What Happened in the Trump Impeachment Inquiry This Week



05.10.2019 16:00

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Developments in the House impeachment inquiry were fast and furious this week. It was hard to keep up, even for those of us who are paid to do it. Here’s a breakdown of important articles you may have missed.

In an extraordinary move on Thursday, President Trump, already facing impeachment for pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival, publicly called on China to examine former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., another request for help from a foreign power that could benefit him in next year’s election. On Monday it was revealed that Mr. Trump had also asked Australia for help in an effort he had hoped would discredit the origins of the Mueller investigation. To tally that all up, Mr. Trump and his attorney general have sought help to discredit the president’s opponents from Ukraine, Australia, Italy and, according to one report, Britain.


If you haven’t had a chance to read through the whistle-blower complaint at the heart of the House impeachment inquiry, here’s an annotated version. And a second official is weighing whether to blow the whistle on President Trump’s Ukraine dealings. The second official, a member of the intelligence community, was interviewed by the inspector general to corroborate the original whistle-blower’s account.


Two of President Trump’s top envoys to Ukraine, including Kurt D. Volker, above, worked on a statement for the country’s new president in August that would have committed Ukraine to pursuing investigations sought by Mr. Trump into a political rival, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter according to three people briefed on the effort and documents released Thursday night. Mr. Volker was interviewed Thursday as the first witness in the House impeachment inquiry. He disclosed a set of text messages in which Bill Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, told Mr. Volker and Gordon D. Sondland, President Trump’s ambassador to the European Union, “I think it’s crazy to withhold security assistance for help with a political campaign.”


House Democrats on Monday subpoenaed President Trump’s private lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, a key figure in their impeachment inquiry. On Friday, they turned their focus on the White House, requesting a vast trove of documents, including from Vice President Mike Pence, to better understand President Trump’s efforts to pressure Ukraine to investigate his political rivals. Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was subpoenaed.


Mr. Pompeo confirmed on Wednesday that he had listened in on the phone call between President Trump and the president of Ukraine that is at the heart of the impeachment inquiry. He’s also taking heat for what some see as a role reversal. He once accused the Obama administration of obstructing a House inquiry and letting politics override national interests. He is now facing similar accusations.


If you aren’t yet up to date, here’s a graphic that explains President Trump’s efforts to push Ukraine toward investigating the activities of Mr. Biden and his son Hunter in Ukraine. And our reporter Noah Weiland is doing daily wrap-ups of developments. Sign up here to get the briefing by email every weeknight.


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