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