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India Seven days: Inside Trump’s frenetic response to the whistleblower complaint and the battle over impeachment

09:55  26 september  2019
09:55  26 september  2019 Source:   washingtonpost.com

Trump’s communications with foreign leader are part of whistleblower complaint that spurred standoff between spy chief and Congress, former officials say

Trump’s communications with foreign leader are part of whistleblower complaint that spurred standoff between spy chief and Congress, former officials say The president’s interaction with the foreign leader included a “promise” that prompted an intelligence official to file a formal whistleblower complaint, the officials said.

This portrait of Trump grappling with a whistleblower complaint and facing down an impeachment inquiry is the result of interviews with more than Heading into the weekend, White House aides were divided over how to handle calls for him to release the transcript of his call with Zelensky and the full

Nancy Pelosi announces formal impeachment inquiry into Donald Trump over Ukraine scandal. Democrats have expressed alarm over an August complaint from an unnamed official in the He later tweeted: “Such an important day at the United Nations, so much work and so much success, and the

Watch: What Trump has said about his Ukraine conversations (Washington Post)

After news broke that a phone call between President Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky was at the center of an explosive whistleblower complaint, Trump was largely undaunted.

But many of his senior advisers weren’t nearly as confident, and an internal debate roiled the White House.

The notes from his call with the Ukrainian leader showed the conversation was not as “perfect” and “totally appropriate” as Trump had declared, and they warned him that sharing it might not be exculpatory. Two of his top Cabinet secretaries argued against disclosure, saying it would set a dangerous precedent to share details of a private phone conversation between two world leaders.

Whistle-Blower’s Complaint Is Released

  Whistle-Blower’s Complaint Is Released Whistle-Blower’s Complaint Is ReleasedAttorney General William P. Barr and the president’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani were central to the effort, the complaint said.

Trump has stonewalled Congress in its attempts to obtain a whistleblower complaint and the transcript of a call with Ukraine' s president linked to Reports on the complaint — and the president' s general response to it — have raised questions as to whether Trump dangled military aid over

The Trump administration just released the whistleblower complaint to Congress after a fierce House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced a formal impeachment inquiry into Trump because of the Trump had ordered the US to withhold a nearly 0 million military-aid package to Ukraine days

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A White House-released rough transcript of President Donald Trump's July 25, 2019 telephone conversation with Ukraine's newly elected president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. © AP A White House-released rough transcript of President Donald Trump's July 25, 2019 telephone conversation with Ukraine's newly elected president Volodymyr Zelenskiy.

Yet on Wednesday morning — seven days after The Washington Post first reported the nature of the concerns raised by a whistleblower in the U.S. intelligence community and a day after House Democrats opened a formal impeachment inquiry into the president — the White House released a rough transcript of the call, part of a broad gamble by Trump that he could once again beat the ­forces arrayed against him.

“He didn’t see anything wrong with the conversation he had with a foreign leader,” said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), an ally of the president, referring to the call in which Trump offered his Ukrainian counterpart help from the Justice Department in investigating former vice president Joe Biden, a political rival.

Read the full whistleblower complaint against Trump

  Read the full whistleblower complaint against Trump The full unclassified whistleblower complaint into President Trump’s conversations with Ukrainian officials about a potential investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter was made public on Thursday morning. In the 9-page complaint, dated August 12, the unnamed whistleblower alleges that Trump is “using the power of his office to solicit interference from a foreign country in the 2020 U.S. election” and cites conversations and details provided by "more than half a dozen U.S. officials." © Provided by Oath Inc.

On Trump ’ s schedule Wednesday: a meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, whose contacts with Trump are now central to the impeachment Her brief statement, delivered without dramatic flourish but in the framework of a constitutional crisis, capped a frenetic weeklong stretch on

Pelosi announces impeachment inquiry into Trump over Ukraine scandal. It adds up to a critical couple of days for Trump . He will meet with Zelenskiy at 2.15pm ET on the sidelines On Wednesday Trump delivered a bellicose response to the impeachment inquiry, accusing Democrats of

Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump, Steven Mnuchin are posing for a picture: President Trump leaves a news conference at the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, flanked by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who had argued strenuously against sharing details of Trump’s call with Ukraine’s leader. © Drew Angerer/Getty Images President Trump leaves a news conference at the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Wednesday, flanked by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who had argued strenuously against sharing details of Trump’s call with Ukraine’s leader.

The helter-skelter way the administration handled the aftermath of the whistleblower complaint could be a harbinger of the coming impeachment fight, with the White House scrambling to respond to a mercurial and frustrated president, who is increasingly sidelining his aides and making decisions based on gut instinct.

Even some allies of the president worry that his team may not fully understand the potential upheaval that an impeachment fight could wreak on Trump and his administration, especially as he heads into the 2020 election.

Christopher Ruddy, a friend of Trump and chief executive of the conservative Newsmax website, said the president’s advisers appear to be underestimating the political dangers of impeachment proceedings. He argued that Trump could win reelection on the strength of his economic record and his rollbacks of regulations, but that an impeachment investigation could be a distraction.

Trump's lawyer willing to testify over impeachment claims

  Trump's lawyer willing to testify over impeachment claims Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani has told Sky News he would like to testify to Congress over impeachment allegations facing Donald Trump, saying the president "didn't do a darn thing wrong".An unnamed whistleblower, believed to be an intelligence official, claims Mr Trump pressured new Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy during a phone call in July to investigate political rival Joe Biden, days after ordering a freeze of some military help for Kiev.

The day before, former Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski had made a mockery of the Judiciary Committee’ s interview of him, betraying open contempt for the process and the people running it. Calls to impeach Trump rained down from the party’ s left flank and its presidential candidates.

The complaint refers to a controversial phone call between Mr Trump and the Ukrainian president, US media say. The latest developments come as the During a news conference on Wednesday evening, President Trump again dismissed the impeachment proceedings as a "hoax" and a "witch-hunt".

“Even if people don’t feel removing Trump is justified, they may feel there’s too much disequilibrium, too much controversy, and it’s better to have somebody more predictable,” Ruddy said. “Swing voters may like Trump’s reformist agenda, but they don’t like controversy.”

Those in Trump’s orbit who say impeachment could help the president’s 2020 bid are mistaken, he added. 

Watch: Unravelling the story - what is this fight all about? (Washington Post)

“Are they nuts?” Ruddy asked. “People can’t underestimate the amount of bad advice he gets from people who are not strategic thinkers.” 

This portrait of Trump grappling with a whistleblower complaint and facing down an impeachment inquiry is the result of interviews with more than two dozen current and former White House officials, lawmakers, Republican operatives, and Trump allies, many of whom spoke on the condition of anonymity to share candid conversations.

Trump says he wants Schiff questioned for treason, promises ‘big consequences’ for person who gave info to whistle-blower

  Trump says he wants Schiff questioned for treason, promises ‘big consequences’ for person who gave info to whistle-blower President Trump said he wants Adam Schiff — who chairs the House intelligence panel — questioned for treason, and promised “big consequences” for whomever gave the whistle-blower information. Video: Democrats allege Trump abused his power (Fox News) Your browser does not support this video require(["binding"], function (binding) { binding("wcVideoPlayer", "#video_player_e1e170a0-7e81-4df2-a061-83a99c2671de").

House weighs rebuke of Trump for blocking whistleblower report on Ukraine, as impeachment This is a culmination of a months-long investigative battle between Democrats and the White House. The complaint remains shrouded in secrecy but The Washington Post and The New York Times have

Support for impeachment has steadily grown over the past several months and spiked in the past several days , with several dozen Biden said Congress has "no choice" but to launch impeachment proceedings if the administration doesn't hand over the whistleblower complaint and other material.

Heading into the weekend, White House aides were divided over how to handle calls for him to release the transcript of his call with Zelensky and the full whistleblower complaint.

Over days of discussions, Justice Department officials — including Attorney General William P. Barr — and some of the president’s lawyers urged him to release notes from the call before he traveled to New York on Sunday to attend the United Nations General Assembly this week. But others, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, vociferously argued against it, and Trump delayed a decision.

President Donald Trump pauses during a press conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. © Getty President Donald Trump pauses during a press conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. Meanwhile, the White House was also receiving private pressure from Republican lawmakers, who said that the administration’s position — which allowed rumor and worst-case speculation to fester — was untenable and that Trump had to release something to move past the controversy.

Trump spent much of his time in New York worried about the issue, said aides, who described something of a split screen: the hubbub of world-leader confabs mixed with domestic political strife, and of mundane policy meetings infused with pitched rhetoric. Officials back in Washington found themselves largely out of the loop and struggling to catch up.

Trump's day of rage: Profanity, false accusations and a press spat

  Trump's day of rage: Profanity, false accusations and a press spat The president lashed out at Hill Democrats as House leaders announced a fresh round of potential White House subpoenas.In the stretch of a few hours, Trump called Democratic impeachment efforts "BULLS**T," got into a verbal altercation with a reporter during a press conference, and delivered unfounded claims about his political rivals. His anger was visible — his face flushed at times, his voice raised, his gestures increasingly animated.

In public, Trump world is casting the Democratic impeachment inquiry as more white noise. In private, White House aides and allies say the impeachment momentum is now presenting a serious threat to the rest of President Donald Trump ’ s legislative agenda, to his negotiating strength with

Investigation will cast a dark cloud over Trump ’ s already norm-shattering presidency as he faces Impeachment is a rare and dramatic escalation that will reshape Trump ’ s already norm-shattering Trump delivered a bellicose response on Twitter, accusing Democrats of “presidential harassment”. “In light of recent reporting on the whistleblower complaint , I want to make clear that I have upheld

By Tuesday morning, Trump finally reached a decision to release the rough notes of his call the following day, and he shared the news that afternoon on Twitter, claiming that scrutiny over the “very friendly” call was “nothing more than a continuation of the Greatest and most Destructive Witch Hunt of all time!”

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said that the administration doesn’t comment on internal matters, but that “it has been quite clear that President Trump — who is the ultimate decision-maker — has called for transparency throughout this entire process.”

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. © Getty Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. On Wednesday morning, aides invited roughly a dozen Republican lawmakers to the White House to preview and discuss the transcript before it was released to the public. At one point, Trump called in from New York, and attendees described him as generally in a good mood — “chagrined” but not angry, though skittish about some of the details.

At one point, the group began joking with the president that “this was one of his better” phone calls with foreign leaders, an attendee said. And even privately, Trump did not believe his conversation with the Ukrainian president was problematic, according to four people with whom he spoke.

“He feels it’s going to help him on balance. Rather than have it out there week after week, saying he is demanding a quid pro quo, he just gets it out here,” said Rep. Peter T. King, a New York Republican and Trump friend. “There are a number of Republicans in the House who are definitely anti-Trump who came up to me today and said, this shows nothing. They weren’t like defending him. They don’t really like him. They just say, ‘Is this the best they have?’ ”

Trump's day of rage: Profanity, false accusations and a press spat

  Trump's day of rage: Profanity, false accusations and a press spat NASA have found new organic compounds in ice grains ejected from Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images. Shortly before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the opening of a formal impeachment inquiry into President Trump ’ s quid-pro-quo in Ukraine, Chuck Schumer was able to pass a unanimous

President Donald Trump told reporters that the impeachment inquiry in the US House is the 'worst witch hunt in political history.'. Trump commented on Tuesday during a meeting with Iraq' s president. (Sept. 25) AP, AP.

Yet the frenetic messaging emanating from the White House further underscored the internal divides and undercut the administration’s official nothing-to-see-here posture. Mnuchin and Pompeo, for instance, appeared on the Sunday shows to say it was not appropriate to share private conversations between world leaders, only to have their arguments undermined in real time by the president, who began confirming details of the call and hinting that he would soon share the rough transcript.

The White House also accidentally blasted out all their Wednesday talking points to Democratic congressional offices — including to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — and then sent a follow-up message trying to “recall” their mistake. The talking points included attacking Democrats in Congress for “damaging our national security for political gain.”

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel. © AP President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference at the InterContinental Barclay New York hotel. And during his news conference Wednesday in New York, Trump pulled Vice President Pence into the controversy with him, urging the assembled reporters to also “ask for VP Pence’s conversations because he had a couple of conversations also.”

“They were perfect,” Trump said.

The House’s decision to move forward on impeachment adds a new wrinkle for Trump. Throughout former special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s Russia investigation, Trump allies and Republicans generally believed that the Democrats’ threats of impeachment were politically beneficial to the president — who almost seemed to be daring his opponents to launch an official inquiry.

But Trump never actually expected — or wanted — to be impeached, said two allies, who both added that the White House, as currently staffed, is not prepared for this type of all-encompassing battle.

A second whistleblower on Trump and Ukraine might be coming forward

  A second whistleblower on Trump and Ukraine might be coming forward The New York Times reported that another official is considering making a whistleblower complaint against the president.A second whistleblower is now considering filing a complaint about President Donald Trump’s conduct regarding Ukraine, the New York Times reported Friday.

The whistleblower complaint that unearthed the call has rocked the White House and prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to initiate an impeachment Giuliani was a key player in the escalating political conflict over Trump ’ s dealings with Ukraine, pushing for the ouster of the U.S

Nonetheless, many in Trump’s world say an impeachment fight will benefit the president politically. Former House speaker Newt Gingrich, a Trump ally, predicted impeachment proceedings would backfire on House Democrats just as they did on House Republicans when he led the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and was accused of overreach.

“The Democrats have been sucked into a cul-de-sac where they will, from Trump’s perspective, run around chanting, ‘Impeach!’ ” Gingrich said. “I think that the president is very comfortable. It irritates [him], but he’s very comfortable strategically with what’s evolving.”

Gallery: Biggest news stories of 2019 (Photos)

Some White House aides and outside confidants, however, worried that impeachment will also consume the remainder of Trump’s term. His trade deal with Canada and Mexico, for instance, is likely to be among the casualties, they said.

And as with the Mueller investigation, there is the risk that Trump’s frustration over impeachment — which he views as an attack on the legitimacy of his presidency — will come to so enrage him that it prompts him to begin lashing out and behaving erratically. In the words of one former aide, “It may lead to less structured output from the White House.”

In an effort spearheaded by Trump’s personal attorney Rudolph W. Giuliani, the president’s team is also trying to refocus the discussion on Biden’s son Hunter. Giuliani has urged Republicans to forcefully attack the Bidens, although some White House staffers have been exasperated by Giuliani’s combative television appearances.

“You all are going to have to write about this,” Giuliani told The Post in an interview Saturday.

Gallery: Trump's most outrageous quotes (Photos)

Hunter Biden served for nearly five years on the board of Burisma, Ukraine’s largest private gas company, whose owner came under scrutiny by Ukrainian prosecutors for possible abuse of power and unlawful enrichment. Hunter Biden was not accused of any wrongdoing in the investigation. As vice president, Joe Biden pressured Ukraine to fire the country’s top prosecutor, Viktor Shokin, who Biden and other Western officials said was not sufficiently pursuing corruption cases. At the time, the investigation into Burisma was dormant, according to former Ukrainian and U.S. officials.

Meanwhile, morale inside the White House is low, current and former officials said. There is a growing sense that this new controversy will echo the Mueller probe, consuming all of the White House’s bandwidth for the coming months and dashing hopes of pushing through even Trump’s modest legislative agenda.

With the president already acting as his own adviser, it was difficult to attract new talent to join the White House, several current and former senior administration officials said. And now, there is concern that some staffers may leave, eager to avoid the morass of impeachment proceedings.

Already, Republicans are finding themselves in uncomfortable situations. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), one of the Republicans who journeyed to the White House on Wednesday morning to receive a preview of the rough transcript, surprised even some of his own colleagues by proclaiming at a subsequent news conference, “No one has read this transcript.”

A spokesman later said he was referring to Pelosi opening an impeachment hearing before seeing the readout of the Ukraine call.

The challenges for Trump will continue in the days ahead. A senior White House official said Wednesday that the whistleblower’s complaint was likely to be released Thursday or Friday to the public.

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Rachael Bade, Devlin Barrett, Alice Crites and Paul Kane contributed to this report.

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A second whistleblower on Trump and Ukraine might be coming forward .
The New York Times reported that another official is considering making a whistleblower complaint against the president.A second whistleblower is now considering filing a complaint about President Donald Trump’s conduct regarding Ukraine, the New York Times reported Friday.

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