BERLIN (AFP) – Ukraine’s President on Monday renewed his denial of a quid pro quo with United States (US) President Donald Trump over military aid, despite a growing case against the US President in impeachment proceedings in Washington. More details in Tuesday’s Borneo Bulletin.
WHAT WAS SAID
“Breaking News: The President of Ukraine has just again announced that President Trump has done nothing wrong with respect to Ukraine and our interactions or calls. If the Radical Left Democrats were sane, which they are not, it would be case over!”
— President Trump, in a tweet on Monday morning
“The Ukrainian president came out and said very strongly that President Trump did absolutely nothing wrong. That should be case over.”
— Mr. Trump in remarks to reporters on Monday morning
This is misleading. Mr. Trump was most likely referring to — and distorting — comments President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine made in an interview with Time magazine and other publications published early Monday morning. Nowhere in the interview did Mr. Zelensky say that his American counterpart did “nothing wrong.” In fact, he criticized Mr. Trump’s comments about corruption in Ukraine and his decision to suspend military aid to Kyiv.
Though he said there had been no discussion of a quid pro quo in their conversations, Mr. Zelensky questioned the United States’ decision to freeze the aid, which he said was a matter of “fairness.”
“Look, I never talked to the president from the position of a quid pro quo. That’s not my thing,” Mr. Zelensky said. “I don’t want us to look like beggars. But you have to understand: We’re at war. If you’re our strategic partner, then you can’t go blocking anything for us. I think that’s just about fairness. It’s not about a quid pro quo. It just goes without saying.”
Mr. Zelensky also pushed back on Mr. Trump’s repeated characterization of Ukraine as hopelessly corrupt, noting that such a narrative undermines international support for the country.
“When America says, for instance, that Ukraine is a corrupt country, that is the hardest of signals,” Mr. Zelensky said. “Everyone hears that signal. Investments, banks, stakeholders, companies, American, European, companies that have international capital in Ukraine — it’s a signal to them that says, ‘Be careful, don’t invest.’ Or, ‘Get out of there.’ This is a hard signal.”
Since the White House released a reconstructed transcript of the July 25 phone call between the two presidents, Mr. Zelensky has repeatedly denied that he felt pressured by Mr. Trump and has repeatedly stated his unwillingness to get involved in American politics.
“I was never pressured, and there were no conditions being imposed,” he said in October to Kyodo, a Japanese news service, adding that “Ukraine must not be embroiled in scandals connected with the presidential election.”
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- Are the public hearings over?
House Democrats have concluded — for now, at least — the public hearing portion of the impeachment investigation, ahead of an expected transfer of the case to the House Judiciary Committee. Republicans have their own plans.
- Democrats will release a public report on their findings.
Impeachment investigators will continue working as they draft a report, which will be released as soon as next week. Mr. Schiff said he could not rule out additional witness depositions or public hearings. But his rough timeline would put the full House on track to vote on impeachment articles by the end of the year.
- The Judiciary Committee is expected in the coming days to announce public impeachment hearings for next week to hear the evidence and begin drafting and debating impeachment articles. The committee could also hear from expert witnesses to define impeachable offenses and offer Mr. Trump and his legal team a chance to present exculpatory evidence.
- Republicans will release their own report
Staff members for Republicans on the committees conducting the impeachment inquiry will put out a “minority views” report, most likely at the same time Democrats release a report by the majority, my colleague Nick Fandos tells me. That will serve as ammunition for Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee, offering them arguments for potential hearings
- Are the public hearings over?
Common Questions About Impeachment
- What is impeachment?
Impeachment is charging a holder of public office with misconduct.
- Why is the impeachment process happening now?
A whistle-blower complaint filed in August said that White House officials believed they had witnessed Mr. Trump abuse his power for political gain.
- Can you explain what President Trump is accused of doing?
President Trump is accused of breaking the law by pressuring the president of Ukraine to look into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a potential Democratic opponent in the 2020 election.
- What did the President say to the president of Ukraine?
Here is a reconstructed transcript of Mr. Trump’s call to President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine, released by The White House.
- What is the impeachment process like?
Here are answers to seven key questions about the process.
- What is impeachment?
How to Keep Up
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