce investigations designed to make Joe Biden look bad and to cast doubt on Russian tampering in the 2016 US election. Early AugustHigh-level Ukrainian officials are made aware of the suspension of US military aid designed to help in their fight against Russian forces, according to a New York Times report. 12 AugustA whistleblower complaint against Trump is secretly filed to the inspector general of the intelligence community. For six weeks, the Trump administration will block Congress from obtaining the complaint. 16 AugustA security council recommendation that aid for Ukraine be released is raised in a meeting with Trump, according to Vindman. But “the president didn’t act on the recommendation”. 27 AugustBolton visits Taylor in Kyiv. Taylor brings up his concerns about suspended military aid. Bolton is “very sympathetic”, Taylor later testifies, and tells him to send a cable directly to secretary of state Mike Pompeo raising his concerns. 1 SeptemberBilateral meetings in Warsaw. In a “supplement” to his original testimony, Sondland says: “I now recall speaking individually with [Zelenskiy aide Andriy] Yermak, where I said that resumption of US aid would likely not occur until Ukraine provided the public anti-corruption statement that we had been discussing for many weeks.” 9 SeptemberTaylor texts Sondland: “As I said on the phone, I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.” 11 SeptemberThe military aid is released. 24 SeptemberPelosi announces a formal impeachment inquiry, accusing Trump of “a betrayal of his oath of office, a betrayal of our national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections”. 25 SeptemberThe White House releases a partial “transcript” of the 25 July call, hours before Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with Zelenskiy at the United Nations. It’s awkward. 26 SeptemberThe whistleblower complaint is released. Citing “more than half a dozen US officials”, it presents an accurate version of the Trump-Zelenskiy call and alleges that the White House tried to cover up the call. 4 OctoberKurt Volker, Trump’s former special envoy to Ukraine, testifies. Afterwards, investigators release WhatsApp messages showing US diplomats pursuing a “deliverable” for Trump in Ukraine in the form of the Biden and 2016 election-tampering “investigations”. 8 OctoberThe White House releases a letter refusing to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry, and accusing Democrats of trying to reverse the result of the 2016 election. 11 OctoberMarie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, testifies about her shock on learning about an ultimately successful campaign in Ukraine to destroy her ambassadorship, involving Giuliani. “The president did make a decision, but I think influenced by some who are not trustworthy,” she testified. When she sought advice on how to stop the attack, she said, she was told to tweet something nice about Trump. 14 OctoberFiona Hill, senior director for Europe and Russia in the National Security Council, testifies. She describes a shadow foreign policy in Ukraine run by Giuliani, describes the 10 July White House meeting, which she attended, and says Bolton told her to take her concerns to the top NSC lawyer. 16 OctoberP Michael McKinley, a top Pompeo deputy, testifies. He says he resigned owing to the “emerging information on the engagement of our missions to procure negative political information for domestic purposes, combined with the failure I saw in the building to provide support for our professional cadre in a particularly trying time.” 17 OctoberSondland testifies. He says he took Trump at his word that there was no quid pro quo with Ukraine. He will later return to Capitol Hill to partially or fully reverse that testimony. 22 OctoberTaylor testifies. In a 15-page opening statement, he describes his concern to discover an “irregular, informal policy channel” by which the Trump administration was pursuing objectives in Ukraine “running contrary to the goals of longstanding US policy”. 29 OctoberVindman testifies. He describes his alarm at witnessing the White House subvert US foreign policy in favor of Trump’s domestic political agenda and says he took his concerns to the top NSC lawyer. 31 OctoberThe House votes on a resolution laying out a process to move impeachment from closed-door depositions to open hearings. Tim Morrison, senior director for Russian affairs at the National Security Council, testifies a day after announcing that he will resign his post in short order. 5 NovemberThe impeachment committees begin releasing testimony transcripts. The overlapping testimonies tell the same story, of demands by US officials of Ukraine steadily ratcheting up between May and September, from a demand to investigate corruption to a demand that “President Zelenskiy to go to a microphone and say ‘investigations’, ‘Biden’, and ‘Clinton’.” 13 NovemberPublic impeachment hearings begin. Ambassador Bill Taylor and deputy assistant secretary of state George P Kent testify. Taylor quotes Trump as demanding “investigations” of Ukraine in a phone call overheard by an aide. 15 NovemberAmbassador Marie Yovanovitch testifies that she felt “shocked and devastated” by Trump’s personal attacks on her, and that she was “amazed” corrupt elements in Ukraine had found willing American partners to take her down.Taylor aide David Holmes is deposed behind closed doors. 19 NovemberPence aide Jennifer Williams, Lt Col Alexander Vindman, former envoy Kurt Volker and national security council senior director Tim Morrison to testify. 20 NovemberAmbassador Gordon Sondland, Pentagon official Laura Cooper and under secretary of state David Hale to testify. 21 NovemberFormer national security council senior director Fiona Hill to testify.


Fri, 15 Nov 2019 17:11:36 -0500


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