US President Donald Trump called the Ukranian leader to persuade him to launch an investigation into his Democratic rival, Joe Biden and his businessman son, according to a whistleblower complaint. Could it be that the Ukrainian president feared Biden more than Trump?
Unlike Edward Snowden or Chelsea Manning, who carried out unauthorized leaks of sensitive information, the whistleblower complied with all the rules on filing complaints and worked in consultation with specialised lawyers, said Kathleen McClellan, Deputy Director for the Whistleblower and Source Protection Program at the ExposeFacts NGO.
Campaign finance watchdogs first raised concerns about the source of the $325,000 donation to America First Action, a political action committee supporting Trump's re-election, shortly after it was first disclosed past year.
The White House already has invoked executive privilege - the doctrine that permits an administration to shield some of its internal workings from public view - in keeping some witnesses and materials from Congress.
What is the whistleblower alleging against Trump?He suggested then that his accuser "isn't a whistleblower at all".
"I think you've read everything", Zelenskiy said, when asked whether Trump pressured him to investigate the Bidens, adding that he doesn't want to be involved in the American election process.
The whistleblower, in a nine-page document released Thursday, provides substantial new details about the circumstances of the phone call in which Mr Trump repeatedly spoke of how much the United States had aided Ukraine and encouraged new President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to help investigate political rival Joe Biden and his son.
Pelosi refused to set a deadline for the probe but promised to act "expeditiously".
"We are waiting for the party to continue", Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.
The Washington Post reported Tuesday that some administration officials were upset about what they say was Giuliani inserting himself in US policy toward Ukraine.
The complain was submitted to the inspector-general for the intelligence community, Michael Atkinson, who deemed it credible and urgent, which meant that under the law, the document should have been delivered to Congress within seven days.
CNN reports at least 218 Democrats support the inquiry.
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All the while, Trump was keeping up his full-bore attack on the whistleblower and the unnamed "White House officials" cited in the complaint, drawing a warning from Pelosi against retaliation.
The identity of the whistleblower, whom an irate Trump has excoriated as a spy who should get old-style punishment, remains unknown. Breitbart News said the "so-called whistleblower" marched to the orders of a vast operation bankrolled by George Soros, a longtime target of conservative conspiracy theories.
Parnas and Fruman are also alleged to have touted their ties to Giuliani to drum up business overseas.
"Who's the person who gave the whistleblower the information?" Trump tells the young leader he will receive him at the White House. But earlier this year, according to Ukrainian media reports, Parnas and Fruman were spotted in Kyiv, where they were frequent visitors to then-Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko, who sought to portray himself as an uncompromising fighter against corruption.
"It looks like his numbers were sliding a bit before, and I don't think this helps", Mollineau said.
Defenders of the president in past impeachments typically made the argument that the House shouldn't impeach unless the president has committed a crime, said Frank Bowman III, a University of Missouri law professor and author of "A History of Impeachment for the Age of Trump".
This is true regardless of whether the person being investigated is a political opponent of the president.
"I'm not acting as a lawyer".
"Is This Guy The Ukraine Phone Call Whistleblower?"
Shokin's replacement as Ukraine's prosecutor general was Yuriy Lutsenko, who critics say also failed to win any high-level corruption convictions. "It sounds frightful to me", the summary said. The agenda showed him speaking at a session on digital financial technologies.
Republicans were straining under the uncertainty of being swept up in the most serious test yet of their alliance with the Trump White House.
"We owe people to take it seriously", said Sen. But the trigger for the impeachment inquiry in both cases sprang from a different matter. The intelligence committee is diving in just as lawmakers leave Washington for a two-week recess, with the panel expected to work while away. The company has no listed office address or phone number, no announced deals or contracts, and a bare bones one-page website that features only a countdown clock that long ago ticked down to zeros. The panel will need to find consensus.
At times, the president and his supporters have appeared to want to dare Democrats to go ahead with impeachment with the knowledge that they would lose, betting that the fallout actually would wind up weakening Pelosi and her members and strengthening Trump and Republicans. The prosecutor used to be once investigating the head of that firm.