Big­gest show on Amer­i­can TV... Trump’s im­peach­ment

Daily Mail - - News - From Daniel Bates in New York

DON­ALD Trump cared more about dig­ging up dirt on a po­lit­i­cal ri­val than pro­tect­ing a US ally from Rus­sia, it was claimed yes­ter­day.

As im­peach­ment pro­ceed­ings against the Pres­i­dent were heard in pub­lic for the first time, he was ac­cused of pres­sur­ing Ukraine to in­ves­ti­gate the son of Demo­crat Joe Bi­den.

Mil­lions of Amer­i­cans were glued to their TV screens yes­ter­day at bar­ber shops, restau­rants and bars, with net­works pro­vid­ing wallto-wall cov­er­age from the grand com­mit­tee room on Capi­tol Hill.

It gave or­di­nary cit­i­zens their first real view of the court- style pros­e­cu­tion which Mr Trump’s Demo­crat ri­vals hope will lead to him be­ing re­moved from of­fice. In Washington dozens of protesters stood out­side the White House call­ing for Mr Trump to be kicked out.

The five-hour hear­ing was told he with­held £303mil­lion in mil­i­tary aid needed to fight the Rus­sians in Eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian sol­diers would die with­out the fund­ing, it was said, but Mr Trump ‘cares more about the in­ves­ti­ga­tions of Bi­den’ than pro­tect­ing an ally from Rus­sia.

The in­quiry be­gan a month ago af­ter a CIA whistle­blower filed a com­plaint about a phone call in July be­tween Mr Trump and Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Ze­len­sky.

Mr Trump asked Mr Ze­len­sky to do him a ‘favour’ and look into Mr Bi­den and his son

Hunter, who pre­vi­ously sat on the board of a Ukrainian gas company. The fol­low­ing day Mr Trump al­legedly called Gor­don Sond­land, the US am­bas­sador to the EU, to ask about ‘the in­ves­ti­ga­tions’.

Wil­liam Tay­lor, the act­ing US am­bas­sador to Ukraine, was told about the call. He told the hear­ing that one of his staff mem­bers asked Mr Sond­land what Mr Trump thought about Ukraine.

‘Am­bas­sador Sond­land re­sponded that Pres­i­dent Trump cares more about the in­ves­ti­ga­tions of Bi­den,’ Mr Tay­lor said. The Viet­nam vet­eran said he be­came in­creas­ingly alarmed as Mr Trump held up the mil­i­tary aid, which has been in place since Rus­sia an­nexed Crimea in 2014. Mr Tay­lor thought this was ‘crazy’ be­cause it was against longheld Amer­i­can for­eign pol­icy.

Mr Trump met Turk­ish pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan at the White House while yes­ter­day’s hear­ing was on. De­spite his claims that he was too busy to watch the ‘witch­hunt’ on TV, he gave a run­ning com­men­tary on Twit­ter.

Once all ev­i­dence has been heard, a House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives com­mit­tee will say what, if any, lines they be­lieve have been crossed. The House will then vote on the ar­ti­cles of im­peach­ment. A sim­ple ma­jor­ity is needed to send it to the Se­nate where a trial then re­quires a two-thirds ma­jor­ity to con­vict. Mr Trump’s Re­pub­li­cans have a stran­gle­hold on the Se­nate, mak­ing a con­vic­tion highly un­likely.

‘Too busy to watch the witch-hunt’

Thumbs up: Don­ald Trump meets Turkey’s leader yes­ter­day

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