Pelosi says Trump's Ukraine actions amount to `bribery'

Pelosi says Trump's Ukraine actions amount to `bribery'

The Democratic-led impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump moves ahead on Thursday after an opening day of public testimony that linked Trump to a pressure campaign to force Ukraine to conduct investigations that would benefit him politically.

On Friday, Marie Yovanovitch, the career foreign service officer whom Trump recalled as the US ambassador to Ukraine, will testify.

The Constitution includes "treason, bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors" as impeachable offenses. The outlines of the White House defense are clear after Day One of the impeachment hearings in the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives.

"It's bribery", the top Democrat in the House told a news conference on November 14 about Trump's July 25 phone call in which he asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a favor.

The day's first two witnesses - Bill Taylor, the top USA diplomat in Ukraine, and George Kent, the deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs - began with opening statements echoing their earlier closed-door testimony about their alarm over efforts to get Ukraine to open an investigation of former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic nomination for the 2020 election.

"The questions presented by this impeachment inquiry are whether President Trump sought to exploit [Ukraine's] vulnerability and invite Ukraine's interference in our elections".

Clinton was also critical of the Trump administration's actions regarding gun violence.

Ambassador Bill Taylor, charge d'affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, and George Kent, deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian Affairs, testified as part of the impeachment inquiry on Wednesday.

Trump has denied any wrongdoing. And I would say, 'I've got lawyers and staff people handling this impeachment inquiry, and they should just have at it.' Meanwhile, I'm going to work for the American people.

The staffer cited by Taylor is David Holmes, a Taylor aide who has been subpoenaed to testify in the inquiry on Friday behind closed doors, said a person familiar with the issue. More recently, multiple Democrats have embraced bribery as a more direct summation of Trump's alleged conduct.

USA intelligence agencies and former Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 election with a campaign of hacking and propaganda to boost Trump's candidacy.

The first day of televised hearings, following weeks of closed-door interviews about Trump's dealings with Ukraine, gave a potential audience of tens of millions of Americans their first look at a probe that has ignited partisan passions ahead of the 2020 presidential campaign.

Yovanovitch testified last month that she felt threatened and anxious about her safety after Trump said "she's going to go through some things".

Republican lawmakers called Taylor's account hearsay and noted Ukraine's president has not said he felt pressured by Trump.

After the call between Trump and Gordon Sondland, a former political donor appointed as the U.S. envoy to the European Union, the staff member asked Sondland what Trump thought about Ukraine, Taylor said.

However, there's no doubt that Trump knew what he wanted from Zelensky or that he told Zelensky what this was.

"Beltway charade", the president's son, Eric Trump, told reporters.

Trump's request to a foreign counterpart to provide political dirt on an election opponent is at the heart of just the fourth attempt to impeach a president in USA history.

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