Dollars for Dirt / Arms for Compromat
A major scandal must have a good name, such as Watergaate, or Russiagate, or Arms for Hostages. This scandal might be called Ukrainegate, but the Ukrainians were no the nexis of the scandal. Possibly a good name would be Arms for Compromat, or maybe even better, Dollars for Dirt.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on 24 September 2019 a formal impeachment inquiry into US President Donald Trump. The move represents the first step in a process that could remove the president from office, and is sure to heighten partisanship ahead of the 2020 election. "The actions of the Trump presidency revealed the dishonorable facts of the president's betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of our national security, and betrayal of the integrity of our elections," Pelosi said in a televised address.
Donald Trump reportedly communicated with a foreign leader and made an unspecified "promise," which an unidentified intelligence official considered so troubling that the official filed a whistleblower complaint in mid-August 2019 with the inspector general for the intelligence community, an independent watchdog. Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire withheld the whistleblower complaint from Congress.
Three House committees issued letters to the State Department and the White House requesting documents about a recent trip to Europe by Trumpís personal lawyer, Rudolph Giuliani, who in August 2019 asked top Zelenskiy aide Andriy Yermak to investigate the role of Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President and Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden, on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. Committee members from the House, which has a Democratic majority, accused Trump of withholding the military aid to extort Ukrainian compliance with Giulianiís request to investigate Biden.
The Congress had approved military aid to Ukraine to defend against Russian aggression, but the U.S. never sent the money. Two notifications (Feb. 28 and May 23) that it would be released came and went without the money being released. Administration officials were instructed to tell lawmakers that the delays were part of an 'interagency process' but to provide no additional information. The White House released the funds on 11 September 2019. Said Trump of the phone call allegations on 23 September 2019: "I didn't put any pressure on [Ukraine] whatsoever." But, he added, "I think it would probably, possibly have been OK if I did."
Joe Biden famously bragged how heíd threatened Zelenskyís predecessor that a large loan from the International Monetary Fund would be withheld unless he sacked the Ukrainian prosecutor general. The prosecutor generalís office at the time was investigating a Ukrainian gas company, which had hired Hunter Biden shortly after a coup in Kiev placed a fervently anti-Russian government in power,
By 2016 Hunter Biden, Joe Bidenís younger son, was on the board of an energy company owned by a Ukrainian oligarch who had been in the sights of the fired prosecutor general. He was paid as much as $50,000 in some months for his work for the company, Burisma Holdings. Mykola Zlochevsky, owner of Burisma Holdings, had served in the government of pro-Russian former Ukrainian president Viktor F. Yanukovych.
Hunter Biden was discharged from the military, reportedly after testing positive for cocaine. Hunter Biden failed a drug test in June 2013. The Navy Reserve, where Biden was a public affairs officer, confirmed the discharge occurred in February 2014, but did not give a reason. In a statement, the 44-year-old Biden said he deeply regrets and is embarrassed at his actions, but said he respects the Navy's decision. Biden, a junior officer who carried the rank of ensign, is a former lobbyist who also worked at a private equity company.
Michael Atkinson, the inspector general, wrote in a letter to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff dated Sept. 17, "I set forth the reasons for my concluding that the subject matter involved in the Complaint's disclosure not only falls within the DNI's jurisdiction, but relates to one of the most significant and important of the DNI's responsibilities to the American people."
On 19 September 2019, Schiff, a California Democrat, warned of possible legal action while lambasting Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Joseph Maguire's decision to withhold the whistleblower complaint from the House committees. "We do not have the complaint. We do not know whether the press reports are accurate or inaccurate about the contents of that complaint," Schiff told reporters. "We're determined to do everything we can to determine what this urgent concern is to make sure that the national security is protected."
On 20 September 2019, the Wall Street Journal reported that President Trump had called then newly-elected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the summer of 2019 to try to get him to investigate Biden's son Hunter and his ties to a Ukraine-based energy company being probed for corruption. Trump reportedly asked Zelensky about the subject over half a dozen times, following up earlier lobbying by Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani on the issue earlier this year. The WSJ emphasised in its reporting that there was no indication that Trump had offered Zelensky "any quid-pro-quo for his cooperation on any investigation." The Wall Street Journal said that Trump had urged Zelensky about eight times in the phone call to work with Giuliani in seeking information about Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden's son, Hunter Biden, that could be damaging to Biden senior's campaign.
The Biden campaign released a statement calling on Trump to release a transcript of his call with Ukraine's president, accusing the president himself of "corruption" and a "willingness to abuse his power."
Biden reportedly threatened to withhold a major loan to Ukraine unless the prosecutor investigating his son was fired in 2016. Trump accused the Democrats of seeking to stay clear of discussing Biden's alleged pressure against Kiev to fire a prosecutor investigating his son Hunter Biden, who has been accused of engaging in illegal activity while serving on the board of directors of an energy firm doing business in Ukraine.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden may have "behaved inappropriately" in an effort to protect his son from an investigation into potential corrupt dealings in Ukraine. Speaking to ABC's This Week on Sunday, Pompeo said Biden may have acted "in a way that was corrupt," and called for the vice president's actions to be further investigated. I do think if Vice President Biden behaved inappropriately, if he was protecting his son and intervened in a way that was corrupt, I do think we need to get to the bottom of that...and I hope that we will. I hope that if Vice President Biden engaged in behaviour that was inappropriate, I hope the American people will come to learn that," Pompeo said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday urged the Trump administration to release a whistleblower complaint on the president's alleged inappropriate interactions with a foreign leader, an issue that continued to stoke speculations in Congress. "We must be sure that the President and his Administration are conducting our national security and foreign policy in the best interest of the American people, not the President's personal interest," Pelosi said in a statement. "The President and Acting (DNI's) stonewalling must end immediately, and the whistleblower must be provided with every protection guaranteed by the law to defend the integrity of our government and ensure accountability and trust," Pelosi said.
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