A whistleblower complaint allegingDonald Trumpsought to pressure the president ofUkrainein an official government call to investigate a key political rival has been made public, just days after the House opened a formalimpeachmenthearing against the president over those claims.
A redacted version of the document – which Democrats have described as “explosive” and “deeply disturbing” – was made public Thursday morning, and claims that the White House may have regularly moved records of the president’s calls into a keyword classified database for political reasons, instead of serious national security concerns.
Acting national intelligence directorJoseph Maguirehas testified to the House Intelligence Committee about his handling of the complaint, and has called the situation “unprecedented ”.
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Here are some troubling numbers for the president from Rasumussen, a biased polling firm that Mr Trump loves to cite because it shows him with high approval ratings:
We have some more tweets for you, our lovely audience. Donald Trump has tweeted once again.
He’s definitely not bitter about anything:
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that the United States had concluded the government of President Bashir al-Assad in Syria had used chlorine as a chemical weapon in a May attack as part of its battle for Idlib.
“The Assad regime is responsible for innumerable atrocities some of which rise to the level of war crimes and crimes against humanity, “Pompeo told a news conference. “Today I am announcing that the United States has concluded that the Assad regime used chlorine as a chemical weapon on May 19. “
Donald Trump demanded to know the identities of US officials who gave a whistleblower information about his phone call with the president of Ukraine that sparked an official impeachment inquiry earlier this week, according to a new report. The president told a crowd of his staff that anyone who provided the whistleblower with information was “close to a spy”.
Here are the president’s tweets from the past hour or so:
In case you missed our write up on the latest comments out of Ukraine:
With the hearing now over, here are some key highlights from this morning’s testimony from the acting director of national security.
• Mr Maguire called the case they were discussing was “unique and unprecedented” compared to other whistleblower complaints he has known before. Because of that unique nature, Mr Maguire said he did not immediately hand over the complaint to Congress.
• Democrats, meanwhile, questioned the motive behind that decision anyhow. Mr Maguire said that the complaint details were credible – but refused to say that the issue should be investigated.
• Mr Maguire admitted that the text supplied by the White House was consistent to the information in the whistleblower complaint.
• The acting spy chief said that the conversation between Mr Trump and the Ukrainian president was the type of conversation that is “typically subject to executive privilege.”
From the final moments of the hearing this morning:
“This is democracy. This is democracy,” Mr Schiff says concluding the open testimony regarding the whistleblower allegations.
Mr Schiff was making the point that Mr Trump breaking the law and using the force of the American government to pressure the Ukrainian president is not the Democracy envisioned by America’s founding fathers.
But, the messy nature of what is taking place now in Congress is, in fact, democracy, he said.
Mr Maguire says that the complaint does not involve “election interference”.
As he makes this claim, Mr Schiff cuts him off and says that the conversation itself was about “election interference”.
“Chairman the horse has left the barn,” Mr Maguire says amid questioning about his decision not to disclose the complaint earlier – noting that the committee now has the whistleblower complaint, the readout of the phone call, and other documents.
Reaction to the whistleblower complaint from senator John Cornyn – a top Republican in the Senate.
He does not mention that the complaint hews very closely to the readout of the call between Mr Trump and the Ukrainian president, which the White House provided.
TheWashington Postreportsthat the former top prosecutor in Ukraine – whose allegations were a main concern of dirt digging efforts by Rudy Giuliani – says Hunter Biden did not break Ukrainian laws.
“From the perspective of Ukrainian legislation, he did not violate anything,” Yuri Lutsenko told that newspaper in his first interview since the whistleblower complaint was disclosed publicly.
A recent comment from a former aid to John McCain and Mitt Romney, puts the broader perspective on the House’s decision to move forward on impeachment into focus.
The Senate likely won’t vote to remove Mr Trump, but Republicans refusing to vote the president out could have major impacts, Mike Murphy tells MSNBC.
“I’m telling you – these Senate Republicans, should the Democrats vote impeachment… are going to be pinned down to a yes-no answer, ”Mr Murphy said.” And if they provide cover for Donald Trump for this, a clear violation of his role as president, we’re going to lose Colorado with Cory Gardner. We’re going to lose Maine with Susan Collins. We’re going to lose Arizona with Martha McSally. And the Democrats will put the Senate very much in play. ”
Mr Maguire, responding to Democratic congressman Joaquin Castro, says that the whistleblower complaint and the readout of the call provided by the White House are very similar.
The statement comes just after congressman Mike Turner, a Republican, said they are markedly different.
“The whistleblower’s complaint is in alignment with what was released yesterday by the president,” Mr Maguire says.
Ms Pelosi has concluded her press conference, and walked out to shouted questions on whether she is considering establishing a select committee for the impeachment inquiry.
She did not answer.
Ms Pelosi notes that the latest scandal broke publically on 17 September – a day known as “Constitution Day” in the United States, when the country celebrates the document that she says Mr Trump betrayed.
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