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Politics Impeachment report says Mike Pence at least knew of Trump efforts to pressure Ukraine

10:45  04 december  2019
10:45  04 december  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

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  Trump says impeachment inquiry is a 'hoax' being used for political gain Trump says impeachment inquiry is a 'hoax' being used for political gainDemocrats have been looking into Trump's efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate political rival Joe Biden, the former U.S. vice president who is seeking the Democratic nomination to face Trump in the 2020 election, and his son Hunter Biden, who was a board member of a Ukrainian energy company.

WASHINGTON – Vice President Mike Pence is among the top officials culpable in President Donald Trump ’s efforts to bend U.S. foreign policy for personal gain, according to a report released Tuesday from House Democrats investigating the potential impeachment of Trump . Pence and other senior

But Vice President Mike Pence later said that the review was based on concerns from the White House about “issues of corruption.” Other moderate freshmen who have shied away from impeachment spent the day furiously calling one another in efforts to calibrate their responses.

WASHINGTON – Vice President Mike Pence is among the top officials culpable in President Donald Trump’s efforts to bend U.S. foreign policy for personal gain, according to a report released Tuesday from House Democrats investigating the potential impeachment of Trump.

Pence and other senior officials “were either knowledgeable of or active participants in an effort to extract from a foreign nation the personal political benefits sought by the president,” according to the 300-page report prepared by three House committees and based on weeks of public and private testimony from officials.

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Trump says it’s “perfect.” Our investigation determined that this telephone call was neither the start nor the end of President Trump ’s efforts to bend U.S Trump was already pushing the idea that Ukraine was against him in 2016. Giuliani was pushing for the Bidens to be investigated at least as early as

In a report intended to counter Democrats’ impeachment case against President Trump , Republicans will argue his efforts to get Ukraine to investigate his rivals had nothing to do with politics. Representative Devin Nunes, left, the ranking member on the Intelligence Committee, speaking to

The report also faults Pence for not producing “a single document” requested by the panels and for blocking release of part of a transcript of his Sept. 18 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky

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Republicans on the investigating committees say the evidence doesn’t support Democrats’ conclusions, including those about Pence.

How much did Mike Pence know: Testimony suggests effort to flag concerns

The three panels – Foreign Affairs, Intelligence, and Oversight and Reform – spent weeks taking sworn testimony from 17 witnesses from the State Department and national security officials. The witnesses described Trump withholding a White House meeting and then military aid from Zelensky unless he announced investigations of Trump's political rival, Vice President Joe Biden, and his son, Hunter. The Intelligence Committee then held five days of public hearings with 12 of the witnesses.

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While the report does not enumerate impeachable offenses or articulate articles of impeachment , it clearly does give Judiciary the material to draft at As noted by the Washington Post, the report made no bones about Trump ’s unsavory efforts to pressure Ukraine and its national security implications

Pence , she also said , “wanted to play a role on Ukraine in this administration.” Hill said she tried to keep Pence ’s office as informed as possible and The next day, Pence didn’t directly respond when asked by reporters whether he could assure Ukraine that the freeze was not related to efforts by

a man and woman cutting a wedding cake: Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, left, shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, in Warsaw, Poland on Sept. 1, 2019.  A Washinton Post article published on Oct. 2, 2019 reported President Donald Trump used Pence in his attempt to pressure the new Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, but is not conclusive on how much Pence knew about Trump's efforts.© Petr David Josek, AP Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky, left, shakes hands with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, in Warsaw, Poland on Sept. 1, 2019. A Washinton Post article published on Oct. 2, 2019 reported President Donald Trump used Pence in his attempt to pressure the new Ukrainian president to dig up dirt on Joe Biden, but is not conclusive on how much Pence knew about Trump's efforts.

The most damning testimony against Pence was diplomat Gordon Sondland’s account that he shared with Pence his concern that the military assistance was being delayed as leverage to get the investigations Trump wanted. Sondland said he delivered that message shortly before Pence met with Zelensky in Warsaw on Sept. 1.

Republicans’ counter report points out that Pence has disputed Sondland’s testimony.

Democrats’ say Pence’s denial was “carefully worded.”

A statement issued by Pence’s chief of staff last month said Pence “never had a conversation with Gordon Sondland about investigating the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine based upon potential investigations.” The statement also said that “Ambassador Gordon Sondland was never alone with the Vice President on the September 1 trip to Poland.”

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Trump instructed Pence not to attend the inauguration of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in May - an event White House officials had pushed Officials close to Pence insist that he was unaware of Trump 's efforts to press Zelensky for damaging information about Biden and his son, who had

Ukraine ’s government learned of the military aid freeze during the Trump administration’s pressure campaign — and tried to keep that knowledge from going public, says The timing of when Ukraine knew of the hold on the military aid is a critical question in the impeachment hearings in Congress.

Sondland did not testify that he was alone with Pence and did not say that he “specifically mentioned the Bidens, Burisma, or the conditional release of financial aid to Ukraine,” Democrats wrote in their report.

Sondland said he doesn’t remember specifically mentioning the Bidens in that conversation but may have mentioned Burisma, the energy company on whose board Hunter Biden served.

“I mentioned to Vice President Pence before the meetings with the Ukrainians that I had concerns that the delay in aid had become tied to the issue of investigations,” Sondland told lawmakers last month.

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The fragility of Mike Pence ’s partnership with Donald Trump could soon be on high display. But with an impeachment battle raging, and a president burrowing deeper each day into paranoid bunker “I think it would be a grave political miscalculation.” For now, at least , both Trump and Pence seem to

The trump - ukraine impeachment inquiry report . Report of the House Permanent Trump also pointed to fresh comments by Ukrainian President Volodmyr Zelenskiy claiming that he Zelenskiy "just came out a little while ago and he said , ‘President Trump did absolutely nothing

“Vice President Pence nodded in response,” Democrats wrote in their description of Sondland’s testimony, “apparently expressing neither surprise nor dismay at the linkage between the two.”

In response to the report, Pence's top aide called Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic chair of the House Intelligence Committee, a "proven liar."

"And this allegation further solidifies that well earned reputation,” Marc Short added.

Democrats' impeachment report: Trump solicited foreign interference in the 2020 election

Democrats also highlighted testimony from Jennifer Williams, a national security adviser to Pence, that corroborates one of the concerns raised in the whistleblower complaint that sparked the impeachment inquiry. Williams said Pence’s office was in the preliminary planning stages to send the vice president to Zelensky’s May inauguration when she was told by an assistant to Pence’s chief of staff that Trump didn’t want Pence to go.

Republicans counter that Williams “had no firsthand knowledge of any such direction or the reasons given for any such direction.”

None of the witnesses said they knew the reason behind that direction. Democrats say the timing is suspicious because it happened shortly after Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, claimed people around Zelensky were antagonistic to Trump.

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A top national security aide to Vice President Mike Pence told House impeachment investigators that President Donald Trump ’s efforts to pressure 1 meeting with Zelensky in place of Trump . Pence told Zelensky that the U.S. fully supports Ukraine , but said he wanted an update on corruption reform

Democrats’ road map for impeaching President Trump is here. The House Intelligence Committee, which with the committees on Oversight and Foreign Here are four takeaways from the report . 1. Democrats think Trump should be impeached . “The impeachment inquiry into Donald J. Trump , the

Both Williams and retired Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg, Pence’s national security adviser, listened in on the July 25 phone call in which Trump asked Zelensky to “do us a favor” by investigating a theory that Ukraine had meddled in the 2016 presidential election and asked for help investigating the Bidens.

Democrats note that Williams found the call “unusual and inappropriate.” She included a copy of the transcript in Pence’s daily briefing book.

Republicans counter that Williams never raised concerns about the call with Kellogg, her supervisor.

Williams testified that she hadn’t, because Kellogg had also listened to the call.

When Pence met with Zelensky in September, he couldn’t promise that the nearly $400 million in military assistance would be released, Democrats wrote in their report.

Williams testified that Pence promised to relay to Trump the progress Ukraine was making on reforms and assured Zelensky there had been no change in the United States’ “full-throated support for Ukraine.”

“The reassurance proved to be ineffective,” Democrats wrote. Although Pence spoke with Trump that evening, the aid wasn’t released until Sept. 11, two days after Democrats had launched an investigation into its delay.

Democrats note that numerous witnesses, including Williams, said they were not told why the aid was lifted.

Republicans argue that “Democrats cannot show conclusively that the Trump Administration lifted the pause on security assistance only as a result of their impeachment inquiry.”

Rudy Giuliani hoping to submit his Ukraine report to Congress, AG Barr this week

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The report said many of Trump ’s “closest subordinates and advisors,” including White House acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Secretary of State Mike House Democrats appear to be contemplating at least two possible articles of impeachment tied to the Ukraine scandal: abuse of power and

Trump says that Biden pressured Ukraine to sack a prosecutor who was investigating an energy company that Biden’s son Hunter was on the board of He says there was no pressure on him from Trump to do him the “favour” he was asked for. Zelensky appeared at an awkward press conference

Democrats say Pence is withholding multiple documents from the investigation, including notes Williams and Kellogg took while listening to the July 25 call, materials that were placed in Pence’s briefing book after the call and before his Sept. 1 meeting with Zelensky, and a full transcript of Pence’s Sept. 18 phone conservation with Zelenksy.

Pence’s office maintains parts of the call are classified, according to Democrats’ report, which also notes that Pence previously said publicly he has no objection to releasing records of his calls with Zelensky.

In a Tuesday interview with Fox Business Network, Pence called Democrats’ investigation a disgrace.

“It’s time for the Democrats in Congress to set aside this relentless effort to impeach the president and overturn the results of the 2016 election,” Pence said, “and do their job and make progress for the people of this country.”

What happens next: Impeachment moves to House Judiciary

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Impeachment report says Mike Pence at least knew of Trump efforts to pressure Ukraine

Pence rejects calls to declassify new impeachment testimony .
The vice president's lawyer says it “serves no purpose.”In a letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), Pence’s lawyer, Matthew Morgan, said it “serves no purpose” to declassify supplemental testimony from one of Pence’s national security aides, as Schiff had demanded.

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